October 16, 1987

A Dip in the Pool

Author Affiliations

Bronx, NY

Bronx, NY

JAMA. 1987;258(15):2116. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400150108042

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Arriving at the hospital, I viewed the madhouse that was the pediatric ER with ambivalence: on the one hand, I was happy I'd be in clinic that morning; on the other, I knew that starting at 1 PM, I'd be in charge of this insanity and that my shift wouldn't end until 4 AM, when things had calmed down enough for the night float to have a better than even chance of surviving until the next morning. Spotting Phyllis, that very night float, I approached and asked, "How're you doing?"

Looking frazzled, she stared at me. "I hate this place!" she said, as she sat down. "This is the first time I've sat down since 2 AM. The paramedics brought in a couple of sisters who got burned. The 2 year old was DOA and the 4 year old was in shock. We worked on her for an hour but