Trauma Centre

Anthony Chow, Meds 2016

It’s three in the morning, my vision’s a blur,
When begged for assistance all present demur.
I sigh as the nurse to my fervent dismay
Starts prepping the twentieth case of the day.

I make an incision and it is deemed Good—
So maybe I’m worrying more than I should—
And now that I’ve finished exposing the spleen,
Some large lacerations throughout could be seen.

I start closing cuts and removing the pus
With sutures and drain and but minimal fuss.
But what are these shadows the ultrasound shows?
They might be a tumour or two, I suppose.

Whatever it is I should treat it—but how?
It’s clearly too late to go research it now.
Was skipping the surgical conference unwise?
Or can I just guess my way past this surprise?

The answer to that one turns out to be “no”
As I miss the spleen and nick something below.
Abruptly the surgical field fills with gore,
Severe inflammation and hemorrhage and more…!

While feebly I try to undo what I’d done,
Alarms on the monitors clamour as one.
Great panic and mass pandemonium ensue;
I barely avoid being caught in it too.

“His vitals are dropping!” I hear someone cry,
As though it weren’t obvious things were awry.
The forceps—no—laser—no—that’s not correct!
Why is it these tools are so hard to select?

Both stress and fatigue keep exacting their toll,
Impairing my aim and fine motor control,
So though I at last get some medicine drawn,
Alas! The poor patient’s regrettably… gone.

I’m forced to my knees by a crippling shame,
Forever I’ve blackened my family name,
And practising medicine won’t be the same,
For someone is dead now and I am to blame.
(So what if it’s “only” a video game?)