Lynn Regudon was twenty years old and newly married to a foreign student from India when she took a job as a clerk in the Medical Records Department at King County Hospital, soon transitioning to the admitting office in the Emergency Room. Now Harborview Medical Center, King County Hospital was, and still is, the trauma center and the place where anyone can receive care regardless of the ability to pay. A night in the ER saw victims from all over the city: drunks who needed a safe place to sober up; johns who had been rolled for their money; life-shattering casualties of car accidents and stabbings, and the occasional patient in need of a “foreign body” removal.
In The Beat Goes On, Regudon captures a post-war charity hospital emergency room in a time when nurses wore starched white uniforms and white caps, and doctors always knew best; when residents often made the final decisions about patient care. She captures a unique time and place, portraying the humanity of those who work in the dramatic environment of a trauma hospital as well as those outside, like police and ambulance drivers, who make up part of the “ER family.” It details friendships and romances forged, as well as victories and devastations experienced by doctors, nurses, patients and staff alike. Woven throughout is Regudon’s own story, from her first marriage and divorce, when her husband left the country with their toddler daughter, to the intimate connections she made at the hospital as a newly single woman working by night and going to school by day.
The Beat Goes On is a captivating and intensely-drawn portrait of one woman’s personal and professional coming of age set against the backdrop of a larger-than-life hospital in a time that feels both foreign and familiar.