“Sofia, come to the ER now! Haven’t you seen the news? There was a car accident involving … the president!” my colleague and friend, Hana, shouted at me through the phone. “He’s in a critical condition, and Mister President has gone into a cardiac arrest due to a massive loss of blood! Hurry!”
Upon hearing those words, I leapt out of the bench I was sitting on. I was having my much-needed lunch break in the cafeteria then. I remember my tray of food flipping off the table, earning glares from others seated nearby. The water from my water bottle spilt everywhere and dripped down the edges of the table. Apologising profusely to the cleaner who was storming over to clean up my mess, I rushed down the long, familiar, white halls of the Singapore General Hospital. A senior cardiologist’s work is never ending, especially if you are one of the leading cardiac specialists in the top hospital in Singapore.
Just then, a group of nurses in the hospital’s blue scrubs rushed into the ER, their footsteps echoing against the polished floor, as they wheeled in a man on the hospital bed. I just stared after them, dazed.
“Hurry!” Hana gestured frantically at me from the entrance of the Emergency Room (ER). She was already fully clad in surgical scrubs.
Rushing through the doors to the white hospital bed, I came face-to-face with a pale figure lying unconscious. Blood oozed from a gash on his forehead. His arms and legs were covered in countless cuts and bruises, and a faint groaning sound emanated from him. His chest was barely rising. An oxygen mask plastered over his nose and mouth had to aid his faint breathing. I tiptoed to check his face – you could barely make out that he is the President. No one would recognise him with all the tracks of blood running down his visage. No one had seen him in such a state before. I grabbed a heart rate monitor and wheeled it over to him.
Beeping sounds and frantic shouts filled the room. Adrenaline pumped through my veins. I had never been under so much pressure before. One small mistake and my career would be on the line. I would be ridiculed for the rest of my life. I realised that my breathing was uneven and frantic. I breathed in and out slowly to calm my heart rate down. Working under high pressure increases the tendency for mistakes, and I did not want to aggravate his condition.
“Dr Hana, go get extra oxygen tanks!”, “You, wheel him under the lights.”, “Hey, what’s his diagnosis?” I gave orders left and right while snapping on gloves, face mask and safety goggles.
“Patient was in a car accident. He had gone into cardiac arrest on his way here due to the loss of blood.” A team member answered. While this was grave news, I heaved a small sigh of relief. Treating cardiac arrest is my area of expertise. I knew I got this! People were running all over the place, their shoes squeaking against the cold white floor.
“His heart rate is plummeting, Dr Sofia!” someone shouted, snapping me out of my thoughts. I rushed over, the heart rate monitor slowly flat-lining. Things seemed to happen in slow motion after that. “I can’t give up so easily. This is the President I’m saving,” I thought to myself. I got my hands into position and administered CPR on him. “Everyone step back! Give Dr Sofia some room!” Hana chipped in for me. Half of the people in the room were anxiously eying the heart rate monitor.
After what seemed like an eternity, his heart rate finally went back to normal. The whole room cheered, relieved that they had helped to save the President. I beamed and looked around at the state of the room. Small trays, cotton swabs, tweezers and other things laid strewn everywhere. The room looked like a warzone. I was so focused on my work that I did not take notice of everything going on around me. The rest of the tasks were easy and we managed to stop his bleeding leg. After cleaning his wounds and placing a cast on his broken leg, he was finally out of critical condition.
When I left the operation theatre, I glanced at the time and realized that Hana and I had worked through the whole night. “You did a good job buddy!” Hana chirped and pulled me in for a warm hug.
Just as I was about to leave the hospital, I came face-to-face with the President’s wife! “Thank you so much for saving his life,” she thanked me before I even got a chance to say anything. ”As soon as I heard that he had been in an accident, I rushed to the hospital immediately,” she started to explain the details of the accident. “Thank you! Without you, he would’ve never survived!”
Blushing, I accepted her thanks and made my way home. I had never been in such an emergency before, and I would never want to be in one again!