Angels on the Night Shift

Free Angels on the Night Shift by M.D. Robert D. Lesslie

Book: Angels on the Night Shift by M.D. Robert D. Lesslie Read Free Book Online
Authors: M.D. Robert D. Lesslie
stacked up at the emergency entrance. Not a good omen for what lay in wait for me behind those doors.
    It was like stepping into a frenzied nightclub. People were moving around everywhere, and the noise was chaotic, the voices incoherent.
    “Excuse me, Dr. Lesslie!” someone called out just to my right. It was one of our techs, and she was trying to push the EKG machine down the crowded hallway.
    I quickly moved out of her way and thought about stepping outside. Maybe if I closed my eyes, counted to three, and came back in… No, that never seemed to work.
    Amy Connors caught my eye from behind the nurses’ station. She shook her head and silently mouthed, “I’m outta here.” Then she stood up and made her way to the lounge to pick up her things and head home.
    Liz Kennick was standing at the counter, writing on a chart. She looked up as I approached her.
    “It has been absolutely crazy!” she said in understatement. “Just look at this place,” she added, her right hand sweeping around the department for effect.
    “Don’t worry, Liz,” I told her. “It happens.”
    Then setting my briefcase on the floor, I asked, “Have you got anything to turn over to me?”
    Just then, a stretcher came out of major trauma, guided by two paramedics. There was a bundle of clothes on its foot, along with a large, stuffed-full folder, the kind we used for medical records. The twentysomething young man lying there was being transferred out of the department, and when the paramedics came up beside the nurses’ station, they stopped.
    “Have we got everything we need?” one of them asked Liz.
    She spun around, looked down at the young man, and said, “He’s ready to go. They’ll be expecting him in the ER at CMC. Good luck, Mr. Tucker,” she added, patting the man on his left arm.
    “Thanks, Doc,” he replied, smiling up at her.
    I took a good look at him as he lay there before me. He seemed to be in no distress, with normal color and what seemed like a normal neurological response. The only significant thing I noted was a large bandage wrapped around his head, covering an odd horn-like shape sticking up from the top of his skull. I wondered why he was being sent out to a trauma center.
    The paramedics wheeled him toward the ambulance entrance and Liz suddenly put her pen on the counter and looked up at me.
    “Come over here, Robert,” she told me. “I want you to see something.”
    She quickly stepped over to the X-ray view box and I followed.
    “Take a look at this!” she said, flipping on the light and illuminating the film that was hanging there.
    Wow—now that was something! It was the lateral view of the skull of an adult—nothing unusual in and of itself. What was unusual was the large nail driven through the top of this person’s head—half on the outside of the skull, and half in the brain.
    I glanced at the closing ambulance entrance doors, now understanding the pointed bandage on the top of that young man’s head. But he had been wide awake, and acting as if there was no problem.
    “What happened?” I asked Liz while looking at some of his other X-rays. It seemed that the nail went right into the middle of the top of his brain.
    “Nail-gun accident,” she said matter-of-factly, as if she had seen hundreds of these in her short career. “He was working on a construction site, downstairs, minding his own business, when someone on the floor above him fired his gun into some plywood. The nail went all the way through the floor, hit him in the head, and knocked him down. But he never lost consciousness. It’s amazing, but he’s completely intact. No deficit that I can find. But that nail has to be sitting in his brain. We started some antibiotics and called one of the neurosurgeons in Charlotte. He’s going to see him up there in the ER. Should do okay.”
    “Wow,” I remarked as we walked back to the nurses’ station. “I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
    Answering my earlier

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