I know that I killed him.

How Do You Live With Yourself After Killing a Man? VinothChandar, via flickr.com

I know that I killed him.

For years I’ve made excuses, avoided thinking about it, rationalized and lied to myself, but I’m as certain that I killed him as I am that the sun will rise tomorrow. For me anyway.

He was an addict, and not a very nice one. More often than not he would lash out at his rescuers after coming out of his heroin-induced, near-death experience after we administered naloxone. Maybe he wanted to die. Maybe his penchant for taking his high to the limit was his way of ending his existence without actually having to conjure the courage needed to pull the plug. Maybe he just wanted to get as high as he could. I’ll never know. Nobody will.

I do know that just because a person is an addict doesn’t mean that they can’t have a heart attack. As a matter of fact, I know this now, and knew it just as well then. Cardiac arrest is a byproduct of an overdose, just as surely as respiratory arrest is. But did I treat him for cardiac arrest? No, I put on my blinders, put on the show for the people who had assembled, stuck him with the Narcan and waited.

After a minute it became evident that something wasn’t right…

The rest is here, thanks for reading.


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