Excerpt from Nothing Personal

     
     On February 20, Kate Manion had the chance to see her hospital from the other side. It was an opportunity she hoped never to have again.
     Kate was a critical-care nurse, one of those purposeful, talented people always dressed in scrubs and lab coat, a stethoscope slung around her neck and pockets filled with penlights, scissors, and trauma-scale charts, who walked through an emergency department with the purpose of MacArthur stepping out of the water at Leyte. Which Kate did. At least until she ended up on her head in a ditch alongside Highway 44 with an ambulance and a candy-apple-red Firebird wrapped around her.
     If it had been her Mustang, somebody might have blamed Kate. After all, she did drive it fast—often a little too fast. But that was what Mustangs were for. Besides, Kate was a good driver. She knew all the quirks and eccentricities of her car better than her ex-husband had known hers. Kate would never have let her car land in a ditch.
     But Kate wasn't driving either vehicle. The guy driving the Firebird would have been arrested on the spot for driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter, if he'd lived long enough for the cops to get handcuffs on him. By the time that determination was made, though, Kate was already on her way to the medical center in critical condition with chest and head injuries.
     Within an hour, Kate was in surgery to repair the small laceration she'd suffered to her aorta and the clots she'd collected on her brain from the depressed skull fracture. She had tubes stuck into her chest to re-expand her collapsed lungs, a tube in her trachea to help her breathe, one in her stomach to drain away any digestive juices that could compromise her breathing ability, and another in her bladder to make sure her urine was clear and neatly collected. She had three large-bore IVs in her, one in each arm and one in her subclavian vein, to replace fluids and electrolytes; an arterial line; an intracranial pressure sensor to measure the potential threat to her brain; a Swan Ganz pump to measure her blood volume and cardiac output, and a blood pump to reinfuse her with the red cells she was losing through those chest tubes. And with all that in, she still managed to make hospital history. On February 24, Kate Manion became the only intensive-care patient in medical center memory to successfully kill her nurse.
 
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