He was two months old when I ran code to his house last week. The call was that he was not breathing and was unresponsive. I got there at the same time as the ambulance, and was there as the paramedics took him from his parents who were attempting CPR and began their own attempts to revive him.
Isaiah regained a heartbeat and started breathing again with assistance, but was later determined to be brain dead and removed from life support the next day.
I’ve been to a lot of death scenes. I’ve seen horrible things: car wrecks, teenage suicides, medicals, decomposing bodies, etc. Its part and parcel of the job. The death part of the job breeds a certain gallows humor, a normal coping mechanism that allows a bit of laughter to help you handle some of the more horrible ends of life on Earth, and the anguish and pain that is often left behind.
But nobody jokes about children. There is never anything funny about that.
And more importantly, you never forget the children. I don’t know how many death scenes I’ve worked, but I know that I will never forget Isaiah or Kristen’s faces. Two. In six years, that’s pretty few. I consider myself lucky in that regard.
The final sad thing about the whole situation is that part of me wants the cause of death to be ruled something other than natural. Some sort of abuse or shaken baby or something. Why? Because I can do something about that. One of the most solemn duties I am tasked with is to be the advocate for those who cannot defend themselves – a champion for children. And the dead. I will happily blow a parent’s door off its hinges and drag them to jail if they hurt their child. I am a police officer, and I know how to handle someone who hurts the innocent – arrest them and let the people of the community decide their fate.
But you can’t fight SIDS or a natural death. And sadly, you are often left just knowing that sometimes, babies die.
His name was Isaiah, and I hope to meet him in the next life and apologize to him. For while I did my best, I could not change whatever it was that happened to him.