Content Warning: This article mentions gun violence and death.
As the hospital cafeteria buzzed with noon traffic, our trauma team pagers rang out.
"17-year-old male gunshot wound to the head, blood pressure 70/30, heart rate 110, ETA 5 minutes."
We jumped up and hurried to the resuscitation bay at Los Angeles General Medical Center, the largest county hospital in Los Angeles.
ER physicians, surgeons, nurses and techs talked nervously, in hushed tones. In rushed a young boy strapped to a stretcher, with blood-soaked gauze wrapped against his forehead.
The paramedic yelled out, “Two gunshot wounds to the head, reported misfire of a pistol at a friend’s house.”
Coordinated commotion began: IV lines in, blood drawn, vital signs taken, wounds packed. We wheeled him to the CT scanner, pushing medications to stabilize his blood pressure while starting a blood transfusion.
The CT scan showed what we knew to be true: a devastating injury. Memories shattered, lost to blood and gunmetal. I whispered a small prayer.
As we faded from the room, our pagers erupted, reminding us our job wasn’t finished.