|Life, Death, Madness - Page 4|
Then Cyrus's parents appear, and I usher them, the girlfriend, and the ex-wife inside and into the ED's designated family room. After settling them in, I step out briefly to check on the patient.
I poke my head through the curtain of the trauma room to see white coats completely circling Cyrus. I can see only his uncovered feet. One resident I know turns, catches my eye, and gives me the subtle frown and headshake I recognize immediately: things are dire.
Returning to the family room, I hear anger, raised voices.
"There's gotta be some payback!" cries Rhonda, Cyrus's ex-wife.
"Don't you talk that way, Rhonda! You honor Cyrus and hold your tongue," warns his father, Fred.
"And let the shooters walk away?" counters Keisha, the girlfriend. "We can't do that!"
"Folks," I say. I wait for them to calm down. "I just looked in. They're still working hard in there." I realize I'm dispensing happy talk, something vaguely positive but fundamentally evasive. I'm offering hope even though I have little, or perhaps none. Is this wrong? What on earth should I say?
They're nearly silent now. Fred sits hunched over, his head in his hands. Claudia stomps her feet and mutters. The two younger women sit shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, rocking. Just then, two physicians appear at the threshold. Dr. Roonig, a trauma specialist, motions to me. "We're ready to tell them," she whispers. I lead them into the family room and make swift introductions.