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      Page Six

Detello, following behind them, glanced up and
saw the five children that managed to get out
of the wreck unscathed. They looked older
than their years. One, almost looked like
DeSoto's son from where he stood, numb and
confused in a muddy pool by the side of the road.

Detello gave him a small smile he hoped would
be reassuring and offered the glassy eyed youngster
a salute off his crusty helmet's rim. His smile faded
when the boy didn't grin back.  ::So many have died
today. How is this going to effect us?:: he thought.
::I was a medic for three years and I've never seen
a run as bad as this. Please.. g*d. Make us forget
the details of this one, fast...::

It took twelve minutes to get to the hospital.

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From : "patti keiper" <>  
Subject :[EmergencyTheaterLive] The Breaking Point..  
Date : Sun, 12 Jan 2003 08:29:28 +0000  
Dr. Morton opened the ambulance doors to receive
the two gurneys from Roy and Johnny.
"We'll take the boy into Treatment One, Gage.
DeSoto, how's Lopez?"

"Fine, doc. Once we got those wet clothes off
he started to warm up. He's fully time and place
oriented; never lost it and there's still no signs
of pulmonary edema." Roy reported.

"Good. Dixie has Treatment Two set up for him
with Dr. Early. Stay with him."


" DeSoto. Carry out my orders." he snapped.
Then he said more gently. "I won't keep you in
the dark about Chris, Roy. Know that as a promise.
But you know the regulations.. "

Roy grumbled, reciting.."No treatment contact is
allowed at all in a hospital setting for anyone
who's kin of a victim. I know that doc." he
said as they rapidly wheeled their two patients
inside Rampart through the emergency doors.

Morton angled his dark head."We'll let
you see him once we've determined he's truly
stable and only after he's been fully treated."

"Doc.. I don't want to leave him.."

Chet opened the door of the squad he had driven
in and jumped out of the seat. The plastic sheet
he had used to keep mud off its upholstery had
dried to his back and legs and he hastily peeled
it off, leaving it on the hood. He hurried past
where Morton and Roy where debating. "Roy,
just hush and let the man do his job.
I'll be your eyes in there FOR you man."

Morton looked up from his quick exam of Chris's
eyes as they walked inside the hospital.
"Why are you planning on following us, Kelly?
There's nothing wrong with you..."
Morton challenged.

"Oh, gee. Didn't Gage tell you? He and I were
sandwiched in debris pretty good when the hill
came down on us. I might keel over any second,
doc." he said factitiously.

For once, Johnny backed him up by keeping a straight
face to support his fast talking job on Morton.

"Is that a fact......"
Mike sighed in resignation, knowing he couldn't stop
anyone ELSE who wanted in on current news about
a coworker's family member's medical status.
He surprised himself by not retorting further at Chet
as he, Gage, Chris and an ambulance attendant,
got the longboarded boy transferred to the large
room's exam table.

Kelly shouted before the door closed on Roy's
face. "I'll be right out and I'll meet you in
Marco's room with an update, DeSoto!"

"I'l..l..  h..o..l..d..  y..o..u..  t..o..  t..h..a..t, C..h..e..t."
came Roy's muffled retort through the door.

Kelly gingerly held up defensive hands in
appeasement and backed away self consciously
from Roy's angry voice to carry out his
promise to him. He strode to the foot of
Chris's bed and quietly watched his medical
care take place.

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"Chris.. the man who's poking and prodding
you is Dr. Morton. He'll take really good
care of you.." Johnny introduced quickly.

"Hi, Dr. Morton.."

"Hello..." Mike answered. "The nurse to my right
is Carol Evans."

"Hi Ms. Evans."

"Hi Chris.." she answered. "Warm enough?"

"Uh huh.."

Carol Evans smoothly moved Chris's IV to a
pole and switched around his O2 supply to a wall
port while Gage helped Morton expose Chris's leg

"He still tachycardic?" Morton asked.

Gage was about to reply when a voice piped
up from tiny form bundled inside the longboard.
"Yeah..." Chris said firmly. "I'm 140."

Johnny grinned at Morton's surprised look and
the dark skinned doctor said. "You won't mind if
I confirm your findings on an EKG, son?"

"It's what dad would do..." Chris agreed.

"Is that so.." Morton said, casting amused eyes at
everyone in the room. "Well you're absolutely right
young fella. That IS the next thing we'll do." Morton
smiled. "You're a very smart young boy.. How'd
you come to learn so much?"

"Classes. I hang out when dad recertifys or when
he's gotta teach the new FD trainees to become

"You do?" Chet asked surprised.

"Uh huh.." Chris told him. "It's fun.. Sometimes
they use me to practice their dressings and neck/back
immobilizing. Last month, I was a play victim in a fake
airjet crash at LAX."

Chet Kelly was very thoughtful when he heard what
Chris had accomplished and what he had learned.

"So, you wanna be a medic when you grow up?" Morton
asked, palpating Chris's abdomen for tenderness.

"Nah,.. I wanna be an architect like my grandpa. I'll just
keep what I learn now handy for when I have my own
kids. You know how much trouble we can get into at my
age." Chris said wisely.

Johnny practically burst with mirth and pride at that
little gem coming from his partner's first born.

Chris's worldly personality had finally charmed Dr.
Morton. "Son, I can't believe you'd EVER get that way."
Morton said, leaning close to his head with a confidential
smiling whisper.

Chris motioned with a crooking finger, and
when the young doc had come closer, he
whispered into Morton's ear.
"I sometimes do. But it's my sister who always
starts it."

Morton patted Chris on the shoulder. " Yeah?
Well she's not here right now to work her mischief,
so you can let your guard down. We're going to get some
xrays of your leg to confirm non fracture injury
to that thigh and knee and if I like your pictures,
we'll see about getting you free of those straps
and that C-collar."

"Fair enough. I'm tired of being strapped up
like a mummy. What after that?"

Oh,.. let me see.." Morton sighed, tapping a finger
on his lips. "Most likely, since you're doing so well,
it's up to surgery for a repair job. How does that

"Like I'm not going to enjoy it too much. Don't
think I wanna go."

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"Ice cream after.." Chet promised.

"Ok, ok, ok.. I'll go. But make sure
the gas man doesn't give me the stuff that makes
me sick afterwards." Chris said, watching his Uncle
Gage tape EKG patches onto his chest gravely.
"I watched my sister puke for an hour after she
had her tonsils out.."

"I'll work out a deal with him.." Morton said,
with a wink and nod. Then he turned on the EKG and
studied Chris's rapid heartbeat on the live screen.
For a cross reference, he got a paper strip reading, too.
"Hmmm. " he said after a minute or so..
"Just simple sinus tach here, Gage." he mumbled.

"That's what we figured, even just listening apically."
Johnny admitted.

Then more loudly, Morton looked up.
"Guess what Chris? Your EKG's telling me ....
that you're just ...thirsty..." he concluded to his
small patient, setting hands on his hips.

"Thirsty?" and a serious puzzlement filled
the young boy's face. "I don't think I am.."
Chris said with amazement. "I haven't been
playing any softball today."

"You're forgetting that leg cut of yours. You
must have bled some while you were still
buried in the mud. Most likely, with all the
excitement going on, you weren't even aware
of it."

"Oh. I WAS scared a lot, doctor. But Detello,
Uncle Johnny, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Lopez and dad,
found me and then I wasn't afraid any more
after that."

"Good.." Mike soothed. "You're doing fine
here, too. You're very calm."

Chris DeSoto's face fell into a serious
expression. "So, Dr. Morton...."

"Umm hmmmm." Mike replied, looking into the boy's
ears for liquids other than mud with an otoscope.

"You say I lost some fluid vul...vel...."

"Volume.." Morton completed. "A bit..
About as much as three soda cans, I suspect."
Mike straightened up on his exam stool
and wheeled it around so he could recheck
a pedal beat in Chris's effected leg and to
test range of motion in the swollen knee.

"And that's why my heart's working harder
right now?" the child said, carefully thinking.

"Yep." Johnny said. "You nailed it, Chris."

The tiny boy's muddy face furrowed as he thought
about his situation."Then shouldn't those drops
be going faster?" Chris said pointing at his IV
hanging near his head.

Kelly and Gage laughed when Morton sputtered
as he told Nurse Evans to increase the flow into
the drip chamber.  They immediately piped down
when Mike glared at them in offense.

Chris was oblivious to the innocent commotion
he caused, suddenly very interested in the great
Xray machine wheeling into his exam room.

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Marco Lopez was raised semi sitting on his gurney
beneath a pile of heated blankets. The torn, ripped
field oxygen mask had been replaced with an in
house cannula on low flow. Doctor Early was carefully
listening to Lopez's breath sounds through the
front side of his chest.
"Take a deep breath. ......
And another one.... Good.." the doctor encouraged.

Then he thoughtfully pulled off his stethoscope.
"I'm not hearing anything abnormal
here, Marco. How do you feel?"

"Fine.." the fireman replied.
Dr. Early began examining his ribs and abdomen,
and Lopez flinched and caught his breath,
when Joe found a band of tenderness around his
diaphram. "Except there. Just a little sore."

"Roy, I thought you said he was uninjured." Joe
remarked looking up at DeSoto standing near
Lopez's head.

"He isn't injured. I think he's just a little tender
because Johnny had to clear his throat a bit
when we first got him free."
Roy said timidly, crossing his arms over his
elbows, nervously.



Joe felt all over other areas of Marco's abdomen
but found nothing else wrong. "Most likely,
this is just the typical bruising from that kind of maneuver.
Marco, does it hurt when I do this?" Dr. Early asked as he
prodded and pressed on his liver and spleen.

"Not much.. Hardly at all."

"Hmph.." and he put his stethoscope back into
his ears.

Roy and Chet and Marco all waited in silence.

Joe sat back on his seat after listening to Marco's
bowel sounds. "Everything sounds normal. So, that's
probably what it is. Roy, was his orthostatic BP,
when you checked it last, wide spread?"

"Not appreciably. It didn't sink into the basement if
that's what you're looking for.. Hardly moved ten
millibars, systolically or diastolically."

Joe's face lost his doctoring look and melted
into a casual bent. "Now I'm convinced. "
And he sighed in relief.. "You're a lucky man Lopez.
Mud inhalation has a tendency to cause a nasty
case of pneumonia. And both your lungs are completely
clear. But, I'd like to ask you just a few questions
to put my own mind at ease."

"Ok, doc." Marco nodded.

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 Click the Resuscitator to go to Page Seven :)

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