Bed 1 was a 79 year old incontinent female transfered from a facility for altered mental status. Her pressure in the 70s, and oxygen sat not much higher without a non-rebreather mask, she required a central line and fluids squeezed in by pressure bags while waiting for a bed upstairs.
Bed 3 was a 57 year old mother of two who called 911 after feeling short of breath. CT scan revealed a PE, in addition to newly-discovered advanced lung cancer.
The diabetic with a sugar of 620 in Bed 2 had to be pulled out on a portable monitor to make room for an 82 year old male, delirious with sepsis. Moaning constantly, his dry brittle skin cracked in our hands and he howled in pain while we searched for non-existent veins.
And they each had family - a husband of over 50 years, children, a crying wife - standing at the bedside. For the patients I can at least clean them up, change the sheets, turn them off their bed sores. It doesn't mean much in the long run, but it is something. For the family, though, there's really nothing I can do or say.