Halloween Hospital Hijinks

When I was a very junior doctor, I worked a night shift on Halloween.

I was called to go and confirm a patient on one of our wards was dead by my senior colleague. Confirming death means checking there are no breath sounds, no heart sounds or pulse and generally is done some time after they’ve died (about half an hour or so) to make sure they are properly dead. The patient was in a side room. I went in to the room, lit only by the bedside light and saw the body was lying on the bed under a sheet. I had been a doctor for 3 months and had only done this a few times, I was still a bit apprehensive about it.

I approached the body, about to pull off the sheet and begin confirming no signs of life when the body sat bolt upright, both arms outstretched and moaned terribly, scaring the shit right out of me.

All the nurses were outside laughing their heads off, my senior colleague was now up from under the sheet in fits of giggles. I burst into a mixture of tears and laughter, unsure whether this was funny or horrible.

Things like this don’t happen anymore as we are too busy, don’t have any empty side rooms and don’t work in such tight little teams overnight that know each other well enough to do such a thing. Thank goodness.

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