A Call to the Emergency Room, the Day Which Forever Changed my Life

Lis Gal
8 min readMar 13, 2019

In May of 1980 it was a bright, sunny day and I was at work. I kept wishing I could just leave, that was until I received a stat page to the Emergency room.

Photo by Mike Benna on Unsplash

I was working in Respiratory Therapy at the time and over the intercom I heard, “Respiratory Therapy, ER Stat!” When a stat page went out, you ran and that I did.

Whenever we got paged to the Emergency room Stat, the adrenaline would rise immediately. You never knew what you were going to be facing once you arrived. Many times the patient or patients were already on gurneys in the ER, but not on this particular day.

It was quiet in the Emergency Room when I arrived but it wasn’t going to stay that way. I asked what was going on and the nurse told me we needed to set up our cold water drowning equipment for two 6 year old males who were still in the water. At that time, we were the only Hospital in North Eastern Ohio who had the ability to treat cold water drowning patients.

I was told it would be a while before the patients were out of the water and in transport, so I returned to the floor I was working on to continue giving breathing treatments. It wasn’t long after my return to the floor that I received a Stat page myself.

I will never forget the words spoken after I answered my Stat page. It was the Emergency room supervisor who paged me and asked me to meet her at the end of the hall I was working on. I met her and she said without any emotion in her voice, “Your brother is one of the drowning victims.” I remember feeling like I was going to pass out when I heard this. I assumed he was lying there dead. It was as if I began having an out of body experience after hearing her words. I barely remember running like hell to reach the Emergency room.

As I began to take off running, she stopped me for a second and told me that he was alive but in shock, “he needs you,” she proceeded to tell me. The Nursing supervisor’s voice seemed so cold which sent shivers through my body. I asked one question while visibly shaken before I ran off, “Who was with my brother?” The Nursing Supervisor told me it was his friend Bruce*.

Bruce and my brother had just graduated from High School. Bruce had been in a serious car…



Lis Gal

Writer with a personal interest in Mental Health & Wellness. Writing with a mission: End the labels. Photography is my hobby, life is my passion.