8.29.2005

#12 takes the stage

"We need a doc here!"

Jackie Brown jumped up. The uncharacteristic note of panic in the medic's voice carried over the rattle of the stretcher's wheels as it rolled its bleeding cargo into the Emergency Room.

"What have we got, guys?"

"It's Dr. Goldfarb. He lost control of his Jag and smashed into a pole."

The young ER attending stopped in her tracks.

"Our Dr. Goldfarb? Chief of Staff, Dr. Goldfarb?"

"That's him, all right." The medic's face was grim.

That damn car, thought Jackie. Judy always said it would be the death of him. Bertram Goldfarb's very new, very red, very small, very fast sports car would have been heart-stoppingly recognizable no matter how badly any accident might have mangled it. Looking around at the members of the ambulance crew, Jackie saw them struggling to maintain their composure.


And you stop your action packed narrative to talk about the car...why? I'd take out everything from "That damn car though might have mangled it" and leave the last sentence.


"Let's get him into Trauma One." The same iron grip of fear had clamped down on Jackie. She could barely feel her heart pounding.

They maneuvered the stretcher into the cubicle lined with prepared equipment, slid the bloody body over onto the ER gurney, and went to work like the well-oiled team they were. Nurses and techs began cutting off clothes, attaching cardiac monitor leads, swinging the portable X-ray machine arm over the patient and securing the two large intravenous lines that had been placed in the field. Jackie began at the head of the stretcher, checking the position of the endotracheal tube that had already been inserted at the accident scene before the body had been slid into the ambulance. She listened to each side of the chest in turn.

"No breath sounds on the left," she announced.

She carefully unwrapped the tape that held the tube to the lip and delicately withdrew it one centimeter, using the markings...


First, no matter what anyone says about word count or pages, never leave a sentence unfinished. It's maddening. If you can only send three hundred words, or one page, STOP before you get to that if you have too. With this I would have stopped at the "no breath" line.

Second, why everyone fills up driving narrative with description is beyond me. When you have relentless action moving forward you aren't paying attention to much except what's going on. Leave out the "she could barely feel her heart pounding". You leave that out because it's NOT something an ER attending is going to be thinking about if she's got a bleeding patient in front of her, and you also leave it out cause it's not something MOST of us think about.

Iron grip of fear is a total cliche.

This is another case where I'd advise deeply imagining what goes on. it's fast paced, there are people shouting instructions. No one is standing around mouths agape wondering about their heart rate. This guy is dying. Save him!

This has potential but it needs a transfusion!

2 comments:

Shadow said...

Actually, he dies; but that's what you get for only asking for the first page.

Thanks for the insights, though.

Miss Snark said...

even better!!

What I meant to convey (see, even Miss Snark needs to listen to her critics!) is that the medic would be focused on saving Dr Dead, not thinking of other things.