Sunday, March 3, 2019


There was a code blue on the ground floor. Weird considering no code blue is ever called there. I mean, not that they don't happen there. But it never reaches the overhead sirens since almost always it is happening in the emergency department where everyone is already there and ready.


I was on the tenth floor when I heard it. Typically those nearby run to get there. In case they are the first responders, the rule is to try. I wasn't near. But I did wonder what it was all about. Grady is busy, though. There's lots that I wonder about. And then I go on to thinking of something else.


A few hours passed and I was up in a patient's room. He was an elder and I'd come back to check on him one more time. The patient in the bed next to him was talking about what he thought had happened. "Somebody got shot in front of Grady," the roommate said.

"Really?" I replied. "Oh my goodness. I didn't hear that."

A nurse in the room turned away from what she was doing and chimed in. "No. That's not true. Some young brothers pulled up with somebody who'd been shot. Dumped him right on the curb in front of Grady like some luggage and pulled off." She shook her head with hard disapproval. "That's a damn shame, right?"

"Wow." That was all I could think to say. I wondered if my family and friends had heard this on the news and were worried. "So . . .no one was actually shot in front of Grady?"

"No, I don't think so, But isn't that awful? Just throwing somebody on the ground not caring if they live or die? And pulling off before you could see what happened?" She sucked her teeth. Hard.

"You said 'brothers,'" my patient said. The nurse paused, balled up her espresso-colored fist on her hip and curled her lips at him in response. She didn't speak--instead she just cocked her head for emphasis. My patient turned back toward the television and said nothing else.

"That's just TERRIBLE." That's what the neighbor-patient said. Then he said it like five more times in case we didn't hear the first time.

"Wow," I mumbled. Again, because I still couldn't think of what else to say.

After that it was silent for a few moments. That nurse wiped my patient's fingertip pad with an alcohol wipe and pricked it with a lancet. He winced. She rubbed it in this tender way that showed that she cared about his discomfort. I liked that.

"Man. I hope the guy who got shot did okay," I finally said.

The nurse kept shaking her head angrily. Then she moved on to flushing my patient's IV line. "Me, too. Such a damn shame," she said. "Who does that?" The roommate made a few more comments about "not knowing where this world is coming to" and "letting our ancestors down."

No one disagreed.

Finally, my patient, a Grady elder, spoke:

"Look to me like them kids who dropped him off cared a whole bunch about whether he live or die. Bet you they somewhere distraught about they friend."

"Friend?" the nurse said. Her face looked disgusted and her lip jutted out. "FRIEND? With friends like that, who needs enemies?"

The Grady elder turned his head in her direction and looked at her; his face impassive. "If you didn't give a damn about somebody, would you bring them someplace where you KNOW they'd do everythang to save they life if they got shot?"

He kept his eyes trained on the nurse. We all stayed quiet. He raised his eyebrows and went on.

"Look to me like that was they man. Somebody they really cared about and hoped would be okay if you ask me." He shrugged and started fishing around in the sheets for his remote control.

I stared at him, taking in every word. I didn't want to miss a thing. The nurse was frozen in her tracks and the neighbor had (finally) stopped talking. All eyes were on the elder.

"The real question is this: Ask yourself WHY would some young brothers in a city like Atlanta feel scared to bring they friend into Grady after he got shot? WHY would they not be willing to stay long enough to make sure they friend don't bleed to death? You really thank it's 'cause they don't care?"

When nobody had a reply, he let out a chuckle and shook his head. His expression suggested how naïve we sounded.

After that, he turned his television back up and settled into The Steve Harvey Show. And didn't say another word. But you know what? He didn't have to.

Damn, I love this job.

Happy Sunday.


  1. There never is just one way to look at a situation is there?
    Wow. Your elder had a very, very good point.

  2. I was thinking just what he said. Glad he said it.

  3. Thank God for that Grady elder. I was thinking the same thing. Can you imagine how the cops would've been all over them cause they brought in someone who had been shot. But they still risked bringing him to Grady. Those brothers cared.


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