“Clear!”

 

I stand back from the body of the middle-aged man lying on the table in ER. Several gunshot wounds are in evidence. Two paddles are placed on his chest. He jerks violently upwards and then settles back onto the table.

 

“Still flat lining,” says a voice to my right.

 

“Increase the power,” I insist, restarting CPR.

 

The next jolt is also unsuccessful. I almost give up.

 

“Time of death 20:48 hours,” says a voice behind me.

 

“No!” I cry. “Get a chest cutter!”

 

“Doctor, let him go. He’s too badly gone.”

 

“Chest cutter. Now!”

 

Sound of ribs cracking... Vice opens the chest... Heart exposed... Not beating... Lifeless.

 

Closing my palm around the heart, I squeeze rhythmically. Blood pulses through the arteries. I stop after a minute. The heart is still lifeless

 

“Small paddles!” I shout, squeezing the heart again.

 

The nurse places two small paddles each side of the heart. “Clear!” she cries.

 

I take my hand from his chest. The heart jumps inside his chest. It keeps beating as the paddles are removed.

 

The electronic sound in the background changes.

 

“We have a heartbeat,” says a voice.

 

“Close him up,” I say quietly, leaving the ER.