Progress Unimpeded

Sometimes, they wake up dead. In one of the many nursing homes scattered throughout Providence, Rhode Island, an elderly woman succumbs to her disease. Morning rounds are livelier this morning, as the secretary is instructed to call 911.

Ladder 3 is dispatched from the Admiral Street Fire Station, along with Rescue 1. It takes the rescue nearly 15 minutes to arrive on scene, having been dispatched from the opposite end of the city; the crew from Ladder 3 had been there for 11.

A lady is dead in her bed at the end of the hall. We wheel our stretcher past a group of elderly residents who have gathered in the common room for a presentation by the nursing home staff. Twenty or so people look our way as we pass. CPR is in progress. Elliot, the officer in charge of Ladder 3, gives me the report:

"Seventy-two year old female, history of lung cancer, found unresponsive at 8:30 this morning. The staff started CPR immediately, our defibrillator gave one shock, she's asystolic now."

"Thanks, Elliot. Advanced directives?"

"Full code. No IV access."

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