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Fiction Drama

     Anne never lost a patient. She was called the miracle worker by both coworkers and the patients' loved ones. She worked as a trauma surgeon for Grace Memorial Hospital, ever since her residency, twelve years ago, and she loved her career.

     "Multiple trauma victims. ETA six minutes." a nurse said, hanging up the emergency room phone.

     "Cause of the traumas?" Anne asked, slipping on a pair of gloves.

     "High school bombing."

     Anne froze. Her son attended high school, but it was too late to find out which school. She'd know soon enough.

"Here they come." Anne said, rushing to the ambulance entrance.

     "What do we have?" Anne asked, recognizing the burned face of her son's friend, Richard.

     "Third degree burns, forehead injury, and impaled through the chest. He coded on the way in,"

     Richard was rushed into the closest trauma room when his heart stopped. A dose of adrenaline was injected, and CPR started.

     "Don't let that light tube move. We don't need him bleeding out." Anne said, to the attending stabilizing the tube. 

     When a heart beat appeared on the monitor, Anne sighed with relief. Just because she never lost a patient, it didn't mean she couldn't.

     After the exposed portion of the light tube was cut off, he was taken into surgery.

     Anne removed a long shard of glass from a main artery and shoved gauze against it to staunch the blood flow. Then, seconds into starting to stitch up the injury, the monitors started to beep fast and loud. She needed time she didn't have. 

     "Start CPR," she said, pressing gauze against the sliced vein. She hated to do it, but getting his heart started was priority number one. When a weak heart beat appeared, she finished stitching, and told the resident to close him up. 

     Worried about her son, Robert, she washed up then pressed the speed dial option on her cellphone. The call went straight to voicemail. It wasn't a good sign. She called the hospital's admissions desk and asked if he was there. When she was told that he was in surgery, she let out the breath she'd been holding. He was alive, but further details about his traumatic injuries made her heart skip a beat. He'd been found crushed underneath a support beam.

     She dashed to the observation deck above the surgery room he was in. Looking down, she saw the neurosurgeon, Dr. Rottenger, drilling a hole in Robert's skull in an attempt to relieve the pressure building on his brain. Anne dropped into a seat, bowed her head to her hands, and sobbed.

She had always thought how lucky her family was to never have experienced a car crash or other serious life threatening event. How lucky they were to miss what so many other families went through. She'd say blessed if she still believed in God. A God she tossed away after her tumultuous short marriage to a man who did believe.

     Her head jerked toward the surgery when loud beeping from the heart monitor filled the room. She held her breath and waited.

     "Please please please," she said, wringing her hands.

     The minutes ticked by like weeks, but she refused to believe her son would die. If only she could hold his hand and tell him how much she needed and loved him, his heart would beat. She ran out of the room, burst into the operating one, and held his hand while whispering terms of endearment.

     When the doctor started to open his mouth to end the unsuccessful code, a heart beat registered on the monitor. Anne broke down crying, and a nurse pulled her away from the table. 

     "I have to stay," Anne said, brushing the nurse's hand from her arm.

     Since she was a surgeon at the hospital, she was allowed to remain in the room. The operation was a success. However, when the anesthesia wore off, Robert didn't open his eyes.

     Anne sat by his side whenever she had the chance. She told him how sorry she was for divorcing his father, for not being home enough, and grounding him for sneaking out to parties. She knew he'd be devastated when he woke up and couldn't feel or move anything from his waist down, but he had to wake up. She promised him she'd take a month off from work, and he could invite Richard to his grandparents' home in Hawaii. They'd lay on the beach under the shade of palm trees and jump into the waves like they had during his childhood. 

     "It's something you need to consider," Dr. Rottenger said, after four months had passed since the operation.

     "Never."

     She was the miracle worker. There was no way she'd ever pull the plug on her son. Tragedies didn't happen to her family. 

     When she enter Robert's hospital room, a few days later, there was an older women in the bed. She checked the room number, which indicated it was the one her son was supposed to be in. Before she let her emotions run wild, she went to check whether he'd been moved.

      "Where's my son?" 

      "One moment please."

      "Tell me where he is!" Anne said, yanking the phone out of the nurse's hand.

     "Dr. Rottenger will be here any moment."

     Anne knew something was wrong, but she was not prepared for the blow the doctor delivered when he arrived. He told her that the hospital removed her son from life support that morning.

     Not believing what she heard, she bolted toward the morgue and slammed her fists against the drawer with his name. She knew they had legal right to do it, yet never in a million lifetimes did she ever think they'd do it to her. They'd snuffed out the life of her only child. Tears flowed down her cheeks and formed small puddles on the floor, as she pulled her hair. Not only had she lost a son but also a career. There was no way she'd ever step foot in a hospital again. The table she shoved on her way out clanged as it tipped over, scattering a lamp and clipboard across the floor. She was going to kill the hospital's chief, Andrew, if it was her last act in this lifetime.

She knew he didn't care for women doctors. Her brilliant career intimidated him. When she threw open Andrew's office door, he was sitting behind his desk.

     "Anne, you know it was the right decision,"

     "The hell I do," she said, rushing to the front of the desk and grabbing his shirt collar in an attempt to choke him.

     He was bigger and stronger, though, and pushed her backwards. She stumbled and fell over a chair. 

     "Send security," he said, pressing a button for the nurse's station.

     Two security guards entered the room and assisted her to her feet. She yanked her arms from their hold, and started to leave.

     "You haven't seen the last of me," she said, removing her lab coat as if it was on fire. She crumpled it into a ball and threw it at him then rushed from the room, choking on grief.

June 28, 2022 14:52

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2 comments

Kristin Johnson
20:07 Dec 09, 2022

"She was the miracle worker. There was no way she'd ever pull the plug on her son. Tragedies didn't happen to her family." I love this.

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Rabab Zaidi
09:46 Jul 03, 2022

Very disappointing. Anne did not deserve this.

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