Moments later the chief resident recognized the futility of his efforts and issued his final command: “Let’s call it,” he said. And with that, John Doe was dead.
All activity ceased as quickly as it had started. The nurse with the clipboard recorded the time of death. The respiratory therapist stopped ventilating the patient and disconnected the bag from the tracheostomy tube. Nurse Johnston switched off the monitor and gathered up the long rhythm strip documenting more than thirty minutes of ventricular fibrillation. The chief resident took a seat at the nurse’s station to write a note in the chart, describing the events of the code from his perspective. The clipboard nurse joined him at the desk to complete her paperwork. The rest of the ICU nurses resumed caring for their own patients, and the students, residents and technicians dispersed throughout the hospital. As everyone exited quietly and efficiently, the room assumed an eerie silence. Higgins sat alone in the corner, eyes fixed on the pallid corpse of the man he had just killed. Then he jumped up, ran down the hall to the restroom and vomited.
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