“Deceit and I,” is a slam poetry piece performed by RJ Walker at the Individual World Poetry Slam competition. This piece chronicles the events of a call that is among many first responders worst nightmares: the death of an infant. For anyone in the career field, the death of a child is often times one of the most dramatic situations imaginable. There is a certain feeling of injustice that lingers in the air around the scene of chaos. The parents are often hysterical, and can sometimes become dangerous to themselves, the staff, and worst of all, the patient. The images of the scene are never forgotten, no matter how much time passes. Possibly, the thing that hits the hardest when dealing with child patients is their innocents. The fact is that the children didn’t put themselves in that situation, the situation found them. More often with adult patients, they made a poor decision prior to their arrival in the emergency department, otherwise known as the, “hold my beer and watch this,” incidents. The argument of what makes an adult do what they do is a whole different, complex, conversation, but the fact of the matter is that adults have the capability to understand that what they are doing is dangerous, whereas kids don’t have that understanding. Children are also very variable to injury due to their small, weak bodies and inability to defend themselves; in a culture that prides itself on physical discipline, sometimes the worst imaginable outcomes become reality.
In this piece, however, Walker goes beyond just describing the incident, he talks about the personal toll it had on him. From deciding whether or not to tell the parents the truth about how their child died, to how it affects his sleep at night, Walker touches on a more personal side of the job that often isn’t talked about.