One Tiny Miracle...(7)

By: Carol Marinelli

She was trying to reach for the call bell to summon help, worried that if he became agitated he might fall if he did get out of bed and hurt himself further, but as quickly as it had happened, Matthew seemed to remember where he was and stopped trying to climb out of bed and instead lay back down. ‘Sorry.’ He gave a wan smile and said it again. ‘Sorry. I’m fine now.’ And he seemed so, except, like Ben, Celeste was now worried.

‘Matthew. Do you know where you are?’


She went through his obs—they were the same as before, his blood pressure a smudge higher, but his momentary confusion still troubled Celeste and she buzzed on the intercom. ‘Can you send a doctor round to the observation ward?’

‘Is it urgent?’ Meg checked. ‘They’re just assessing a multi-trauma.’ Celeste looked over at Matthew’s pale but relaxed face and wavered for a moment. He seemed absolutely fine now and his obs were stable but, still, she just wasn’t sure.

‘I need the head injury assessed again,’ she said, thinking it was likely Meg was rolling her eyes now. ‘Let Ben know—he saw him.’ She headed back to Matthew and Fleur gave a worried nod when Celeste said, ‘I’ll be with you soon.’

‘Look after him!’ the old lady said. ‘Don’t worry about me.’

Of course, by the time Ben arrived Matthew was sitting up and joking about his moment of confusion and refusing the oxygen that Celeste was trying to give him. ‘Look, I’m sorry to pull you away,’ she told Ben.

‘No problem. The trauma team is with the patient and he’s actually not that bad. So what’s going on with Matthew?’

‘Nothing!’ Matthew said and it certainly looked that way.

‘He was fine,’ Celeste explained. ‘In fact, he seems fine now, but he had a vomit a little earlier and was certainly confused and restless for a moment. He didn’t look at all well—’ She was trying to think up reasons to justify pulling a registrar out from an emergency, but Ben quickly interrupted.

‘I agree.’

He didn’t seem remotely annoyed that she had called him. Instead, he was checking Matthew’s pupils and his blood pressure for himself as Celeste explained that he had tried to climb out of bed, insisting he had to get to work.

‘How are you feeling, Matthew?’

‘Fine. Well, a bit of a headache...’

‘Okay,’ Ben said, ‘I’m just going to lay you flat and have a good look at you.’ It was Ben who never got to finish this time as Matthew started to retch again, his face more grey than pale now, and he was moaning loudly about a pain in his head.

‘How do you get urgent help around here?’ Ben asked, and it was only then that Celeste remembered that it was his first day here—he seemed so assured and competent. He was also a lot bigger than Matthew. He ignored the patient’s protests to push off the oxygen mask and attempts to climb out of bed as Celeste pressed the switch on the wall. The light flashed above the door like a strobe as one of the team came to the intercom and Celeste explained what was happening.

The trauma team was still with the multi-trauma, so it was Belinda Hamilton, the rather snooty but exceptionally good-looking senior emergency registrar who came, along with Meg and a porter to get the patient to Resus if required. Had Matthew still been on a gurney it would have been easier to wheel him straight to Resus, but time was of the essence and the observation ward was set up, like any other ward, for such an emergency, so instead Celeste wheeled over the crash trolley. Matthew was like a tethered bull now, and it was Ben doing the tethering as he rapidly explained what had occurred to his senior. But he didn’t await her verdict, just told her what was required. ‘He needs to intubated and sent for a scan,’ Ben said. ‘Can you alert the neuro surgeons?’

Celeste was busy opening packs for the intubation, her heart hammering in her chest, stunned at how quickly Matthew had deteriorated.

Though Meg had also come to assist, she didn’t take over, just guided and advised Celeste, who was setting up for the intubation. Raji, the anaesthetist, arrived just as Matthew started seizing, his body jerking violently. The whole thing was horrible. In a matter of moments Matthew’s condition had become critical—his family would have barely made it to the car park.