You Know Your Patient is Dead When...
At shift change tonight, we found ourselves talking about dead bodies. I'm not sure what prompted this discussion, exactly, but as you can imagine, it's not a particularly unusual subject in an ambulance station.
Mostly, the conversation revolved around the locations where people had been found dead. Finally, an EMT from the evening shift told the most amusing story of all.
"We were called to this bar one time," he said. "The patient was supposed to be unconscious. As we walked in, we saw this guy on the floor. We asked what had happened, and everybody just kind of shrugged.
"As we roll the guy over, we find that he's totally stiff. He's been dead for hours, or maybe even days. So again we start asking around, trying to see if anybody knows what happened to him. Finally somebody tells us that he'd been sitting there all day, on a stool at the bar. At some point he'd passed away, but he was perfectly balanced, and he remained upright, so nobody even noticed."
"Who called the ambulance?" another EMT asked.
"He stayed there for such a long time that someone finally decided he was asleep. This other guy taps him on the arm, and the guy tips over. He falls on the floor, with his arms sticking up in the air, totally dead, like a dead pet in a cartoon, or something.
"We couldn't believe it. It was totally Weekend at Bernie's."