I walk out of the surgical suite and rip off the gloves and gown, then I walk over to the sink to wash my hands. I scrub them until my skin is red. In my mind, I can still picture the blood from the small boy on my hands. We tried everything we could. This is one of the reasons I quit being a trauma surgeon, I couldn't take the pain of losing the kids. Kids the same age as my own son. My Dane.
I hold the sob in as I dry my hands with paper towels. I throw them away and realize I still have the surgical cap on covering my hair. I pull it off and slip it into the thigh pocket of my scrubs.
"Hey, Dr. Russell, I'll inform the family. Thank you for assisting," the other surgeon says from next to me. I look up at him and nod.
I walk with him to the doors that lead out to the waiting area. I stay on the other side and watch him through the window. The mother knows as soon as he approaches them, and I can hear her cries as she drops to the floor. I turn away from the images that will be burned into my retinas for several nights.
I'll go home to my large barn style house on the compound and kiss my son while he sleeps. Then I'll crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep for the child I couldn't save. The child who wasn't properly restrained in the car when his family was in an accident. We did everything we could, but there was nothing left for us to do but let his little life leave him.
I make my way down the hall, heading deeper into the bowels of the hospital, not seeing the new guard, Jessup, that is supposed to be keeping an eye on me. I turn down the next hall near the loading docks, hating that the physicians’ lounge is in the darkest part of the hospital. I hear a scuffling sound and I'm immediately on edge. After everything I've gone through in the past, I'm very careful and cautious.
As I turn down the last hall, the lights above me flicker and I'm instantly on alert until I see a form slouched against the wall. Someone is hurt and needs to be taken care of. My own safety is a moot point as my medical mind takes over.
It’s Jessup, and there’s a pool of blood forming under his body. I reach down to check his pulse when my body is lit up like a Christmas tree. Every muscle locks and my teeth clench together. I fall forward and an arm catches me and twists me around. I look up into the coldest green eyes I've ever seen. Eyes I jerk awake at night remembering. Eyes that have bore into my own, giving me the worst nightmares I've ever had. I want to cry out, fight him with all the fighting skills I've since acquired. Skills that have failed me.
I think of Zach and how we finally have our chance at happily ever after, and now it's being taken from us. My son, Dane, who lost his biological mother and now me, the only mother he's ever known. I won't see him grow up. I won't see him graduate, become a man, get married, and have a family. I think of Piper, my niece that I adopted too, all she has known is death, and I'm leaving her just like Jules did. My eyes close and my world stops.