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I looked back over my shoulder. “Where’s the doc?”

The shorter nurse stepped forward and clipped an oximeter on the patient’s finger. “Laura says she’s running down from the cafeteria.”

We wheeled the ambulance gurney next to the hospital bed. One of the nurses dropped the railings.

I used the foot control to bump up the hospital bed to match height. “Can you keep pressure on that while we transfer her?”

The EMT grunted in the affirmative and we lined up, another nurse and me reaching across the hospital gurney and the three EMTs on the opposite side. One of the EMTs stomped on the wheel lock and I heard it click into place.

The patient reached up and covered her face. “Don’t want to die. Don’t let me die.”

I rolled the linen underneath her into a collar to hold on to and glanced up to make sure the others had done the same. “Ready? One, two, three, lift.”

I knew she was going to be light, but I didn’t expect her to be that light. We practically threw her over onto the hospital bed.

Both the nurses and the EMTs had done this little dance many times before. Within seconds the ambulance gurney was unlocked and wheeled into the hall and the sides of the hospital bed were up. Somebody slipped a blood pressure cuff onto the woman’s arm.

Still no doc. I reached out and held the old woman’s hand. “It going to be all right ma’am. Emma, let’s have you set the IV. Dan, you take over applying pressure to that leg. Ma’am? We need to put in an IV. You’re going to feel a pinch in your other hand. I need you to hold it still to make it easy.”

She squeezed my hand then let it drop. “Don’t let me die. Don’t let me die.”

I looked her in the eye. “You are going to be okay. We’ve got everything you need.”

Her old eyes flicked about the room and she clenched both fists. “Don’t leave me. Don’t let me die.”

“I won’t. Now you need to relax your other hand so that Emma can work on it.”

“I don’t, I don’t, I-”

Dr. Tingey burst into the room. “Give me the rundown.”

I nodded over to the lead paramedic. He started down the list of vitals and procedures taken.

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