Wednesday 11:45 p.m. Emergency Department
Dr. Martin’s face appeared around the door. “Is this where I am needed?”
A sigh of relief expelled into the room only to be sucked back in when a young man followed Dr. Martin in. Danny Turner.
“Yes,” said Dr. Silverman. He and Jill were putting the bed back together in preparation of getting Mrs. Turner’s legs out of the stirrups when Dr. Baker barged into the room with his hair falling onto his forehead.
“Wait a minute. I want to exam the mother.”
“Okay,” said Dr. Silverman. Jill stepped back.
Dr. Baker looked at Jill. “Gloves.”
Jill procured the box of exam gloves for him. Dr. Baker snapped them on and said, “Carol. It’s Dr. Baker down here. I’m going to examine you.”
Carol bugged her eyes open and released an “ouch” in reply. Jill kept her head down. A glance passed between Dr. Silverman and Jill. Dr. Silverman turned away and joined Dr. Martin and Jessica at the infant warmer.
Dr. Martin looked up from the baby. “Nothing to do here except comfort the parents.”
Jessica bent under the warmer and came back with a diaper, knit cap, and receiving blanket. With experienced hands, she slipped the diaper and cap on the baby, wrapped him in the receiving blanket and handed him to Dr. Martin.
“Thank you, Jessica.” The dead baby looked almost normal and much more appealing. He snuggled the baby in the crook of his arm, looked at the parents, and headed toward them.
Jill took one look and went to the head of the bed to be by the mother. Dr. Baker noticed he was alone. “I need help.”
Jill didn’t even look up at him. “Just stop for a moment.” Dr. Baker looked at Jill incredulously.
Jessica took a position standing level to the father.
Somberly, Dr. Martin started talking to the parents. “Your baby didn’t make it. There was nothing anyone could have done about it.” Dr. Martin held the baby away from himself between Danny and Carol.
On first glance, the baby looked normal. On second glance, the hideous truth became glaringly apparent. The dark dusky color of his skin and the flatness of the stocking cap gave Danny a pause. He pulled the cap off slowly. “Nawww.” Danny looked away, turned his back on his infant baby. Jessica watched the muscles on his back rippling, tensing, not relaxing. He seemed to be wrestling with himself.
Carol reached her hand out and touched the infant’s cold fist. “Was it a boy or a girl?”
“Boy. His head just didn’t develop the right way.”
Danny turned to his wife. His face was red. “What did you do?”
Carol’s face crumpled. “I …I did everything I was told to do.”
“Take it easy,” said Peter Newton to Danny. “She didn’t do anything wrong and you didn’t either. It just happens. It’s nobody’s fault.” Peter’s words calmed Danny. He took his wife’s hand. All eyes turned to Dr. Baker.
Nonplussed, Dr. Baker said, “She had a normal pregnancy.” He shrugged his shoulders dismissively. He continued with Jessica in getting Carol’s legs out of the stirrups and covering her up. He failed to mention the “booster” tablets, which had been in the prenatal vitamins he had given her. It didn’t matter now. It wouldn’t change the course of events or make the baby alive and well. Why rock the boat?
“She’ll need to be observed like a normal delivery, but I’ll have her admitted to the postoperative women’s unit. I’ll write her orders. Can you take care of the paperwork on the baby?” said Dr. Baker to Dr. Martin.
“Yes, no problem.” Dr. Martin turned back to Carol and Danny. “Would you like to hold your son, so that you can say good-bye?”
“Yes.” The Turner’s answered in unison.
“I want to bury my baby,” said Carol. Danny looked in askance at Dr. Martin.
“There is no problem with that. I’ll be glad to help,” said Dr. Martin. “Jessica, can you help me?”
“No problem,” said Jess.