March 23, 2013

He almost died except for the kindness of strangers and the efficiency and compassion of the American health care system

A writer for the Atlantic, Ta-Nishi Coates was on a train to Boston when he ate a bad nut and almost died.

[I] went into anaphylactic shock.  A doctor who happened to be seated nearby shot me up with an epipen. The train made an emergency stop in New London where the paramedics were waiting. I was shivering crazily, which was better than the bullets I'd been sweating moments before. The doc told me it was the adrenaline. I kept apologizing. I couldn't believe I was making a scene on the Quiet Car.
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When I got the hospital the doctors took great care of me. Two points: First, my theory of assholes clearly should be revised; the kindness of strangers is always amazing. Second, America, whatever its flaws, is very often amazing in its efficiency and compassion. It did not escape my mind that in some other place I might have died. This is not chest-thumping or jingoism. It is a fact of my residency.
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When I fell out on the train, everyone on the car was white. So were all the paramedics and all the doctors and nurses.
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What I know is I live in a time that people who made me possible only dreamed of. And then yesterday I almost lost it all.
Posted by Jill Fallon at March 23, 2013 12:16 PM | Permalink