St. Freeman’s ER
by Sherm S. Nichols
Too often we direct our attention away from those who really need the Lord
and instead take on the “easy cases” of people who really don’t need much
attention. In a hospital Emergency Room, people having various, frivolous
needs are greeted by the front desk nurse and a doctor with whom she consults.
Each one is treated as if it’s a very serious condition. In the midst
of these, there’s one man who’s having what appears to be a heart attack.
Bruce Nogood – a man having a progressing heart attack
10 Other patients
(Opening Scene: flashing red light, ambulance siren sounding, fades out.
Attention is directed to nurse at desk in center of stage. She is
talking on the phone.)
Nurse Whatsurproblem: Yes, Yes, we’ve had several people worried about
global warming in the past week. Sure, I think you’d better come
in. Dr. Goodguy will want to see you. Uh-huh. Bye.
Patient #1 and helper: (patient enters with adult helping him.
They are holding up his foot as if he has a broken leg.) Can someone help
Nurse Whatsurproblem: Yes! Right over here! Here, You’d
better sit down, Hon! (gets him a chair)
Patient #1 and helper: (looking at elevated leg) We think it’s
Nurse Whatsurproblem: I’d better have Dr. Goodguy take a look at this.
(toward side door) Dr. Goodguy! (he enters from stage left side)
Dr. G: What is it? (looks at patient) Ooh! What have we
here? How did this happen?
Patient #1 and helper: Well, I was in a hurry, and I was tying
my shoe, and SNAP!
Dr. G: Yea. You have to be careful with these things.
You’ve definitely got a broken shoestring here. Let’s get you back
to bed 2. (the 3 exit to stage left as next patient enters from right)
Nurse W: Can I help you?
Patient #2: Yeah. I need some help.
Nurse W: What’s wrong?
Patient #2: Well, I was talking on my cell phone. Everything
seemed fine. Then, all of a sudden, my battery went dead. (loudly)
My phone went dead!
Nurse W: You mean, you can’t “hear me now”?
Patient #2: Huh?
Nurse W: Sorry, dear. Let’s get you back to bed 3. (she escorts
him off to stage left. As they’re going to the side, Bruce Nogood
Bruce: (looking around at the unattended desk) Hello? Hello?
Nurse W: Yes, I’m here. Something I can help you with?
Bruce: I’m not sure. I’ve heard about heart attack symptoms and
all. I feel kind of short of breath. My left arm and shoulder
have been hurting for several hours. My pulse seems too fast.
I have a history of heart disease in my family.
Nurse W: Yea, OK. Well, why don’t you go through that door right
there? (points to door exiting stage right)
Bruce: Right there?
Nurse W: Yea. OK. Bye Bye! (Bruce gingerly walks
to the door and exits as next patient enters, agitated)
Nurse W: Well, dear, what seems to be wrong?
Patient #3: It’s terrible! Terrible! I forgot last night was
Thursday and I went out on a date!
Nurse W: (just looks at her blankly)
Patient #3: Thursday! Don’t you understand! “Friends”
was on TV last night! I’ve never missed it! And last night…I
missed it! (weepy)
Nurse W: Oh dear! Here, now, take some deep breaths!
Let’s get you right back to see the doctor. You’ll be in bed 4. (helps
her to the door as next patient enters)
Patient #4 and helper: (mother and son come in, holding his arm out
of sight) Here now, honey, keep pressure on it. Don’t let go!
(toward the desk, pleadingly) Is there a doctor in here!
Nurse W: Dr. Goodguy! I need you out here, STAT! (She rushes
to patient as Dr. G comes too)
Dr. G: What happened?
Patient #4 and helper: It was an accident! I didn’t mean
Patient #4 and helper: We were at Sonic. You know, they’re having
a slushy sale…
Patient #4 and helper: I pushed my straw too hard. It went right
through the bottom of the cup. Now, it’s leaking everywhere!
And this is a Route 44 size too! (Looking at cup from Sonic)
Dr. G: it’s OK. Don’t panic. Let’s have a look at
it. (all attention on the cup in the patient’s hand.) Yep.
It’s a clean puncture. We’re going to need to work on that.
Keep pressure on it. Let’s get you into bed 5. (meanwhile,
Bruce Nogood has wandered back into the room. He’s visibly degrading,
a little hunched over, and walking slower)
Bruce: (kind of spacey) Hello? I’m not sure what happened.
I was here before…
Dr. G: Who’s this?
Nurse W: This guy was having some pains…
Bruce: The pain in my arm is a lot worse and my chest is starting to
feel really tight. Should I be breaking out in a sweat like this?
Dr. G: Sir, you’ll need to go through that door over there.
Bruce: Are you sure? Last time…
Dr. G: Yes, sir, that door right over there! (Bruce very slowly
moves over to door and exits stage right as the other 4 get the patient
off to stage left. Nurse W returns to desk as next patient enters)
Patient #5: (gray-haired man) Is this the emergency room?
Nurse W: Yes! Can I help you?
Patient #5: I don’t know. This morning, I looked in the mirror
and…and… look! (holds up one hair) I had
a gray hair!
Nurse W: No!
Patient #5: Yes! Right here! (holding up one hair)
Nurse W: Let’s get you right back to bed 7. Dr. Goodguy is busy,
but he’ll get to you as soon as possible.
Patient #5: Thanks! (exits stage left)
(3 more patients enter, as does Bruce Nogood. The 3 are all in
varying stages of anxiousness, and Bruce’s condition is visibly worse.
He’s holding his chest and looking in pain)
Nurse W: Oh, my! OK, OK. One at a time. Tell me what’s
wrong with you…
Bruce: (pushes to front, with some gasping) That door. It didn’t
really help. I’m really getting bad. I can hardly breathe.
Nurse W: Oh, you, sir. Like I told you, you’ll need to go through
that door right there. (points to stage right door. Bruce shakes
his head, limps back to door hunched over, clutching chest) Now,
for the rest of you… (she looks at the 3 girls who’ve come in)
Patient #6: I’ve never won at Monopoly!
Patient #7: My fingernails don’t match!
Patient #8: I don’t like the color fuchsia!
(Patients 6,7, and 8 all make their way to exit stage left as Dr. Goodguy
reenters. He notices the 3 new patients headed off)
Dr. G: Nurse Whatsurproblem, that leaves us with only one bed.
Any more cases and I’m not sure what we’ll do. We’re almost out of
VCR’s and non-alcoholic pina coladas. By the way, whatever happened
to that one guy?
Nurse W: I don’t know. Thankfully, he finally quit coming back.
(Lights go off immediately)
© Sherm S. Nichols, all rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies
are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In
exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified
of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted