Sunday 3 February 2013
‘The EMTs tried to resus the kid as they were bringing him in, but he’s gone,’ the male nurse ran alongside the gurney as it was deftly manoeuvred through the congested corridors into the emergency department. A team consisting of a female doctor and six nurses, including the nurse who had given the explanation of the boy’s ride in, bustled their way into the first empty emergency cubicle they could find. It was a tight fit, but being well practised in the art of fitting many people into triage, the team successfully positioned themselves at the points most suited to achieve optimal performance.
Vincenzo Lucciano’s limp little body was stretched out on the EMT gurney. It only took two team members to transfer him to the emergency department gurney, his slight frame not as heavy in the dead weight department as other customers they’d dealt with during their shift.
‘I don’t care if the EMTs have declared that there’s no life, get on resus. We’ve gotta give this a shot,’ said the doctor. Every member of her team morphed in to action and began the resuscitation process.
Fifteen minutes later, after every option had been tried, and after every option had failed, Doctor Felicity Evans declared Vinnie deceased. It was not something that anyone ever got used to, losing a patient, but it seemed somehow worse when the patient was a child. A life that would never be lived to the fullest, potential that was wiped from the face of the earth, and parents and family who had to be told of the terrible fate that awaited them for the rest of their lives – a life lived without their child, without their sibling.
She left the cubicle and headed back through the corridors and out into the emergency department’s cold and sterile waiting room. There was no shortage of loved ones and significant others awaiting news tonight. The catastrophic explosions that had occurred at Blackwood Research Facility Five had made sure of that. Every eye in the waiting room was focussed on her, anticipating news of their loved ones, but Felicity made contact with only two pairs of eyes looking her way. She knew Carlo and Anna Lucciano well. They had been classmates all through school, losing contact when Felicity chose to head to New York to practice medicine after graduation.
Carlo and Anna stood, flanked by Mary Pullman and her son Rory, arms knotting in a protective circle around them. Anna’s face was stained with tears. She had feared the worst, and knew that her old friend was about to confirm that Vincenzo had not been able to be revived. Felicity dropped her eyes to the floor as she made her way to the familiar faces. This was the part of her job that she desperately hated.
‘I’m sorry,’ Felicity whispered. They were the two words that neither Anna nor Carlo had wanted to hear. They were the two words that turned Anna from a civilized woman to a primal, howling beast, her legs giving way under the weight of her grief. Carlo was barely able to hold himself up, let alone his wife, and the two of them slowly dropped to the floor.
‘Was there anything that I could have done?’ Mary Pullman’s voice grabbed Felicity’s attention from the grieving parents in front of her.
‘Ah, no, Mary, there wasn’t a thing you could have done,’ she replied. ‘Look, Anna, Carlo, I know this is a shitty time to bring this up, but I was hoping that you’d allow me to run some tests on Vinnie. Maybe something will show up in his blood or somewhere else in his system that will give us some answers to why this happened to him.’
‘What are you saying?’ Carlo’s voice was hoarse.
‘It’s not normal that a boy as healthy as Vinnie . . . he didn’t have any history of seizures, and quite frankly, I’ve never seen anything like it. He has a blood nose and then goes into what amount to terminal seizures. Carlo, there’s something wrong with this picture,’ Felicity replied. Mary, now fearing for the safety of her own boy, turned to Rory and grabbed him by the shoulders.
‘Rory, tell me, did you and Vinnie take anything? Did you eat or drink anything?’
He quickly looked from his mother to Carlo and Anna to Doctor Evans and back to his mother. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead, a dead giveaway to Mary that the boys had been up to something.
‘Sweetie, I won’t be angry with you. Just please tell me,’ Mary pleaded.
‘N-n-n-no, we didn’t take anything,’ Rory said. Mary bent down and hugged him as tightly as she could. If they didn’t take anything, then in her mind, Rory was not at risk of going the same way as his friend.
‘But,’ Rory continued, ‘Vinnie found a piece of glass. It came down from the sky just after one of the explosions. We watched it fall out of the sky and he, he picked it up. He dropped it real quick though ‘cause he said it was hot. And then when he looked at his fingers to see if he’d got burned, that’s when we saw that he musta cut himself on the glass.’
Mary released her son, pushing him far enough away so she could look in his eyes.
‘Did you touch it?’ she asked him but he did not reply. ‘DID YOU TOUCH IT, RORY?’ she screamed. The boy shook his head then brushed away the tears that had begun to fall.
‘Are you sure, Rory? Are you sure? Show me your hands,’ Mary demanded. She didn’t wait for him to offer up his hands, instead snatching them from his sides. She turned them over again and again, examining them for any sign of a wound.
His confession spurred Felicity in to action.
‘Carlo, yes or no? Do I have your permission to conduct some tests on Vinnie’s body?’
‘Yes,’ Anna replied without hesitation. ‘Yes. Do whatever you need to do. If this is because of the Blackwood shit, then I want them to pay.’ She looked up at Felicity who was nodding in agreement.
‘I’ll do what I can, Anna. And I promise if Blackwood has even the slightest involvement in Vinnie’s death, I’ll find the evidence for you.’
Sitting with her back to the doctor and the dead boy’s family and friend, Eden Gross, investigative journalist for the New York Times shut off the voice recorder on her iPhone. The discussion she’d conveniently overheard would put yet another nail in the corporate coffin of Blackwood Research and Development. Now she had to figure out how to get the dead boy’s family and the doctor onboard with her investigation to dethrone Terence Blackwood and expose his corporation for the demon that it was.
. . . To be continued . . .