I met her in the Emergency Room. It was late on a Saturday night, maybe even Sunday morning, and I’d been called in for an auto crash victim who needed surgery.
I talked to her as we wheeled her to the OR. She was conscious, crying and asking me not to tell her parents that she had been drinking. She was 15.
After we transferred her to the OR table, I stood at her side, assisting the anesthesiologist while holding her hand and telling her that her parents loved her and that everything was going to be all right. She would see her parents soon, right after surgery, and they would be overjoyed to see her.
We kept her alive during surgery, but her internal injuries weren’t able to be fully repaired and weren’t compatible with life and she bled out and died in the ICU shortly after surgery. I know she never woke up. That’s all I will ever know.
40 years later, I think of her from time to time, and keep her in my heart.