Human life often hangs in the balance at the MedStar Unit of the Washington Hospital Center, where teams of ambulance medics, shock trauma technicians, nurses and doctors work day and night handling an array of accident and assault victims.

The pictures here depict hectic efforts at the unit earlier this year to save the life of a man shot in the face and leg by a police officer during a routine traffic stop in which police say the man pulled a gun on the officer.

A "Code Yellow" hospital team trained to deal with shock trauma cases receives the man as he is wheeled into the hospital by D.C. Fire Department medics. A clock on the walls shows the time is just midnight.

Doctors and nurses examine the man, take X-rays and prepare him for surgery.

Minutes turn into hours as the team works intensely, extracting bullet fragments from the man's neck, jaw and leg. At 3:45 a.m., almost four hours later, the job is finished and the man is wheeled from the trash-strewn operating room to an intensive care unit. He will live.

Afterwards, doctors fill in police detectives on the man's condition so that final reports of the shooting can be made.