Poor kid… Dr. Jonathan Baker looked sympathetically down at the broken teenage body that had just been laid before him. Even without an x-ray to read from, this patient was obviously in bad shape. Both legs were shattered along with a couple of ribs that stuck out from his chest. His face and arms were scarred and bloody, and his abdomen rose and fell with stilted breath. Much as he would have loved to hold out hope, Dr. Jon knew that these situations rarely ended with anything short of tragedy. At least the boy could be grateful that he was unconscious.

The doctor stood back while a couple of nurses wheeled the body into an empty room. As they scrambled around the area, cleaning away the blood and running various tests, he thought about what he would have to tell the family. "We did all we could?” ...That would be true, though it was quite unlikely to be comforting. "He died without pain?"… Judging by the boy’s strained breathing, that would probably be a lie. Many of his colleagues lied to families, especially in situations such as this. Yet he had never been comfortable with that. Then again, Dr. Jon had never been comfortable with tragedy. He’d seen his fellow doctors lose hope and fall into cynicism, or bury their failure behind an all-too-common god complex. And he certainly understood why. The horrible, wrenching feeling of guilt when a patient was lost.. It was nearly too horrible to bear. Unfortunately, it seemed all too likely that he was about to experience it with this patient.

“Got the results, sir.” A blunt female voice interrupted his thoughts. The head nurse shoved a clipboard into his hands, evidently unphased by the scene before them. “No response or conscious movement. He’s comatose. Pretty extensive brain damage too.” How horrible.. Still, the nurse continued on as though these were words she had spoken every day. Hell, they probably were to some extent. The doctor was half intimidated, half impressed by her ability to set aside her emotions like this. Perhaps she had more practice… or maybe just the right kind of mind. She kept speaking without pause. “We can put him on the machine, but I give him a day or two, tops.”

“Hook him up.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Why bother?” one of the younger nurses muttered. It seemed like she was trying to say it under her breath, but she had a voice that carried far too well for that.

“Excuse me?”

Dr. Jon turned to face the girl, who was setting up the life support equipment with a clear look of exasperation on her face. She seemed embarrassed, but mustered up the courage to repeat the statement. “Why bother? He’s gonna die anyway, why not save the equipment for somebody who has a chance.”
The doctor was appalled, not by her attitude, for he had seen it in many of his profession, but by the validity of the logic behind her statement. He couldn’t help but think that she could be right in some way. Yet he shook his head. “I’m going to tell this kid’s family that we did all we can for him, and god dammit I am not going to be a liar.” He paused for a moment, then added “And don’t speak that way in front of the patient.”

The girl rolled her eyes as if to say “whatever”. The guy was comatose. Obviously he couldn’t hear her anyway. The doctor, too stressed to argue, let this little act of insubordination slide. Yet he was quite right to correct her. After all, giving up on a patient right in front of them was terrible bedside manner. Especially considering that he can hear every word they are saying.