Vital Signs

A boy is gasping for his life, and the medics' rescue measures have failed

By Tony Dajer|Monday, September 01, 2003
Tom, the other doctor working in the emergency room, listens to the medical-control radio, then barks, "Proceed with rapid sequence intubation." "How bad?" I ask. "Sixteen-year-old, asthmaticus. And he's cyanotic." "How far out?" "Six minutes." It's a common nightmare: A child wakes up suddenly. He feels as though he is drawing breath through a single, slowly collapsing straw. The muscles around his bronchi, the two slender airways that lead into the lungs, are tightening like boas. Frantic...
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