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A Piece of My Mind
September 18, 2018

Silent Space

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2018;320(11):1105-1106. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.12753

Exhausted at the end of a busy week on service in the intensive care unit (ICU), the fellow and I are on our way to the conference room to debrief the week. The overhead code alarm disrupts the temporary lull in activity that normally occurs at shift change. We rush toward the commotion coming from the room at the end of the hall. A staccato, high-priority sound fills the air with a jarring electronic noise. Up on the flashing monitor in the room, we see the unmistakable pattern of disorganized electrical activity indicating ventricular fibrillation. The patient’s arterial line tracing is flat.

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