Doctor Thomas’s brows furrowed as he examined Ethan’s chart. “Michelle,” he said to the attending ICU nurse, “why aren’t there any recent notations of seizures from Ethan Evans.”
The nurse took the chart from the doctor and examined it carefully. “It would appear that they have stopped. I personally haven’t seen any kind of seizure activity.” She sat at one of the computers and typed in a few commands. “The EEG log shows no seizure activity of any kind for the last two days. Wait a minute…” She glanced at the chart again. “Kea, can you come over here and take a look at this for a minute?” She asked one of the Neurology Technicians. “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”
“I see that this patient shows no sign of any neurological disorder in the past 48 hours. That’s a good thing, right?”
“Yes!” She practically yelled. “Doctor Thomas, Ethan Evans’ seizures stopped approximately 3 days after you discontinued his HIV medications.” She looked expectantly at Kea.
“While I’m not a neurologist, it looks to me that all of his neurological functions are completely normal. Doctor Morris is the neurologist on call today. Let me get a hold of her and ask her to check it out. She can access these monitors remotely from her office.” Kea went to make the call while Doctor Thomas continued to peruse Ethan’s chart.
Just then a micro-cellular specialist, Rob walked into the ICU. “Ah, Phil, I’m glad you’re here. Here are the results of the micro-cellular scan you requested on,” he paused to confirm the patient’s name, “Ethan Evans. It’s very peculiar.” He flipped through the papers he brought with him until he located the one he wanted. “I haven’t put this into the computer yet. We’re rerunning the scans to be sure, but there are two protein markers in his cells that I’ve never seen before. Their composition is completely unknown.” Rob handed the paper over to the doctor.
“You’re right. This looks like something you’d see on Star Trek.” Doctor Thomas agreed.
They were interrupted by the sound of a CompCom unit beeping. Doctor Thomas pulled the unit out of his pocked, swiped the screen and the image of the on-call neurologist filled the tiny screen. “Alicia. Let me guess why you’re calling. Ethan Evans.”
Doctor Alicia Morris, one of the top neurologists in her field, un-customarily dispensed with any pleasantries. “Phil, what in hell is going on with your patient? From the day he was admitted until about two days ago, he suffered from almost non-stop tonic-colonic seizures. Since two days ago he’s been seizure free. I’ve never seen anything like this.”
“Me neither, Cia. His seizures stopped shortly after we discontinued his HIV medications. Something interesting has come up on his micro-cellular scans. I’d like to get together with you, Rob, and a geneticist I know, Julie Taylor to discuss this. We might be on the threshold of a cure for HIV and possibly other STDs.”
Duncan’s sister, Teri, hugged him when he came back out of the bathroom. The elephant in the room clung to her back like white on rice with the final bit of news she had about Ryan’s condition. “Duncan, I don’t know how to tell you the rest of this. It is so vile, disgusting and degrading I can’t understand how anyone could do such a thing.”
Noting how white her face turned, Duncan wasn’t sure he wanted to hear the rest of what she had to say. He knew it was going to be bad, but he had no clue as to how bad it was going to be.
“Did I tell you that he was brought in septic and is still receiving massive doses of broad-spectrum antibiotics intravenously?”
“No, you didn’t. What’s causing an infection that’s required that kind of treatment?”
“Sit down. This is going to be as hard for you to hear as it is for me to say it. The person or persons responsible for his stab wounds defecated and urinated into them. He’s almost on total life support now, but that’s to be expected given the nature of his internal injuries. His autonomic functions are basically working, but his brain scans show little higher brain function activity. The safer bet is that, barring a major miracle, he’s not going to make it. As the next of kin on record, you may have a decision to make.”
Sitting with his head in his hands, Duncan almost ignored the beeping of his CompCom. He pulled it out of his pocket and almost threw it across the room but decided to answer it. “Yes, Liam?” He practically snarled.
“You need to get back here pronto. We just received notification from the Tribunal. An obituary dated July 17th, 2132. Duncan, its Ethan Evans’. The Tribunal has reinstated the death penalty on Ryan and they want it carried out immediately as an example for the rest of us.”
In a voice choked with emotion and tears running down his face Duncan responded, “It doesn’t look like we’re going to have to worry about the fucking tribunal and their beloved death penalty bullshit. It’s highly unlikely that Ryan is going to live much longer. Liam, in addition to stabbing and beating him, they pissed and shit all over his stab wounds.” He nearly shouted the last bit.
A whispered “no” was all Liam was able to say.
“CODE BLUE, SECURITY ICU. CODE BLUE, SECURITY ICU. CODE BLUE, SECURITY ICU.” The overhead paging system blared.
“Ryan!” Duncan yelled. In a flash, he and Teri were on their feet racing towards the ICU in the security ward. Teri swiped her access card and the two of them rushed in. The guards stopped Duncan and physically forced him back out of the ward.
A few minutes later a sobbing Teri came out of the security ward and looked at Duncan. No words needed to be spoken. Ryan was gone.