Saving Lives, Part I
Descent Into Abaddon
Location: Merope VII/Merope City/Central Hospital
Using the handheld sterilizer, Vikki ran the piece of equipment across each of her hands and bared arms as she prepared to scrub up, as the new temporary boss had requested. She couldn't ignore it, she was exceptionally nervous. It wasn't just because of the new eyes on her, but also because of the enormity of the situation. This was just one patient. There were still hundreds, if not thousands, more out there who would still need the same care and so few of them to help.
As worry and fear flashed through her eyes, the nurse handed the equipment to her colleague Doctor Rilem as she tried to muster up a smile. "Well...least we can't claim to be bored."
Quickly sterilizing himself, Rilem stepped near their patient, looked for any change in her condition, before addressing the other doctor. "Why don't you start, and I'll assist where needed," he said, nodding to the tools the nurse was offering.
Zoe nodded, tugging on sterile gloves. “Laser scalpel,” she said, holding out her hand to Victoria. Behind her mask, she gave the young woman a smile. “Don’t worry. You’ve been trained in this,” she reminded. “Fall back on your training, but all other thoughts aside. All that matters is this one patient. Nothing else is around her.” Dr. Desatu’s voice was steady, calm, almost hypnotically relaxing as she took the instrument and made the first incision. Blood welled up.
"Suction," Rilem said. And started removing the welled up blood to give the other doctor a clear view of what she needed to do.
“Thank you, Doctor,” Zoe said as the blood cleared. She made a few more cuts and peeled back the flesh to get to the ribs. She exposed the lung and gave a smile behind her mask. “The puncture is small, and the rib appears to have withdrawn.” Using forceps, she removed the piece of rib so they could repair the lung. She would replace it later. “Synthflesh,” Zoe requested. “Five centimeter square.”
Before they got a chance to get the requested synthflesh, a screaming and obviously pregnant woman came running into their makeshift operating room, followed by the Nightingale's midwife, Lieutenant Cole. Rilem immediately turned to a nurse and deposited his gloves as both woman entered the room next to the operating room. "I hope you can do without me," he said to the other doctor before he left the room.
“Looks like we’ll have to,” Zoe said with a nod. “Go.” She looked to Vikki. “We got this.”
Vikki managed to restrain her gulp before giving her boss an encouraging smile. He always got the nice jobs, but she...well… ”Synthflesh, ma’am.” The nurse carefully extracted the required material from the portable replicator.
Zoe took the small piece of synthetic flesh from Vikki. “Get a bit more suction in there to clear it out. Then hand me the laser scalpel.” Once the area was basically clear of blood for a bit, Zoe flipped the scalpel to a low setting. It wouldn’t cut, but it would cauterize the edges of the synthflesh to the torn edges of the hole in the lung.
Zoe leaned over, working the site slowly and carefully, sweat beading on her dark forehead.
Vikki leaned over with a makeshift cloth as she wiped the doctor’s forehead to try and ensure no sweat threatened to contaminate the wound. It was fascinating to watch a new doctor at work, the precision of her fingers, the way in which the woman manipulated both the patient’s body and the equipment at hand.
“Thank you,” Zoe murmured when Vikki wiped her forehead. She worked for several long minutes in silence. It seemed a lot longer, but finally she straightened up with a groan, leaning back to stretch her back.
“Okay, I think we can reinflate the lung and work on securing the ribs now,” she told Vikki. “Osteoregenerator.” She handed back the laser scalpel.
Vikki’s eyes glanced across the patient's vitals with concern before her fingers moved across the display. “Blood pressure and oxygen stats are dropping. She’s struggling to breath in enough oxygen and causing her heart to overwork to try and compensate.”
“Okay. Let’s get a tube into her,” Zoe said. “And give her five cee-cees of atenolol to try and get her heart beat reduced, and ten cee-cees of improvoline to prepare for the tube.” Zoe bent over the woman’s torso, poking around gently to see if there was a bleeder she had missed that was causing the drop in blood pressure.
Even as she watched the stats, Vikki hands moved to gather the equipment together for an intubation before administering the requested medications. She understood that she needed to carry out this part on her own, the doctor needed to focus on controlling the bleed, but it didn’t stop the ever so slight shake in the nurse’s hand. “Blood pressure is refusing to stabilize.”
“Damn it!” Zoe cursed. “Five more cee-cees of atenolol,” she said. “I think I found the bleeder.” It was buried behind the lung and had been nicked by the rib, though hadn’t ruptured until just recently. “Laser scalpel,” she said, holding out a bloody, gloved hand. With instrument in hand, she cauterized and sealed the slight tear in the blood vessel. “Did that do the trick?” Zoe asked, looking up at Vikki. Her dark eyes were clearly tired above her surgical mask, but determined. She wasn’t going to lose this patient! “Let’s get that tube in her.”
Vikki had frozen in the stress of the situation, the tube still clutched in her hand as she watched the blood oxygen stats continue to drop and realisation occurring that it was because of her hesitancy. “Right away!” Forcing herself to move, the nurse knew that she had no excuse to not know this. She was better than that.
Tilting the patient’s head back, Vikki softly murmured words as she sought to comfort the semi-conscious woman before carefully feeding the breathing tube to her chest. “Stats are starting to stabilise. Blood oxygen eighty...eighty-two...eighty-four. Blood pressure is eighty two over forty nine, but numbers are continuing to drop.”
“By all the gods,” Zoe growled. “Where is that bleeder?” If she had decent equipment, she could have scanned for it. Instead, she was going to have to do it the old fashioned way. “Get me more light in here.” She wiped her forehead on her sleeve and bent back over the opening in the patient’s torso, gently prodding organs out of the way.
Vikki finished securing the life support tube before have heard Zoe’s next command. The fear that the nurse felt was nerve wracking. The more that the did to try and save this patient, the more the woman seemed to do to prevent it from happening. Vikki was beginning to feel that this was an endless fight.
Moving her hand, the nurse relocated the doctor’s overhead lamb before moving until she stood opposite the woman. “There’s not much more beyond what we already have.” Vikki picked up the suction tube as she tried to take away the pooling blood in order to clear the line of vision.
“I know,” Zoe said, frustrated with the less than ideal surgical conditions. They weren’t even properly sanitized! “Okay, I think I found it. Small, but could get worse. Laser scalpel again.” Once Vikki had handed her the tool, she made a quick cauterization once more, and then used the tissue regenerator to secure the seal.
“That should do it.” Zoe straightened up and arched her back to work out the kinks with a groan, glancing at the monitors. They were stabilizing. “Let’s close her up.”
Vikki felt her body flood with relief as her own eyes checked the information the doctor had just given. BP...blood ox...respiration...heart rate...none of the figures were good just yet, but they were better than they had been. “Aye aye, ma’am.” The nurse offered the doctor a smile before gathering together sutures, osteoregenerators, and dermal regenerators.
Ensign Victoria Kingston
NPC Drusilla McCarthy
Lieutenant Commander Zoe Desatu
Chief Medical Officer
NPC Tan’ato Tejera