An already fading pulse had nearly disappeared by the time Jeff and his crew pulled up to Jefferson General’s emergency entrance with Bobbi Lane. Intubation had allowed him to get air into her lungs when her busted face prevented adequate CPR, but she needed advanced medical intervention now. Her lungs would need to be drained of blood; she’d need infusions. She’d need facial reconstruction.
“Stay with me, beautiful! We ain’t measuring you for a box just yet,” he cajoled. “Oh, you’ve got fire, honey, I can tell, so don’t you dare stop breathin’ on me.”
After more than a decade in the field, Jeff had learned not to take the loss of riders personally. He went into every pick-up with the mission to pass them off to the E.R. in as good of shape as he could manage, but sometimes they were simply too far gone to even be sustained until they were out of his hands. “Facts is facts,” he always said, and he’d made his peace with his powerlessness over them long ago.
But this case pissed him right off. Being in this business—the business of aiding people at their most vulnerable—he took particular offense to a man beating a woman. Manhandling anyone smaller was a dick move anyway, but this brutality was wanton overkill. This Mickey Green guy, according to Jane, was a solid two-forty on a six-three frame. The girl now laying busted up in Jeff’s ambulance couldn’t run more than a buck-ten. And, Chrissakes, that red hair—it reminded him of his first wife. This was one passenger he needed to see pull through.
“You got this, sweetheart,” he assured her. “You fight this bitch with everything you’ve got in you, you hear me?”
Then he bent down close to her as the gurney passed into the E.R. He spoke directly—intimately—to her, believing with all his heart that she could hear him.
“You kick and scream and stubborn your bad self right back to one piece again, girl. … Then you make damn sure the asshole who did this is sorry you were ever born.”
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