ER fanfic for the Angel Buddy Network's monthly contest.
|[Introduction] AUTHORS' NOTE: The following is a fanfiction story written by ragefire2000 and scattered based on the television series ER (original cast), created by Michael Crichton. The characters and content from ER used herein remain the legal, intellectual property of their respective copyright holders.|
|"Does someone want to explain to me exactly what the heck happened out there?" Dr. Morgenstern asked as the last of the doctors filed into his office and closed the door.|
He looked at his hospital staff with a mixture of confusion and frustration. Mark Greene and Susan Lewis glanced at one another, wondering which one was going to start. Peter Benton, dressed and scrubbed for surgery, glared at both of them. Doug Ross was nursing bruised knuckles while John Carter attended to a nasty looking gash on his head. Carol Hathaway stood there, more confused than anybody.
"Well?" Morgenstern continued. "Somebody better start talking and explain to me how this whole mess got started."
Mark Greene took a deep breath and stepped forward.
"The patient was admitted to the hospital to deliver a set of twin babies."
"And the father was with her at this point?" Morgenstern asked.
Susan and Mark looked at one another.
"One of the fathers," Susan interjected quietly.
“Dr. Lewis, are you trying to tell me that each of this woman’s twins has a different father?”
“It certainly appears that way, sir.” Susan replied.
Morgenstern leaned back in his desk chair, weighing his options. He looked over at Doug, who was just about done bandaging up his knuckles while Carter put the finishing touches on his forehead stitches.
“And where do you fit into all of this, Dr. Ross?”
“When the second father arrived, things got a little out of hand.” Doug said. “I intervened.”
“By getting into a fist fight with him and busting his nose.”
“Which I then patched up for him,” Doug added.
“And what about you, Dr. Benton?” Morgenstern asked Peter.
“All I know is that I was supposed to help deliver a set of twins that were presenting with complications,” Peter complained. “Then Ross and this other guy come staggering into the operating room, pummeling one another.”
Morgenstern dropped his head into his hands and sighed.
“Okay, you better start from the beginning. Carol, you admitted the mother, right?”
“Then start talking.”
|Her eyes scanned the room, searching for support from her colleagues.|
“It actually started before the admission to the E.R., Dr. Morgenstern.”
“Okay. I’m listening,” he stated, his agitation growing more apparent as his ink pen began to seesaw back and forth between his fingers, striking the legal pad in front of him, on which he would occasionally jot down notes.
“Well, you know that I run that free clinic over on Hudson Street, which was funded by a grant from Carter’s grandmother’s foundation.”
“I have seen this mother, Sonya Logan, in the clinic, going back to her first trimester. She came to the clinic with symptoms suggesting that she might spontaneously abort. We suspected that there might be an Rh factor incompatibility, so we did a chorionic villus sampling from both fetuses. When we received the results, we were … astounded,” Carol shook her head reliving that moment of disbelief, and pausing momentarily.
“ We thought that the lab had mixed up some samples, so we had them repeated. The subsequent tests confirmed that the fraternal twins both had different fathers. We researched this and found that this only occurs in about one in a million pregnancies and then to factor in how often the phenomenon is confirmed through DNA testing … well, you can see why we were all in shock,” Carol paused again.
“ I went and talked to Sonya and she was quite forthcoming with her sexual history. She had doubts about who the father might be, as she was having intercourse with two different men in close proximity to the time of conception. When I told her that the tests revealed the each twin had a different father, she was upset. But the good news was that she stopped cramping and bleeding and the pregnancy then progressed quite normally. I saw her at her routine prenatal visits. She never shared with me how she handled the father situation and I never pried into her personal life. She would come to the clinic by herself, so I never knew who the significant other or others was. Sonya came to the E.R. today, in labor and we determined rather quickly that one of the twins had a Frank breech presentation and she would require a Caesarean. So, the O.R. was notified and I prepared her for transport. That is basically the extent of my knowledge.” she closed, visibly relieved that her public interrogation was over.
|“When Ms. Logan was admitted, she came in with her fiance, Mr. Weatherly.” Mark Greene added. “Per hospital policy, we paged the OB attending and asked Mr. Weatherly to step outside the delivery room, per Ms. Logan’s wishes.”|
“What we didn’t realize,” Susan interjected, “Was that by the time Mr. Weatherly got back out to the lobby, Mr. Simmons was already there.”
“The other father?” Morgenstern asked. “How did he find out?”
“Needless to say,” Doug said, “When Mr. Weatherly came back into the lobby talking about how he wanted to see Sonya as soon as his twins were born, Mr. Simmons started to wonder who this man was and why he was claiming to be the father. The two of them started arguing about it, and I stepped in to diffuse the situation. Mr. Simmons took a swing at the other father, Mr. Weatherly ducked, and Mr. Simmons ended up hitting me. I simply returned the favor.”
“Dr. Ross,” Morgenstern said, shaking his head. “I believe we’ve already had conversations about your temper at work.”
“True,” Doug replied. “But if it weren’t for that incident, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to talk with him while I was stitching up his busted nose. And if I didn’t have the chance to do that, we wouldn’t have been able to establish that both of these men had legitimate claims to being the father.”
“Which probably saved these kids’ lives,” Susan added. “Once they both presented with renal failure. Having both fathers in the hospital and able to donate kidney tissue is what allowed us to determine which child got which kidney tissue.”
“Not that it wasn’t a chore getting them to agree to do it,” Benton interrupted, re-crossing his arms over his chest. “They were both so mad at the mother for sleeping with both of them at the same time, neither one could see past their own anger to the fact that their children needed them. We wasted a lot of time and it could have been a very different story.”
“So how did you eventually convince them to donate?” Morgenstern asked.
“That’s where I come in,” Dr. Carter said, raising his hand.
“Put your hand down,” Morgenstern sighed. “You’re not in a classroom.”
“Anyway,” Dr. Carter continued. “Once the renal failure presented and we determined that a donation was necessary, Dr. Greene went to talk to Mr. Weatherly, while I was asked to go speak with Mr. Simmons.”
“And how’d that go?”
|“Well, not good … at first,” Carter stated, as he appeared to be gathering his thoughts, while rubbing his chin. |
“But we employed some good cop/bad cop techniques. Then, I remembered a story that I learned as a child, when Gamma used to take me to Sunday school,” he smiled, obviously reliving a pleasant memory.
Dr. Morganstern leaned forward in his executive chair, “Dr. Carter, if we could please avoid the treks down memory lane.”
“Well, this situation just made me think of King Soloman and how the true mother reacted at the possible death of her child … okay …”
Susan, who was standing next to Carter, bumped him with her shoulder, and mumbled at him in an agitated tone, her mouth not moving, “He doesn’t want a morality play, Carter!”
Carter stood up straighter and began speaking more swiftly, “Well, I told Mr. Simmons that Mr. Weatherly had already agreed to donate his kidney to his son and I asked him to imagine how he would feel if Mr. Weatherly’s son survived, but his didn’t, because he refused to donate his kidney.”
“Okay, so Mr. Weatherly agreed to the donation first?” Morganstern questioned.
Carter glanced over at Peter and Mark.
“Well, we can’t be sure of that because we told Mr. Weatherly that Mr. Simmons had consented, in order to get him to agree,” Mark explained.
“Peter, do you have something to add?” Morganstern inquired.
“Just that I was present when both agreed, and got them to sign the informed consents.”
Morganstern looked at the medical team before him and shook his head as he processed what he had learned.
“We will revisit the tactics that you all used at a later time. But, two children were saved. What is their present status?”
"Thankfully," Mark Greene replied, "Both children are stable and on their way to a full recovery."
"So then everything's fine." Morgenstern said confidently.
"Almost." Mark replied. "Mr. Simmons and Mr. Weatherly found out that we had, uh, persuaded them to donate kidneys to their respective sons... and are now threatening legal action."
Dr. Morgenstern looked like he wanted to bang his head against his desk.
"This is," he began, "Without a doubt one of the sloppiest and most irresponsible cases I've ever seen carried out at this hospital. Those of you who did something made mistakes. Those of you who didn't were content to sit back and let someone else take responsibility. What I've heard today makes you all sound like a bunch of first year interns."
Everyone in the room hung their head and stared at their shoes.
"You've put this hospital at risk with your actions, and if a lawsuit is actually brought against us, you'll have to answer for that."
Doug mumbled something under his breath.
"I'm sorry," Dr. Morgenstern said sternly. "Did you have something to add, Dr. Ross?"
Doug cleared his throat.
"I said... at least we saved two kids' lives today."
Morgenstern softened a little and sighed again.
"Yes, you did. Somehow, through this whole mess, you managed to save the lives of two newborns. And that's no small accomplishment, especially given the extraordinary circumstances of this case. Keep that in mind when you're making amends with Mr. Simmons and Mr. Weatherly and preventing them from suing the hospital. Because if they leave this hospital with even a mention of litigation, you'll all be looking for new jobs.
|The team filed through the door silently and out into the busy corridor of County General, looking like a group of whipped pups.|
After getting a comfortable distance from Morganstern’s office, Doug turned to the group when he was certain he was out of earshot of Morganstern. Putting his hands up, he motioned for them to stop.
“Look, I know Morganstern just ripped us a new one over this thing, but we should be proud of what we did and how we handled this. We saved those kids! Yes, we used some unorthodox methods, but the bottom line is, those kids lived. Morganstern is just reading a blurb out of his Risk Management manual. It is his job, but he is just blowing smoke. He isn’t going to fire any of us.”
Peter stepped forward.
“Well, while you all are patting yourselves on the back, I have two cholecystectomies and a jejunostomy waiting for me in the O.R. It’s been fun,” Peter said sarcastically, as he started down the hall, lifting his hand to bid farewell to his colleagues.
“I don’t know. He seemed really mad,” Carter added the concern in his voice obvious.
“I have been down this road many a times. Ask Carol. What was it about six months ago?” he turned toward Carol. “Was it that crack whore of a mother who let her kids forage for food while she shot up? One of the kids ending up eating a box of Moth Balls.”
“Dear, God. I didn’t hear about this. What happened?” Susan asked.
“Well after having to stick an Ewald tube down the five year-old and giving him Activated Charcoal, all because of this selfish, sick woman who didn’t deserve to be a mother, I notified Social Services and they removed the kids from her house. Turns out this woman has an uncle or something that works in the Mayor’s office and we caught some flak over me preaching to her about getting clean and giving up her kids,” Doug explained.
“But, again, the bottom line is those kids are getting three squares now and have a clean, safe house. They don’t have to watch Mommy’s eyes roll back in her head when she releases her tourniquet,” he added with a hint of the anger he was reliving.
“That’s true, Doug,” Carol spoke up in agreement.
“I say we all go over to the Diner for a debriefing,” Susan suggested.
Glances and nods were exchanged and the group started for the elevators.
Doug, standing next to John Carter, chided gently, “With a name like Carter you have job security.” Doug gave John a friendly slap on the back.
“I don’t know about that …” John replied tentatively.
As the group turned the corner, they we all stunned to see Mr. Simmons and Mr. Weatherly standing in the hall, talking to each other as though they were old friends.
Both men, upon seeing the doctors round the corner, smiled broadly.
"What's going on here?" Mark asked.
"A nurse took us in to see our babies a few minutes ago," Mr. Simmons said.
"They're doing great," Mr. Weatherly added. "I've never seen anything so incredible in my life."
"So... everything's good?" Susan asked.
"Couldn't be better," Mr. Simmons responded.
"Well, I think that calls for a celebration," Doug said, keeping his eye on Mr. Simmons, just in case. "We were about to head to the diner across the street. It'll be another hour at least before the attending on call can clear Sonya and the kids... why don't you let us buy you new fathers a congratulatory meal?"
Mr. Simmons and Mr. Weatherly were agreeable to the proposal and headed across the street with the staff of County General. As they walked, Carter took Doug aside.
"Why are we inviting the two fathers to eat with us?"
"Because," Doug replied. "A happy person doesn't file lawsuits. So we can either rolls the dice and hope that Mr. Weatherly and Mr. Simmons are still in the same frame of mind when they get home and start thinking about filing a lawsuit again... or we can spend a little money out of our own pockets buying them a meal while their healthy babies are waiting to be discharged."
Carter nodded thoughtfully.
"Besides," Doug continued. "Now we also have a diner full of people who can testify to the fact that the kind doctors of County General are a bunch of kind souls who go the extra mile for their patients and their family."
"Interesting," Carter said. "At what point in a residency do they teach politicking?"
"That," Doug grinned, "I picked up from running into old one night stands here and there."
He grabbed Carter in a playful headlock as they headed for the diner.
|With the group behind them, chatting and befriending the new fathers, Doug and Carter stepped on the rubber threshold and the pneumatic doors to the ER opened. A barrage of news media members immediately descended upon them. Camera flashes blinded them. They could visualize at least four vans with massive satellite systems mounted on their roofs, parked parallel on the street.|
“Are you the doctor that delivered these twins?” a young petite blonde shoved a microphone near Doug’s face. He glared at her while grabbing the microphone and lowering it.
The chaos continued to escalate.
“How often do these type of twins occur?” another female reporter addressed Carter, almost shouting the question.
“Are you the father?” one distinguished veteran reporter asked Mr. Weatherly.
Susan and Mark looked at each other in bewilderment.
“This is unbelievable!” Mark said to Susan.
Susan leaned close to Mark‘s ear, so that he could hear her over all of the noise. “How did the media get a hold of this?”
“I don’t know, but I have my suspicion,” he replied while a head nod directed Susan’s eyes toward Mr. Simmons, who was utterly basking in the glory he was beholding.
“Oh, come on, Mark! Surely not! Why would any parent want their child to receive this kind of attention?”
“Susan, you and I both know from working at County General that people are strange. You can’t make rhyme or reason of why some people do what they do. But, money being the global motivator, well, I predict that we might see these three parents again … in a reality television show.”
“My god, Mark! That is just sick!”
“To me and you it is. To him, it is the lottery. This dad dilemma just bought him the winning lottery ticket.”
The doctors fought their way through the throng of news media, leaving a very excited Mr. Simmons and a somewhat disoriented Mr. Weatherly solely in the spotlight. Once they were past the lobby, Doug spotted Dr. Morgenstern coming toward them down the hall.
"Gotta go," Doug said, rushing down a hallway in the opposite direction.
"Yeah, I've got to check on some patients," Carol chimed in, making a hasty escape.
As Morgenstern came nearer, Susan backed out as well.
"Good luck, gentlemen." She said to Mark and Carter, making a hasty retreat into one of the operating rooms.
Mark leaned over toward Carter.
"You want to learn something new today, Carter?"
"Great," Mark replied, eyeing the operating room door. "Today you're going to learn a little about hospital hierarchy."
"What do you mean?"
Mark made a break for the operating room, calling over his shoulder as he dashed away. "Low man on the totem pole gets stuck with the worst jobs!"
Before Carter could object, the last of the residents had disappeared, leaving him alone to face Morgenstern. In the span of time it took Morgenstern to finish his walking approach, Carter had already envisioned all the things that Morgenstern might do to him, making his life a living hell for the next year.
"Where did everybody go?" Morgenstern asked.
"They, uh... had other patients." Carter said. Taking the fall for this would be better than ratting out his colleagues. One person making his life a living hell versus four people making his life a living hell. It was an easy decision.
"Oh well," Morgenstern replied. "They're just going to have to miss out. I was going to tell you that with all the publicity surrounding this unusual set of twins, and of course the procedures that saved their lives... a local philanthropist has taken a great interest in our work here and wanted to make a donation. He's having a new CT scanner shipped in as we speak. How'd you like to be the first one to give it a whirl?"
Carter was speechless.
"You all did good work here today," Morgenstern continued. You solved a medical mystery in time to save two lives, and that's no small accomplishment."
As Morgenstern patted Carter on the shoulder, the familiar sound of an ambulance siren filled the hospital as it pulled into the alley, red and white lights flashing and reflecting off the white paint on the hospital walls.
"Come on," Morgenstern said, clapping Carter on the back. "No rest for the weary."
They rushed out to meet the ambulance, nurses helping them into surgical gowns as they walked. The team had done a wonderful thing earlier, but the job allowed little time for reflection and self-congratulation. The two infants had been saved, but if they weren't equally as quick and efficient with the patient in the ambulance, he or she might not be so lucky.
It was a hectic job, filled with uncertainty, frustration and oftentimes failure. Today's saved lives would no doubt be balanced out by tomorrow's patients who couldn't be brought back... and all they could do was try their hardest to save every person, every single time.
Such is life in the ER.