The young nurse handed the doctor a syringe full of adrenaline. He stabbed it in the dying woman’s heart.
‘Oxygen,’ he shouted.
The young nurse brought over a breathing mask and placed it over the patient’s mouth.
The bag on the end of the mask began to expand and contract.
In. Out. In. Out.
‘She’s fading,’ the doctor yelled.
The bag pumped with more urgency.
In. Out. In. Out.
Then the cadence was shattered by a continuous beep.
Nobody spoke. Nobody moved. It was as if time itself had been frozen still for that moment.
‘Doctor needed in room four one four,’ a voice called out from beyond the door. The room emptied. The last to leave was the young nurse who glanced, one last time, at the dead woman. She looked so peaceful laid in the bed that it was almost as if she was a sleeping angel. Her pale skin seemed to be full of life, and the light in her eyes had not yet dimmed.
Outside of the room, the older nurses huddled around the young nurse comforting her. One said, ‘It’s okay, heart failure can happen anytime, you could not have done anything more.’ Another said, ‘it was just bad luck that it was on your first day.’ But all those voices, all those commiserations, seemed not to even reach the traumatized nurse.
‘Tell you what,’ a kind voice said. ‘Take a break. Get some air. That will make you feel better’. The young nurse feebly nodded and made her way out of the hospital.
Stepping out into the evening’s glare, she saw that the roads were congested with the usual rush-hour traffic, the drivers oblivious to what had just happened.
The young nurse let out a deep sigh. Her breath came out in a small cloud of mist. She pulled her cardigan tight around her waist before slipping into an alleyway around the back of the hospital.
The alley was deserted except for a row of bins.
She went over to one of them and, lifting the lid, she dropped in a small empty vial from her pocket.