The summer heat was blistering.
It was my night to cover trauma anesthesia
The pandemic and George Floyd and
social uprising and sirens filling the air.
The tension was a thick cloud expanding for blocks,
hovering over the trauma unit at Cedar Sinai.
Good citizens in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
victims of violence and chaos.
Three lives changing forever.
One was thirty-three years old -
risking his life “to protect and to serve.” His actions met with strife.
Dear officer, thank you for your service.
Each day you leave your family
to protect strangers from harm.
My utmost respect for our men in blue.
A bottle crashed through the cruiser window,
striking his head.
Blood compressed the brain.
Emergency brain surgery was needed
to save his life.
The skull was opened
And the blood was drained.
The surgery was completed,
but what was the verdict?
He opened his eyes
and squeezed my hand.
He moved his legs
and said his name.
He knew date, time, and place,
he was himself with no damage done.
Then another. Twenty-five years old
Male, six foot, three inches tall with
light brown African American skin.
His lung, esophagus, and hepatic vein all ruptured – an
innocent victim of a stray bullet.
The smell of blood filled my nostrils
And I was gripped with fear that he would die.
My mind was racing as to what to do.
Life-saving decisions I had to make.
I gave medications and blood transfusions.
I took a deep breath,
no, it can’t be!
What’s his name I shouted,
the nurse responded, “trauma 999.”
My heart was pounding,
I could not think,
what would I tell his mom?
It would break her heart.
With a trembling hand
I pulled back the covers
to look at his face.
I was overwhelmed with relief
it was not my son.
And by the grace of God,
we went on to save his life.
The night was intense.
Twelve hours of trauma,
and three lives changed forever.
Three lives changed forever...
These two acts of senseless violence occurred in Los Angeles, California, in the wake of the death of George Floyd. They were admitted to Cedars Sinai Medical Center that night where I was the trauma anesthesiologist who took care of them. These events pierced my soul like a double-edged sword. Entangled with the relief that my son was safe was the heartache I felt for these two innocent men and their families. I bowed my head and thanked God that good had triumphed over evil tonight