Northern NSW Emergency Room, 1990s

Just audible, over the single ominous note of the cardiac monitor, Willie Nelson, crooned Elvis’ You Were Always On My Mind. Sort of song you expect at 4am. The radio in the corner had no respect. Hopeless seconds pass. We had failed.

“Are the parents outside?”. A nod from someone. The physician took off stained gloves, turned to me and said, “I’ll need some help”. Disconnecting the ventilation, I looked at the peaceful toddler, arms and legs spattered with telltale purple blotches. Surely asleep, not dead. I visited his life, when perfectly fine. Bad idea. A wave of emotion threatened professionalism.

“You ok?”, which meant, we’ve got work to do.
“Yep. Give me a sec.” The monitor was silenced by a nurse, muted tears streaming. Nelson, relieved of competition clung to his final note. A nurse picked up the usual debris from the resuscitation and finally a covering blanket. Routine movements return. I stood. The radio was silenced as we walked to find his parents.

Those who work long enough in emergency departments feel this. Meningococcus B vaccine will one day be part of the schedule, but until then, yes it is worth purchasing. See Meningococcus B

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