– Patient Representative –
Vincent was feeling a lot better today, as Dr. Chadman had advised. The black teen lying in the other bed with a white sheet covering him, not so. Fishel passed away in the middle of the night. The unexpected death came quickly. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Litman, got the call about 3am. Crying and shouting woke Vincent as he watched a growing number of family members coming into the room. There was more crying, hugging, and angry discussions about the situation before transporters moved him to another room.
“I was sleeping.” Vincent protested.
“Why don’t they get another room?” he complained.
The last thing Vincent remembered about the Litman’s was eavesdropping on something about planning the interment within 24 hours in accordance with Jewish faith and traditions. Then they were going to Shiva somebody, maybe the doctor responsible.
“Damn! That Erkle looking boy was a Jew? Hey Craig, bet they got a lawyer on retainer already,” he told the transporter after reading his name tag. The other guy helping remembered to take his ID tag off before entering the room. Word was going around that once Vincent got your name he’d make up something you did wrong and report it. Familiar with his rantings, they ignored him as they rolled the bed slowly to an empty room down the hall. Turning the lights to dim they left without saying a word.
“Bring my breakfast, Craig!” Vincent shouted, trying to project down the hall.
‘Those Jews will be getting big coin. I’ll get a few Franklins. Better than nothing,’ he thought as he wrote out his grievances against the hospital. A patient representative was scheduled to see him so he listed all his complaints and included names. The HIPPA complaint named 3 nurses discussing his case in the hallway. A dietary complaint named the cook that prepared the meatloaf he consumed. He claimed it was undercooked which caused considerable stomach pain and strained his weak liver and kidneys during dialysis treatment. And last Dan, the transporter who looked like Fat Albert. He wheeled him too fast in the hallway after treatment, giving him vertigo while rock music played from his cell phone.
Good morning Vincent, Dr. Chadman forced a greeting but continued his bedside smile.
“How are you feeling?”
“Good. Very good as you said I would be yesterday.”
“And you will get even better.” Taking a minute to compose himself, the doctor continued.
“So, here is where you stand. Your body is repairing itself. The sepsis is gone. I’ve canceled your dialysis treatments and taken you off the organ donor list, but…”
“Hey Doc, that’s the best news ever!” he interrupted. “How can that be?”
“Well, let me start from the beginning,” he paused. “Then explain what has to be done to maintain your good health.”
“Young Heart’s Children Hospital receives private funding to research a new drug called Vistium-o2, which has rapid healing properties for newborns and adolescents. We’ve achieved an 88 percent cure rate on children suffering from allergies, asthma, immune deficiencies, and infections without using an antibiotic or steroid. The very same drug, however, kills adults and older teens. Something after puberty causes it’s healing properties to reverse when administered. We have independent labs set up here to find out why and stabilize the drug for future use.”
“So, so what do I have to do with this drug?” Vincent asked. The doctor continued.
“We finished working on a new strain that would have gone untested on adults since the mortality rate is so high. Then I got word that you were admitted to Saint Ann’s, alone and in critical condition. You weren’t expected to survive so I had your medical records transferred to me and erased all history of you being at Saint Ann’s. That evening, I gave you the first of several injections of Vistium-o2. It saved your life and put us closer to perfecting the drug.
“So you just gave me this untested drug without my consent? Is that what we’re talking about Doc?”
“Your condition was irreversible. You would have died if I didn’t intervene on your behalf.”
“More like using me as a guinea pig,” Vincent shot back.
Dr. Chadman continued, ignoring Vincent’s dig. “The first reversal was the slowing of the septicemia. The aggressive infection was leading to amputation, but the condition subsided. Your open wounds started healing. Then your liver and kidneys started to regenerate cells. You, Vincent, are the first adult to receive the Vistium-o2 formula and return to health. The hospital will continue to treat you and suspend all medical costs billed to you if you agree to allow us to monitor your progression back to health.
“Oh, so you plan to pay all my bills so I don’t sue you? That’s the deal isn’t it Doctor? Vincent said with a smirk. His lemons just turned to sweet lemonade he thought.
Dr. Chadmans demeanor changed along with the forced smile. Holding his clipboard tightly he moved in close to Vincent, teeth grinding, eyes staring him down. Vincent broke contact first, diverting his eyes to the Disney characters decorating the walls.
“You can’t tell anyone, not even your wife. We are still years away from combining the right dosage of drugs to make Vistium-o2 safe and most effective for everybody. We have lost just as many as we have saved,” the doctor said with urgency.
“So that’s what happened to Erkle? The kid that died last night? Your miracle drug didn’t save him, did it? That Litman’s boy gonna cost a lot of misdirected funding, ain’t it Doc? Well, I’m jumping on that bandwagon and cashing in my Vistium-o2 chips too. My marriage is rocky cause I let my wife down more than once but the loot I’m getting from YHC hospital is gonna make up for all the bullshit I caused my wife and kid.” Vincent blurted out.
“Exposing our research would cause panic and lawsuits. Every death in the hospital would be questioned, as the Litman’s child. He was not in the program. To say he was we could lose the funding and our research might be taken over by the state,” the doctor concluded.
“Not my problem Doc. You want me to be quiet about all this illegal stuff you’re doing here? Ok, but your gonna pay big time. I’ll give you the magic number when I speak to my wife,” Vincent laughed. Finally, something’s going his way he thought.
“The stakes are high for everyone Vincent, including you and your family. You can’t disclose your treatment to anyone, “Dr. Chadman advised again. His voice raised with authority seldom used.
“And what if I do?” Vincent challenged while sitting up in bed with fist’s balled.
“If you talk to anyone outside this room, then you’d have to deal with me,” came a voice entering the room.
An age 30ish woman with reddish-brown skin, wearing leather pants and an Italian cut buttoned up blazer walked in the room. CFM heels angrily struck the hard tile floor as she approached the bed. Vincent looked at her brunette wavy hair, mauve lips and smokey eyes. Breathtaking, was the first thought that came to mind. He verbalized the second thought.
“Not bad eye candy but you ain’t no Halle Berry,” Vincent said as he checked her again from head to toe. Dr. Chadman stepped back and allowed her to take his place standing next to Vincent without saying anything.
“Dr. Chadman, prepare Mr. Donati’s shot of Vistium-o2. Add it to an IV drip to keep him healthy, for now,” she said. “Also, bring me a shot of 30, no, 40 milligrams of Temazepam for direct injection. Things will be much clearer to him after he’s had a good long sleep,” she said.
“Yes ma’am,” Dr. Chadman said leaving the room quickly, closing the door behind him.
“It’s gonna take more than your good looks and idle threats to keep me from talking,” Vincent said. “I’m cured, so I’m not letting you or the Doc give me anything. What you can do is give me your name so I can add it to my complaint list,” he said.
They looked each other in the eye, Vincent deciding not to look away first, not to a woman. She slowly unbuttoned the stretch blazer revealing a white cotton shirt with a black embroidered caduceus. The last button opened the blazer enough to show a concealed leather gun holster with a weapon.
“You want a name? For now, call me your patient representative.”
Next installment coming (as soon as I have an idea what happens to him) What do you think should happen to Vincent?
The Vincent series starts here
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