1: Walk-ins WelcomeA Chapter by Rawhide
1: Walk-ins Welcome
"Jim? This is David Thorsun over at County General.
Can you send a deputy over here right away?
We have a DOA in the emergency room.
It's kind of urgent."
The night attending physician thought about what he had said when he called for a deputy. Saying that it was "kind of urgent" had been a considerable understatement. They were a small hospital in a small county, but this wasn't the first time a DOA had graced their emergency room. What made this one different was that this DOA was still moving.
It always seems to take a long time for someone to arrive when you are waiting for them. When the deputy walked into the emergency room about ten minutes after the call came in, the doctor would have guessed that it had been at least half an hour or more. Before the deputy could ask about the DOA, the doctor started talking.
"Deputy," he said, "I'm Dr. David Thorsun. I called in the DOA. Thanks for coming."
The deputy had his thumbs looped in his pockets with his hands on his waist and pulled one hand free long enough to shake the doctor's hand before returning it to its place. The doctor recognized this as the textbook stance that all of the deputies took when they were taking their first DOA call. He suspected that it was intended to convey a certain level of experience. The stance seemed to say, "been here, done this". The deputy's eyes said otherwise.
The deputy replied, "What's up Doc?" The deputy smiled at this. He was obviously pleased with his own quick wit.
David ignored the joke though a little part of him wanted to inform the deputy how many times he had heard the same joke. In all honesty, he had lost count and couldn't tell him accurate numbers anyway. The doctor was all about accuracy in details; a point his wife Angelina liked to bring up time and time again. Instead he noted that the deputy's nametag said Dep. Raymond Sauders and wrote it and the deputy's time of arrival on his notepad.
The doctor started at the beginning, "As I told the dispatcher, we found a DOA in the emergency room. Time of discovery was 11:47 PM. There was no pulse and pupils were unreactive to light."
The deputy chimed in, "Hence the DOA call."
"Exactly," the doctor continued. "Furthermore, we noted that she was nude and her face and upper torso were covered with blood. We were going to move her to a room and leave her for your investigation."
The deputy interrupted, "Were going?"
The doctor replied, "Yes. The nurse brought a gurney over, and the girl's eyes moved in the direction of the nurse. I shined the light in her eyes again, and she looked at me.
I say that she looked at us, but I'm not sure she was actually seeing us. Her pupils were still unreactive to light. She didn't seem to notice small movements, but she looked in the directions of large movements. Her eyes were glassy, and her face was blank and unemotional."
"So she's not DOA?" the deputy asked.
The doctor ignored the question and continued, "She still had no pulse however. We put her on the gurney and took her to an exam room. I completely re-examined her. No pulse. Pupils were still unreactive to light. We checked her blood pressure and breathing, and we were 0 for 4.
Everything I know about medicine says that she was dead, except for the fact that she was moving. Then she had a tonic-clonic seizure. Her body stiffened raising her torso up off of the gurney followed by full-body convulsions. I gave her 2mg of Ativan and the seizure slowed to a stop. Then we strapped her down to the gurney in case she had another seizure."
The deputy asked, "What's a tonic-clonic seizure?"
David explained, "It's a full body seizure that starts with evey muscle in the body tensing as hard as they can followed by rapid waves of the muscles contracting and relaxing. This is the kind of seizure generally associated with epilepsy. It used to be called gran mal seizures or in less kind terms as an epileptic fit.
A seizure like that is so hard on a body that it usually leaves the person gasping for breath. She wasn't breathing at all."
The deputy butted in, "Did she have any more seizures?"
"No," the doctor said, "but it was a good thing we strapped her down. After the seizure, if anyone came close to her, she reacted violently. She seemed to be jerked her arms in our direction like she was trying to grab us. If we got close to her head, she opened her mouth wide like she was trying to bite us.
Her eyes were still glassy but were much more active now. She followed us every where we went in the room."
The deputy thought about what the doctor was telling him. It sounded a bit fantastic. It also sounded like the doctor didn't know how to examine a body very well because dead people don't move around and have seizures. At least not in Custer Falls, they don't. Maybe in New York City the dead got up and did all kinds of freaky s**t; he had no way to know what happens in cities on the other side of the country. But here in Custer Falls, dead people did what they had been doing since the town was founded. They just lay there no matter what you did to them.
Finally, the deputy asked, "What kind of injuries does she have?"
The doctor replied, "No injuries. We couldn't find a mark on her."
"But the blood. What about that?" the deputy asked.
The doctor said, "It's not hers. At least I don't think it is. We cleaned it off and checked her for signs of trauma. We couldn't find any. I saved what we could so you could have it tested. We put the bloody cloths we cleaned her with in a plastic bio-hazard bag. It's at the nurse's station.
We swabbed the inside of her mouth too. This was before the seizure. I wouldn't have tried it after."
The deputy asked, "Why her mouth?"
The doctor continued, "Well, like I said before, the blood was on her face. More specifically, it was around her mouth. She looked like the blood had run down to her torso from her mouth. As I suspected, the blood was in her mouth. I found some pieces of tissue when I swabbed it. It looks like skin. Probably human. And considering that she had no signs of trauma, I'm pretty sure it's not her own.
We have those samples at the nurse's station too."
"Okay, okay," the deputy said. "So what do we have here? Can I see the body ... err girl, that is?"
A loud crash of breaking glass came from the direction of the emergency entrance.
© 2010 Rawhide
Dead on Arrival
Maple Valley, WA
AboutHe puts his quill to parchment to preserve his story. Eons from now, no one will be able to fathom the depths of the suffering he felt nor the expanse of the suffering he caused. He will be villified,.. more..