"It's never good for a paramedic to be a victim."|
Johnny said tightly.
"Exactly right. So just
be a paramedic and everything
will turn out right if it's in your power, like it always
"Like it used to do.."
"Like it STILL does, partner.." he firmly glared.
"I'll let you
know if you ever lose your edge. Remember,
Brackett says you're one of the best." he chuckled.
I'm keen on protecting that reputation because it
reflects well on me. Next month's review and raise
on that. I'm also doing it because I've a lot of ground to
catch up on with my bills
and my FAMILY's bills.." he groaned.
"So I'm gonna guarantee that fatter paycheck any way
Instead of laughing, Gage frowned.
"Yeah? Well what about my reputation in the eyes
Morton? I'd say I'm just about shot as a medic
if he decides to blame his sister's death on me
front of the paramedic's review board."
DeSoto stayed silent, not knowing what to say.
then, a few minutes later, as the morning
warmth dried the sweat off their faces, DeSoto
up. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
I'm sure that Brice, as head chair, would review
any case he overhears fairly in concern with
recertifying you if Morton should want an investigation
done examining the actions you took that day.
Craig is a walking rule book you know."
I'm a walking jobless man if I get a suit
filed against me. How can I keep my personal
then if I can't be a paramedic anymore?"
"Trust in your promises, Johnny. They're all
got. " he said seriously. Then he laughed,
adding. "Then trust your friends to know you
than you do. They'll never tell you any lies
about how you really are."
Johnny finally harrumphed
in his throat with
a slight smile which admitted that he gave
Roy a point for being right on that.
"Come on. This tire's all set. Let's get
some food. Dixie says the tuna fish casserole's
I'll vouch for it. I sure ate enough of
it during my hospital stay.."
From : "Katherine Bird" <email@example.com>
Subject : Indigestion..
Date : Thu, 02 Oct 2003 05:06:55 +0100
Roy had just paid for
his lunch of pasta
when Johnny crashed into the back of
his partner with his own tray full of the
same thing. Gage had to go through heroics
in order to keep from spilling his milk
his cherry jello from jiggling
out of its pudding dish.
"Would you just cut that out already.."
DeSoto complained. His tray had been
uneffected by the impact since he was the bigger
man in mass
of the two and had absorbed all
of it without ill effect.
"Quit slinking around
here as if you expect
a firing squad to pop outta nowhere."
"I'm not slinking around.. I'm
an eye out, that's all."
"Don't tell me, you don't want to run into Mike
Morton.." he pegged in irritation in a half whisper
so the surrounding hospital staff wouldn't overhear.
He offered peace by pulling out a chair
at a nearby table for Johnny first before grabbing
reversing another one for himself.
"I thought we had settled all that."
Look, Roy, I mean, he's bound
to show up looking for me sometime.."
"How do you know? You
haven't yet even talked
to the man."
Gage began to gesture pointedly. "Can't
we just ...sit
over there?" he pleaded half
"Where?" Roy said, irritated at the idea of
again when his stomach was complaining
Johnny pointed again and Roy looked over
his shoulder to the table his partner wanted.
Roy frowned. "There's no sun over there.
wouldn't be able to see your plate well
enough to eat from it if we ate over there. I'm
here. You can move if you like. Today,
I'm gonna be part chameleon and soak up
the daylight. Let's
just say that tower's rubbed off
a little too much on me. I suddenly find I
really like open spaces."
and he began to shovel
it in as only a hungry fireman could.
"Roy, would you jus--" And Gage
broke off when he
saw Dixie and Brice headed their way. "Oh, no..
He's bad enough.." But rather
than looking like he
was retreating, Johnny sat down next to Roy
and nervously positioned his arms
to look like he wasn't nervous.. He failed miserably
and Dixie McCall caught on right
"Oh, come on, Johnny. It's not that bad." Dixie grinned.
"Mike won't bite your head off.
I've been working on him these
last few weeks sharing with him just what you had to go
during the incident where Angie Morton was killed.
I even showed him your medical chart showing how
PO2 levels were because of those freon fumes." she
"Dixie!" Gage said
in mortification at that breach of confidentiality.
Johnny made a hushing face, but Brice seemed to
Craig just offered Dixie a third chair at Johnny and Roy's
table before he took
the last one and began arranging
his tray and silverware just so on the china blue
top. He even passed over the salt to the
head ER nurse so she could season her salad.
was beginning to relax about Dixie's
meddling admission when Craig Brice spouted off
instant support. "No paramedic could have been
expected to keep a clear head dealing with any rapid
death decision making processes with the marked
hypoxia you had during that crisis. I'll
stand by what I
read.." he said matter of factly.
Johnny nearly choked on his tuna. "What
this? Why is my medical chart suddenly everyone's
common property around here." he whined,
unconvincingly angry. "I thought there were rules
to protect my privacy that way.."
out a hand apologetically to Johnny
and set a warm grip on his forearm. "I'm
sorry, Johnny. But
Dr. Brackett felt that that was
the best way to defuse Mike from taking a legal
course of action
against you by spreading
around just what you had to work with. "
The color drained from Gage's
been doing what?"
"Nothing official, Gage.." Brice said. "So far, it
a meeting with Dr. Brackett, Morton and
myself concerning competency.."
Johnny threw down his
fork with a clatter and
jumped from his seat. "That's it! I'm going to
go talk ta Morton right
now. This is really getting
"Wait a minute, Junior, where do you think you're
"Gage, hold on a short moment, before you take
an action that you'll regret in the
"Johnny.. pipe down everyone's gonna stare."
They all said simultaneously.
It took all three of them to pull the distraught
back into his cafeteria seat.
"Shut up and eat." DeSoto said with finality,
back his fork and pulling away
the HT so Johnny couldn't leave.
"Don't think I can. I just
lost my appetite."
Johnny mumbled. He toyed with the food on
his plate, pushing it around while
steamy curls from his lunch waft away in the
"Why don't you
trust Dr. Brackett to manage
Doctor Morton about all this? You're not to blame
for what happened.."
"That's what I told him.." Roy agreed in exasperation.
"Only my half witted
partner here doesn't believe me."
"Wait a minute. Wait a minute.. Guys. Don't you
of this should be between just Mike
Morton and me?"
"And a pair of lawyers, Gage. Can't forget
Brice piped up, trying to interject a bit of
reality to the problem.
went even a paler shade of gray.
"Oh, Johnny. Knock it off. You did what you could.
the whole story from Hank Stanley when
he was here to see you two back then. Now, why
just sit back and let Kel handle all this?
It's his job to go to bat for his paramedics."
"And mine.." Craig piped up.
Somehow, Brice's admission didn't feel all that
and fuzzy to Johnny Gage like it could
have been. He just stuck magnet eyes on Craig
tongue tied comments of no import
while he twisted his brain around the convolutions of
Finally, Gage said something the others could
understand. "You mean,
Brackett's cool about
all this? That he'd know if I could be sued for
incompetency over ..over..
"He should know. He was handling your medical
calls that day." Dixie said
firmly. "You're just
going to have to trust your higher-ups to know
what's best for you in the
long run to patch
things between Morton and the courts before
this whole thing blows up out of
"That's what I'm afraid of.." Johnny whispered,
taking a bite of his suddenly
"I'm not in control here anymore." he said
in a way no one else heard.
the others ate and moved happily onto
other subjects, Johnny Gage suddenly felt like the
man in the world.
Johnny was heading out the cafeteria doors to|
rejoin Roy in the squad, when he overheard the
of nurses he usually targetted for-asking
out-on-a-date practice, speaking in animated voices
::That's what I can do.. Get a new date to cheer
myself up!:: Johnny thought smiling
"Did you hear he's going to do it?" said
one pixie like nursing student, to the
"Who's going to do what?" asked another.
Johnny started to head over to them
his best Johnny Gage suitor's
smile, when the next sentence floating
out to him from the entry
made him flatten against a shadowy wall.
"Why Morton, silly. He's going after a
paramedic who seriously let him down
on a run."
A third nurse gasped, her breath going
wide up in a whistle of shock. "No...
I feel sorry for whoever that paramedic
is. They're all so
"Yeah,.. looks like we'll have one less
working here by the end of the week."
They melted away to their cars, going
off shift while Johnny stood stunned
::A lawsuit? Oh my G*d.::
He barely remembered getting into
the squad with
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 00:18:37 -0700 (PDT)
"Jeff Seltun" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Rated PG for Graphic Content.. The Tiny Miracle
*Beep* Beep* Beep*.
"Here we go.." Gage said, just to
fill the heavy void in his mind
##Station 51. Woman down. 911766 Lander's
Way. 911766 Lander's Way. Cross street,
Buena Vista Blvd. Time Out : 10: 46.##
"Looks like the engine's going to beat
us there, Johnny."
Roy said as he
pulled into the drive of the hospital
and turned right under the walkway to
to the freeway. "Hope it's a medical.
Not a trauma. They don't have that
much for gear.."
were half way there when
the radio crackled, truck to truck.
##Engine 51 to Squad 51. We
a s-stabbing, with arterial
bleeding. What's your ETA?##
Gage didn't miss the odd tension
in his captain's voice. He immediately
frowned. "Now why would Cap
broadcast a medical update
the radio?" he said aloud.
"I don't know." Roy replied. "Let's
just get there first.
He rounded a turn and then rubbed
his lips in thought. "Lander's Way.
Now why does
that sound familiar to
"Gotta be a business with a street
address number that long."
concluded. "Turn left here." and
Gage thumbed the radio mic and
replied. "Engine 51. Our
##10-4. Be advised we have two
victims. Repeat two victims..##
they both heard the odd note
in Hank's voice even through the normal
tinny din of the open frequency.
Then another odd occurance happened.
They heard Cap calling out for another squad.
8? They're farther away than us.
What the h*ll?" Johnny wondered as he
listened to Brice and Bellingham
acknowledge the call.
"We'll know when we get there. Maybe
it's that new rule of one critical
Brackett was talking about during the last
meeting coming into effect a month early."
"That's right. I remember that. It was
Brackett and Brice's idea." Gage
"And I know Cap's good with
delegating tasks when he's got his hands
full. Even for the medical
"They've got two O2 tanks." Roy agreed.
"Those'll last well for them until we get
there with ours."
Johnny glanced at his watch and
scribbled a note in his book. "T-minus
minutes from arrival.."
Roy stepped on the accelerator.
Marco was getting sick behind a parked|
car a short distance away.
Chet's complexion was faring
Kelly looked up from the dressing he held
over the woman's swollen belly and
from the movement he was seeing
there. "What should I do, Cap? I don't
want to tip her over onto
her side to deal
with that nausea or this fluid'll gush
out and expose it more.." he said
with high stress.
Cap continued to whisper reassurances
to the half conscious woman on the
"Easy.. It's ok. Just keep breathing this in.
The rescue squad IS on its way here." he
said, holding a passive demand valve over
her face trying to ease the oxygen debt she
feeling due to her massive
hemorrhaging. ::I sure hope it's Brice who
gets here first..::
Just keep her on her back. I got
the suction here if she gets ill, ok, pal?
Just keep pressure
around that wound
without pressing down too much. Just
apply dressings enough to slow the
We have to keep any more
contamination from getting inside of her
my husband?" she moaned.
"I want to see him... Oh...hHHh."
"Don't talk right now. Please, just
Cap soothed, then he looked up with
a tight mouth. "Stoker! Any sign of
There's more blood over
here possibly from a second person,
by Marco. On second thought, never
mind. Go check on Lopez and see
how he's doing. We need help here.
She's waking up."
thief's gone, Cap. I just talked to a witness
over here who said he ran to the north with
purse. He must have mugged her when
she came out of the grocery store." Mike
nodded in agreement. "Probably
because she was pregnant. Go handle
Marco then get back here with
dressings. Also, we can at least set
up a burn sheet to get her off the ground.
a backboard and c-collar while
you're at it. We can start immobilizing her,
too, after we cut
these clothes off. But first,
get her covered up. There are too many
gawkers gathering here."
The sight of the engine and four firefighters
was indeed drawing a crowd from
mart and a coffee shop from
across the street. There was as yet, no
P.D. for crowd control. Hank
got on his
HT. "Squad Eight, Engine 51. What's
## Four minutes.##
Squad Eight. Our victim's regaining some
consciousness but is developing complications."
We're increasing our speed.##
came Brice's cool reply.
Cap wished he could tell his arriving
more but didn't want to run the risk for
safety reasons. ::It's bad enough as it is..::
A choking sound drew Hank's attention
downwards. "Maam?!" he shouted. "Can
you hear me?" The
began to heave as she tried to quell
sudden rising bile.
It caused some
amber amniotic fluid to run
from the gaping stab wound Chet was
managing. "Easy.. easy!" Kelly
"Don't move down here.You'll hurt yourself
Hank saw the woman's eyes
into her head as shock finally stole away her
consciousness. He tipped back her head
and looked into her mouth with practiced
cross scissor fingers. Quickly, he suction
out some welling emesis he
found there from the back of her throat
until the choking sounds were
When he looked up, he saw all three
of his men around him over the woman.
Now we'll get things done.::
Cap bent low to listen for sounds
of respirations. "She's still
Marco, get a resp rate after you're
through strapping her onto that long
Get another sheet over her
as soon as he's through. Her pulse's
weakening. It's 130." he said,
one monitoring finger on a deeply
sunk in carotid artery.
"Cap, I don't know about this." Chet said|
from where he was kneeling with his hold
around the stab
wound. "There's a lot
of air getting in around the baby. I'm getting
real worried here that I'm
not doing enough."
"Just hang on, pal. As long as she
doesn't lose any more amniotic fluid,
we're fine. The baby'll share the O2 she's
getting, through the umbilical cord." And he
up his care, starting to actively
ventilate the woman when her breathing
grew too shallow for
::Come on, Johnny, Roy. Get the lead out.::
Chet willed mentally. ::She's one
Cap looked up to see an arrowing squad
flying towards them from the east.
squad 8. ::Uh oh. Didn't want that to happen.::
"Stoker get set. Watch Roy carefully
when he gets here. And keep him away from
me. Gage's the only one allowed to handle
said, keeping up his vents on
"Regulations?" Marco asked.
All three were watching when Roy's
horrid cry of recognition exploded from
lips. Mike Stoker intercepted DeSoto's
desperate charge to get near his wife
and unborn child.
Gage almost dropped the gear boxes
and O2 he was carrying. "What?!"
He ran by
Stoker. "Don't you let go of
him.." he ordered. "No matter what he
does or says. Brice and Bellingham
will be here long before I get in over
Mike had brought Roy to his knees to|
keep him from getting into his crewmates'
way. He kept talking
to DeSoto, telling
him what was wrong and what they had
found on her.
in the abdomen?
The baby!!" Roy panicked. "I gotta
get over there."
"DeSoto. Stay put!"
"Or it's your job, pal. Understood?"
he said more softly, in sympathy.
nodded reluctantly, but finally
he stopped struggling with Stoker. He
tried to content himself
with trying to see
over the sheets to where Johnny, Chet,
Marco and Cap were crouched. He
barely make out the slight rise
and fall of Joanne's chest in between
the breaths Cap was giving
At a glance from Gage, Hank reported,
"She got sick once. And I already listened.
got into her chest. It's clear."
Gage sighed in relief. ::One hurdle
down. Let's see how far
we get with
the rest of things.:: Johnny was already
sweeping over Joanne's body in a rapid
"Only that one stab wound?"
he demanded of Kelly.
"Yeah, there's no exit wound.
It's coming out.." Chet
said in a tight whisper. "So's all the fluid
leaned in closer,
quickly pulling on a pair of sterile latex gloves
from an obstetrical trauma
kit. He nodded
for Marco to lift the sheet a little higher and
to place a penlight into his mouth
could shine it into the dark wound that way.
He could see Roy and Joanne's third
unborn child floating silently, without
independent movement, deep within,
with his naked eye.
::Oh, my g*d. Please be alive. Please.
Please..:: he begged mentally, and he
carefully to a limb he saw just
beneath the surface of inner skin surrounding
the torn uterus.
A tiny hand tightly gripped his
finger in reflex to his stroking of its palm instantly.
Johnny's eyes teared up in a relieving surge of |
glad discovery. "The baby's alive, Roy. Looks
the knife didn't get down that far. I'm not
seeing any bright arterial blood in here."
wilted in a relieved father's release
and Stoker let him go. "Th- Thank you."
he said glancing
up. Bright tears had
filled his eyes. "How's she doing, Johnny?"
Johnny freed the tiny hand
index finger and covered it with a
damp sterile saline gauze pad carefully.
This doesn't come off. Got it?"
"Clear as anything."
Johnny addressed his distraught partner.
"She's fine, Roy. I got pulses down
to the brachial level on both arms and
good bilateral femoral
pulses. Looks like
the knife didn't hit any major organs either.
I'm not smelling any bowel. Just
superior uterus here seems effected in the
central umbilical region.This laceration's
about four inches long but it's penetrating
clear through to the womb obliquely."
glanced lower and didn't find any
bloody show further down. "The birth
canal's intact, Roy. Thing's
real good." he sighed out loud. "All her
trauma seems to be extremely localized."
He peeled off his fluid stained gloves
and got out a blood pressure cuff.
"Ok, Chet. The bleeding's
Your job is to make sure the baby
doesn't poke through again, ok? Put
second pair of gloves and
maintain a firm barrier over the wound."
"I'm no nurse, Johnny.
I don't want
to hurt the baby." Kelly frowned.
"You won't, the baby'll move back
you shortly. It's not
uncommon for free movement this
late along, during a second trimester."
Roy was nodding his head in agreement
despite his numbing emotional fog. He
nodded every step
of the way, too, during
Johnny's biophone call to Rampart, at
every satisfactory aspect of his
examination results and vital signs report.
"....Rampart, it appears she's lost
800 cc's of blood to the outside and
about......" he added, lifting up the cut away
forgotten and shoved into a heap
behind Chet, to look more closely for a better
estimate of volume.
"...200 cc's of amniotic fluid
from what I'm seeing here." he said.
Kel's firm no nonsense
voice filled the air.
"51, start two I.V.'s Normal Saline and run
wide open until her B.P. comes
no circumstances are you to pack
the wound. I'd rather it drain freely. We'll
any major leakage when she arrives
and gets sent into surgery. Use no pain
medications on the
victim, at all. It might
further depress the baby's vital signs.
What are they, 51?"
read his notes. "Fetal pulse is 180
via stethoscope auscultation. Mother's
assisted, is 22 on 16 liters
"Good enough. Watch for fetal protrusions
such as free
limbs or the umbilical cord in
transit. Under no circumstances are you
to push any such extrusion
back into the
uterus. Just maintain space around the
area manually to keep good circulation
in the part."
"10-4, Rampart. So far, just an arm's been
visible, that only submerged, and
Over the radio, Dr. Morton, who had been
walking by, commented. "No doubt
how Gage found out the baby was still
alive. The grasping reflex.."
Brackett re-thumbed the talk button.
"Keep her warm, keep her legs
and get her and baby in
here a.s.a.p. Tell the ambulance
driver to avoid potholes if at all
Oh, and don't forget to
apply an occlusive dressing over the
wound to slow the amniotic fluid
you're experiencing. That's irreplaceable
at this stage of the game."
Treat for shock.
and use an air tight dressing."
Right then, Squad Eight came
a corner, screeching
efficiently to a halt and Brice
and Bellingham got out. "Rampart,
squad has arrived to
help me keep her and her wound stable.
Our ETA is approximately fifteen
The Mayfair's here."
Gage added when a second set of sirens
grew in rising pitch, from the distance.
Roy was finally allowed to sit by|
Joanne's head, slightly to one
side so he didn't get in the way
the oxygen being delivered to his still
wife and very active baby. Already, the
experienced when he first got
to the scene, was lifting.
"I don't suppose you saw the baby's
over there." Roy quipped, trying to
smile and he gently caressed Joanne's
pale face around Cap's
Johnny shook his head. "Sorry about that.
Your baby decided to not
that way, Pally. Relax.. They're both in
good hands. Mine. I promised you that
I'd be here."
"And you are.." Brice said, kneeling, as
he snatched Johnny's notepad from
hands to read what Gage had written
His speculative eye cast over Joanne
his head bobbed in satisfaction
over the progress of her course of treatment
thus far. Craig waved
over the ambulance
attendants. "We're ready here. Looks like
everything's set and good to go."
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 00:52:00 -0700
Subject: Bull in a China Shop..
"Hey..." Dixie gently
woke her two favorite
paramedics where they slumped in their
seats outside the surgical family
Roy and Johnny both sat up, rubbing sleepers
out of their eyes quickly and they
to get their voices back from the depths of
"It's over. The surgery
was a success. Dr.
Brackett managed to seal up your wife's
womb without losing any more amniotic
Joanne's just been extubated and is resting
comfortably. So's the baby on the sonograms,
Joe says. And there's a one hundred percent
chance she'll be able to carry your baby
all the way
to full term for a normal delivery."
"When can I see her, Dix?" Roy asked.
"Oh, in about
an hour or so. By then,
she'll be awake enough for visits.."
McCall grinned. "I gotta go. My shift's
"See ya Dixie..And, thanks for everything."
DeSoto said after her as she padded
down the hall towards the elevators
in the semi darkness of the nighttime hospital
maybe this's is gonna fix
everything." Gage said softly.
"What's gonna fix what?" Roy
"This whole rescue and how
Morton feels about me being the one
who headed it.
He can't possibly
hold malice towards me now."
"Oh, that again?" Roy said rubbing tired
as he almost began drifting
off to sleep right where he was
in his waiting room chair.
if he sees how well I handled
Joanne and the baby on paper.." he paused.
"With you, of course..
that he'll have
no desire to press charges about how
I handled his sister that day. He
in the room with Brackett for
this one. I know. I heard him."
"Who knows what that man thinks.
I don't think anyone around Rampart
can say much about him personally."
Roy admitted. "So how can
how he'll react with any certainty?"
"Yeah, guess you're right.." Gage
sinking into a depression once
again that outshown the joy he
felt meeting Roy's unborn son or
daughter peeking out of the womb.
He thought again about what he
had overheard from the student
on his way out the ER doors the day before.
::Man.. Maybe I SHOULD bow out while
still have my pride left. I can't take this
anymore. Gonna have to do something about
I'm embarrassed publicly before
everyone in a courtroom.::
Somewhere halfway to home, Johnny
made his final decision.
It was the next day after a harrowing
fire call, at the resupplying
"Gage, I wanna talk to you."
"About what..?" Johnny said,
stiffening up at
::Here it comes, the ultimatum.::
"About missing critical vital signs
a patient that we both took care
"On who?" Johnny blinked in surprise.
"I didn't miss any vitals signs on the baby."
he said fading from neutral into a tone
which carried a tinge of irritation.
"This here says you did. There's a blank
out at me. Caused me
and my receptionist a few headaches
transcribing my ER report this morning."
"Give me that.." Johnny said, snatching
up the run sheet xerox from Mike's hands
where the young doctor
"I did take a fetal pulse. Apically.."
"I got a rate of 180."
"Where? I don't see any notation
about it on Joanne's run sheet.
It isn't anywhere on here."
Johnny just gaped like a fish..
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