I pulled the shorter straw.
I am the unlucky intern that has to break the bad news.
He was told that they could only save one person.
I find him sitting in the waiting room with his head between his knees and his hands pressed over his ears.
He’s muttering incoherently. It sounds like a prayer.
He hears me approaching and bolts up to his feet.
There’s dark circles under his bloodshot eyes, his skin’s pale, his lips are chapped, his clothes are wrinkled and he looks at me with hopeless desperation. “Can I see my family?”
I lead him to a private room.
He asks again. His voice breaks and a new stream of tears rolls down his cheeks.
“Mr. Dixon, your wife lost a lot of blood during surgery. We used extraordinary measures but her heart wasn’t strong enough to keep the blood circulating around her body and she suffered a stroke.”
“My…W-What about our baby?”
I take a deep breath. “We had to induce labour to deliver your baby. However at 21 weeks old, your baby’s lungs, brain and heart were not fully developed. When we got him out, he was unresponsive.”
“No,” he croaked.
“I’m sorry, both your wife and son are dead.”
As hard as it is confronting the family, the next part is the most painful: watching them unashamedly break down in front of you.
They are no longer the same person who you saw walk through the doors.
Mr Dixon weeps uncontrollably into his hands, his cries sound strained like his throat’s being strangled.
After what seems like hours, he lifts his head back up and I am speechless at the coldness in his eyes.
Life has left his eyes but sadly unlike his loved ones, he’s still breathing.