TITLE: UNHEALTHY OBSESSION
Dr. Julia Sinclair snapped on latex gloves, and peeled away the pus-soaked dressing to reveal one of the nastiest wound infections she’d seen all year. A shocker. The Infectious Diseases equivalent of graffiti on Michelangelo’s David. “Bet that hurts like a bitch.”
“Too bloody right.” The patient’s flushed cheeks contrasted with the white bed linen, and made him look younger than twenty-four. He glanced at his stomach, and jerked his head away. Pain shadowed his eyes. “I came in for so-called minor surgery and end up impersonating a shark attack victim. What is this place? An abattoir?”
“Your appendix burst during the operation, leaking all sorts of bugs. They had to open you up and wash you out. Standard antibiotics aren’t working, so your surgeon asked for my advice.” Julia kept her voice light and unworried, but a tingle of adrenaline crept up the back of her neck. No wonder the surgeon screamed for help. Maybe getting goose-bumps from the challenge of someone else’s life-threatening infection meant she was heartless, but hell, she needed a distraction. Was it wrong to use a patient’s suffering to hide from personal tragedy?
She palpated the reddened skin. Heat burned through her gloves.
“I’ll be gentle, but I have to collect some pus. We’ll analyze it to make sure you’re on the right antibiotics.”
She wiped the area with a saline-moistened gauze pad, then loosened a staple. The stench of decay caught in the back of her throat, making her glad she’d missed lunch.