Thursday, September 3, 2009

Time of death

The nurse said, "We need you to come give us a time of death."

"Well, what time did he die?" I asked.

"I don't know. We can't call him dead until you pronounce him."

That is what it means to pronounce someone dead. But at the time, it struck me as utterly ridiculous.

He died when he died.
That's when he died.
But the time of death...that's when I say he died.

When you been awake for thirty hours, the absurdity of all of this sort of smacks you in the face.

10 comments:

Eric said...

I always thought that was absurd as well; in OK we had to wait for a coroner to arrive on scene to pronounce someone dead.
Here in NM, though, pretty much anyone can do it.

gitz said...

that makes me want to call you every morning so you can pronounce me awake. you know, just to make it official that I am.

Anna said...

I don't understand how they can force you to pull shifts of 30 hours. There have been a few times in the past months where I had to stay awake for about 26 hours and by the end, I thought I was going collapse on the floor, happily snoring away. And you are doctors! You're supposed to save lives (or in Graci's case I guess, keep all the body parts together)! How can your bosses expect you to function and perform at your best with 30 hours straight of no sleep? Now, I am aware that it must be possible. That one can get used to everything and that you certainly don't screw up just because you're pushing 30 hours. But surely, one can't feel perky and at top performance level at the end of such a shift. And frankly, that's what I'd like doctors treating me to be...

.j.william. said...

that's some serious power! "You're not dead until I say you're dead! Don't give me that look!"

Susanlee said...

That's a rather disturbing power you've got there. "You're not dead 'til I say you're dead!" Freaky.

Susanlee said...

That's a rather disturbing power you've got there. "You're not dead 'til I say you're dead!" Freaky. -laughs- I should have read the comments before posting. I said exactly the same thing as j.william!

dive said...

Cool! So if I manage to die somewhere a doctor will never find me I can actually achieve some kind of official immortality!

MmeBenaut said...

30 hours is too much little one. I know that it's done but it's not right.
Time of death has little meaning for me and probably less for the person who is dead. If someone asked me when he died, I'd have said "Tuesday". Does it really matter?

Maria said...

I have NEVER pronounced someone dead. Never. I am fucking jealous now.

Eric said...

I'm a little jealous as well, Maria. If I were to pronounce someone dead I'd do with a kick ass light show, music, and smoke machines...oh, and I'd wear a cape.