Jonah Ferris nodded, chewing his bottom lip thoughtfully. “You think you can fix it?”
Phil took a deep breath and raised his eyebrows, “Not sure. Look at this,” he said pointing at the x-ray with a frown, “Bone’s shattered all over the place. You can see at least four complex fractures. He’s gonna be in pain for the rest of his life.”
“Come on Phil, kid already lost one leg,” Jonah muttered, removing the picture from the screen.
“The hell did he do? Jump off a building or something?”
“Nope,” Jonah answered, “Six hundred pounds of metal will do that to your legs.”
“Wait a minute; is this the hypothermia case they’re all talking about?” Phil watched him with a frown.
Jonah scoffed, since it was the first trauma case in three weeks, everyone seemed to be interested. That and the fact that it was a Backstreet Boy caught people’s attention. “How’s he doing?”
“He’s on CPB,” Jonah answered, placing another picture on the screen, “How about this one?”
“Hold on, are we discussing orthopedics on a CPB patient? Are you insane?”
“Yes we are, and yes, maybe I am. Also, I am incredibly bored. I only have one patient,” Jonah said, rolling his eyes.
“Oh yeah, I forgot! This is your last shift, isn’t it?”
Phil asked, not waiting for an answer, “You do realize the survival rate of hypothermia cases requiring bypass, right? I thought you’ve been a doctor long enough.”
“The kid’s holding himself pretty well. It’s impressive. So just humor me, okay?” the older doctor pointed at the screen impatiently.
“Alright,” Phil sighed, studying the picture for a minute. “This the amputation?”
“Yeah,” Jonah answered, “I thought you’ve been in orthopedics long enough to be able to see that.”
“You’re funny,” Phil commented annoyed, “Looks very neat, shouldn’t be hard to clean up. You know; if he actually will be stable enough for surgery.”
“I’ve got a good feeling about this,” Jonah nodded.
“You just want your last case to have a positive outcome. It doesn’t work like that, Jo.”
“Always the pessimist.”
“Excuse me? Doctor Ferris?” Jonah turned around to see Martha Stenner in the doorway.
He raised his eyebrows questioningly, “Yes?”
“Brian… I mean, the hypothermia patient, he’s reached the temperature that we were aiming for…”
“Really?” Jonah commented, smirking meaningfully at the orthopedist next to him, “Already?”
Martha nodded, looking from Phil back to Jonah uneasily. “Yeah, he’s… they’re gonna get him off the bypass. It’s the moment of truth, so to speak.”
Jonah kept grinning as he followed the nurse out of the x-ray room, turning at the doorway to meet Phil’s gaze, “Like I said… Always the pessimist.”
The smile lingered all the way down to the ICU. The room was flooded with hospital staff. Jonah could distinctively hear the whining, continuous sound of a heart monitor and frowned. Maybe it had been wishful thinking to hope for another sound than a flat line after all. “How’s it going?”
“Not good,” Maria McNally answered, irritated, “How’s it look like it’s going? We can’t get a pulse.”
“How long has he been off the machine?” Jonah asked, stepping closer in order to help.
“Almost five minutes. He’s pushing it,” McNally mumbled. Henry was rapidly giving chest compression, his face reddened in concentration.
“Did you give him adrenaline?” Jonah questioned, a sinking feeling of hopelessness in his stomach.
“Two amps, no change,” McNally sighed.
“What about epinephrine?”
“This isn’t my first day, Ferris. I know what I’m doing,” the younger doctor answered.
Jonah sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose to be able to think clearly, “Did you shock him?”
McNally rolled her eyes, “Yes, twice.”
“Do it again, charge to one-fifty.” Dr. Ferris said sternly.
Henry looked up and nodded, taking the paddles from Martha’s waiting hands and pressing them to the singer’s chest. “One-fifty. Clear.”
Jonah held his breath as he saw the patient’s body jump slightly. He immediately turned his attention to the monitors, studying them intently. From the corner of his eye, he saw McNally shaking her head, as she was also watching the screen. There was a single beep, then the whining alarm continued.
“Damnit, do it again. At two hundred this time.”
He sensed the hesitation in Henry’s gaze as the paramedic threw McNally a look before complying.
“Charging two hundred. Clear.”
The singer’s body jumped again, a bit higher this time and Jonah waited, his own heart beating fast. He wasn’t sure if it was the fact that this would be his last case, or something else entirely, but he found it incredibly hard to let go. Maybe because letting go would mean that he would let go of the entire world of medicine.
He wasn’t ready for that, no matter what hospital policy said.
His shoulders slumped when there was no change on the monitors. He felt McNally watching him intently and swallowed as he cleared his throat, “Alright, let’s give him another dose of epi.”
“We could be doing this for hours and it wouldn’t change anything, Ferris, you know it! What is it with you today?” McNally snorted.
He ignored her, taking the amp from Martha before he inserted the needle in the singer’s upper arm. “Damnit kid, come on…” he grumbled, more to himself than to anyone else, “Don’t do this now, come on.”
“You should call it, Jonah,” Henry said softly.
“Not yet, charge to two-fifty, Henry.”
“I said, not yet! Two-fifty!”
Henry shook his head, but did what he was told, “Charging to two-fifty,” he said in a monotonous voice, “Clear.”
The man’s body jerked up from the mattress, only to fall back a split-second later. A beep. Then a flat line. “Damnit.”
“It’s over. Call it, Ferris. Now.”
Jonah sighed, letting his head hang in defeat. He stayed silent for a moment, listening to the unstoppable high whine of the monitor. Then he nodded.
“Fine. That’s it,” he mumbled, watching the clock, “Time of death, 10.25 am.”