September, 1994
An excerpt from an email to my folks...




Just as we finish, they call another one. I wander over to the number three trauma-bay and get some gloves on while I wait with about ten other folks for the ambulance to arrive.

We're making small-talk as we check out the equipment; making sure tape is hanging where it's supposed to be, assuring ourselves that all of the stuff on the crash-cart is accounted for, et cetera. Our conversation tends to take the form of crass jokes or friendly ribbing, though truth be told, we lean more toward the former.

When they wheel the stretcher back, I'm utterly appalled. She takes up less than half the length of the thing. She is only seven years old. She's beautiful.


It seems there was this guy who decided that it was necessary to shoot a hole in some other dude. You know, city life, important goings on, and often times the best way to resolve a dispute is with a handgun . . . code of the city and all that. So anyway, the guy's gun jams. All the more reason to make sure that your handgun is a nice revolver. Them puppies just don't jam. They can't, not really, unless you do something silly like leave them out in your sandbox overnight.


So his gun is jammed, and he really needs to shoot someone with it. This is a problem. He does what any reasonable man would do in his situation, hauls back on the slide to clear it. It's simple, really. You rack it back, and the jammed round pops out while another one queues up to take it's place and snap, you're all set to blow holes in folks. Only this time instead of slide pop snap, we get slide pop boom.

Right through the top of the head of his girlfriend's seven year old daughter.


I won't tell you about the gore. I won't even go into the clinical description of the path the bullet tracked. Just believe me that it was bad, okay? After a trip to our CT scanner, she went upstairs to surgery. I speak with the neurosurg resident later on that morning, about three a.m. or so to ask how it went, and all she can tell me is that she thinks they'll have a hard time persuading the family to go for organ donation. Transport arrives to take the girl over to our affiliated children's hospital so she can die in the care of folks who specialize in kids.


None of the E/R staff has time to go find a quiet place to weep.