part 3 by Vicki


Five minutes later and Dr. Peter Benton found Dr. Kovac standing with a young woman he only assumed was Dr. Baker and joined them to give them the news about the young boy he just worked on in surgery. It was not good news and he passed on the formalities, they had plenty time for that later.

“How is he?” Jude was desperate, it had been hours since she had heard anything and almost the whole day since she had seen and talked to Michael. It seemed like only moments since she stood on the sidewalk waiting to cross the street and witnessed change to a young boy's life. She didn't have time to think. She had had a life to save, and now here she was waiting desperately to find out how he would come out of this mornings drastic event.

“He's in recovery now. There were complications during the procedure.” This was news she didn't want to hear.

“Complications! I don't understand how there could be complications, his vitals were stable, no sign of infection.” She couldn't believe this, didn't want to believe this. Jude had only been a passenger on this ride, and it saddened her heart to know there was a chance the driver wouldn't survive.

“What kind of complications?” asked Luka.

“Michael's BP fell rapidly, and his airway became constricted, he lost consciousness and went into arrest, we gave him CPR, we needed to tube him.”

“The trachea?” inquired Luka; he too was concerned for a patient who had come to him under strange circumstances. It was not every day a young women rode in on a gurney trying to save a patient and calling him a bastard straight to his face.

“Yep. He was doing fine, he suffered hemorrhage, we transfused 4 units, but his BP plummeted 76 over 62, his heart rate 140. He went in to shock and lost consciousness”

Jude and Luka didn't understand what they were hearing. They both knew things could change in a single moment and obviously they had since they saw Michael last. They held on to the hope of Michael being all right and surviving this dramatic event in his young life.

“I don't understand we had the bleeding under control, what happened.”

Peter didn't know what she wanted him to tell her. It happened sometimes. The only possibility she could comprehend was that Michael suffered greater distress from his injuries than she had anticipated.

“So what does it mean?” questioned Luka about all the things they had just heard.

“His breathing stopped, we needed to revive him, and we needed to treat his shock, and maintain his vitals, in the meantime he lost too much blood.” Jude wanted Peter to get to the point. She hated wasting time. Always in a hurry, never taking the time to smell the flowers, or watch the children play, or lose her own self into a stranger's dark beautiful eyes, “Dr. Benton, please?”

“We lost the opportunity to save his leg.” Peter said it straight. There was no other way to put it, no easy way to soften the blow. In plain English, Michael Barnett had his leg amputated to have his life saved.

“Son of a bitch.” She was quiet, too quiet.

“We did everything that could be done but in the end the risk of the attachment being successful wasn't a choice,” explained Peter. They had done everything they possibly could to do both, save a leg and a life, but fate had dealt Michael a devastating blow.

“Who decided?”

“Excuse me?” Peter didn't know where she was going with this and he didn't like her attitude.

“There was a decision made in that room? Who made it? Who decided to cut off his leg?” She was not thinking straight. In her frustration and in her anger she often spoke before she thought. Reacted before thinking. Forgot to listen. Often confused knowing when to stop and when to venture forward. Knowing when to step over the line and when to step back from it.

“Orthopedics, and Vascular were brought it, he lost a lot of blood, we did what was best for the patient.” protested Peter. He didn't need to explain himself to this woman, they had done everything medicine and emergency procedure allowed them to do. “We saved his life.”

“Just cut off his leg!” She stung back.

Dr. Benton started to lose his temper so Luka cut in and Jude stood unsettled for a moment. She didn't appreciate it, she could fight her own battles, and she didn't need this man to do it for her. So much rage and distress blanket over her. She was pissed off. They had made the decision without discussing it with her first, after-all Michael was her patient. She had been with him from the start and just like that, she had lost him, and he had lost his leg.

“His mother, Dr. Benton.”

A nurse escorted Sam Barnett towards them. They were quiet. They didn't look forward to the next few minutes. They had to be the bearers of bad news and they couldn't know how she would react and however she dealt with it, they would support her and her son through the next few months to follow.

“Dr. Baker?” Sam held out her hand to Jude and Jude stepped forward, and took upon herself the burden of telling a mother the bad news of her son's condition. Sam didn't want to talk to Dr. Benton or Dr. Kovac, she knew Dr. Baker from what Michael told her before he went into surgery, and in her son's words, she found she could trust this young woman.

“Yes, Michael's mother?”



They were like old friends except one had to hear bad news and the other had to tell it, neither needing it in their lives right now.

Dr. Benton and Dr. Kovac stood close by; Peter would support her on everything that had happened during his surgery procedure. Luka would be supportive to both parent and doctor, who both feared the moments to follow in their lives would inadvertently change them forever.

“How is my son?” Her voice calm and caring, her heart pounding, and nerves fray. She had never been away from Michael for more than a weekend, and never had such a dramatic event affected their lives as this one was today.

“Michael's surgery didn't go as we expected.” answered Jude, her voice soft and reassuring. She decided to be honest, lying and prolonging the truth often just complicated things, and she knew for sure none of them needed complicated right now.

“Is he all right?” A mother's face went pale. Her heart almost died. She wouldn't allow herself to think of what it would be like in her life without her only son.

“He's in recovery at the moment, they will be moving him to ICU in a short while, their just helping him rest easy before they transfer him. I'm sure you'll be able to go and see him as soon as they're done. Dr. Benton?”

“Absolutely.” agreed Peter. He would take her to see her son, as soon as she had heard the news.

“You said it didn't go as expected, what does that mean.” She wanted the truth. She deserved it. She was his mother and in being his mother, she had the right to know what these people did to help her son. These people who in oath swore to save his life.

“Michael suffered hemorrhage caused by the loss of blood from his wound, which in turn caused him to go in to shock, it made it hard for him to breathe, causing stress to his heart. His blood pressure fell quite rapidly and he lost consciousness. They need to revive Michael during the procedure.”

“Oh my god.” She grasped her chest and feared a heart attack. This couldn't have been happening. It had to have been a nightmare she would wake from at any moment and found her son, sleeping soundlessly in his own bed lost in his own dreams, his body whole and intact.

“We were able to revive Michael with CPR and put a tube into his trachea to help him breathe, and transfused him with blood and fluids for the shock, and got his vitals stable.” helped Dr. Benton. Sam felt a little reassured but not fully, so much more had to be said, and she could read it on Jude's face.

“Please Dr. Baker, just tell me.”

Jude struggled to find the words. She hated this part. She could handle blood and brain matter but tears and heartbreak was something she just wouldn't let herself get use to. She figured if she didn't allow a wife's pain, a baby's suffering, and a father's lost mind to touch her, she would be stone-cold dead and she didn't want to be that. She had past that stage in her life once before and she never wanted to go back to it.

“They were only partial way through in trying to reattach Michael's leg when he went into shock. Taking into consideration all the facts. The shock, his blood pressure falling, and with his excessive blood loss the doctors needed to make a decision. To successfully continue in reattaching Michael's leg they would have put his life at risk. They did everything humanly possible to do both, but they weren't able to save his leg.”

Sam was confused. “They cut if off.” She was choked up.

Jude was hesitant. “Yes ma'am, they did.”

“Had we continued to reattach Michael's leg and not treat his shock, we would have put him at high risk for severe complications. Renal failure due to his low blood pressure. Heart problems. Had we not treated him he would have gone into full cardiac arrest and he would have died Ms. Barnett.”

Peter's words didn't help. Sam didn't want to hear this. So many questions racing around in her head, nothing made sense. Sam tried to think but she couldn't. Her mind confused with words, and procedures and her son.

“My god.” Sam couldn't believe it. Suddenly it all began to sink in. She started to shake, every nerve stirred to exhaustion. Jude took Sam's hands in her own.

“It's okay.... they treated Michael and got his vitals to a stable condition.”

“But they took off his leg. He went into shock and it means he loses his leg?”

“Michael was involved in accident, that was not his fault, and due to unfortunate circumstances a decision had to be made, but his life was saved.”

Tears came to a mother's eyes. She was devastated and her son would be when she told him, when he woke up and saw for himself. How did a mother tell her son? Sam didn't exactly know what all this meant, but felt deep in her heart of hearts it couldn't be good. “And they did everything they could?” She wanted to make sure. She needed to know they had done everything in their power, to save her son’s life, and his leg.

“Yes ma'am.” answered Jude.

“You said you would save his leg.” Sam distressingly upset, and deservingly so.

In a quiet moment of this afternoon, Jude found time to think of all the things that had happened since she woke up this morning, and felt in all her regrets of today, one truly would haunt her, and here it was plainly staring her in the face. She knew the rules, and the proper procedures. Never give a patient false-hope if you didn't know what the outcome of their situation would be and she had. In her participation and her urgency to save Michael, she had given a young boy false-hope and there was no excuse. She knew better. She knew of the repercussions, and she would stand up in front of mother, God, and everyone and suffer from the consequences of her actions. She would accept it. It was the least she could do considering where she stood today and where Michael Barnett lay.

“Yes ma'am I did.” agreed Jude. There was no use in denying it because it was the truth. It was a mistake.

“You promised.” whispered Sam, just so Jude could hear her. Words spoken woman to woman, mother to friend, saint to savior.

“I know. It was a promise I should not have made,” whispered Jude back, hoping for a mother's forgiveness, praying for a woman's understanding. She didn't get it.

With no warning and no regret, Sam Barnett lunged her hand across Jude's face, and slapped her hard. In accepting, Jude was thrown a little off balance. Steadying herself, Jude would stand there and take it. She felt she deserved it.

“You bitch.” In anger and frustration Sam left her hand print across Jude's cheek, in being a mother protecting her son, she left a small cut under Jude's eye from the ring on her finger.

“Yes ma'am.” agreed Jude. Jude couldn't blame Sam, and she wouldn't hold it against her. What else could she do, she couldn't take back her promise, and she couldn't give back Michael his leg. Dr. Benton took Sam's arm and led her away.

“I'll take you to see your son.” spoke Peter softly. His words were warm and somewhat soothing for Sam in this her time of need.

Jude didn't know what to do she knew she deserved it. She looked at the tips of her fingers, softly touching the cut to her cheek; it didn't bleed too much. Dr. Kovac, in his compassion as both doctor and human bring tried to come to Jude's aid. He tried to see how bad her cut was, but she wouldn't let him. She instantly pulled away.

“Do not even go there.” She meant it. She didn't need him, his comfort or his compassion, his gentleness and caring. Her heartache instantly crushed her spirit. She could feel the tears prickling in her eyes and stopped them.

“You couldn't have known.” He meant about Michael's sudden change in surgery, she knew what he meant and it didn't help.

“I should have been more aware.”

“You were. You started fluids, controlled the bleeding, his vitals improved, we took him to the OR.”

“I should have...”

“You should have what, you did everything.” Luka was trying to be understanding, and consoling. He was considerate and decent, passionate and modest. He had become everything his mother wished bestowed upon him at birth, and she would be proud of the man who stood before a woman lost, trying to help her make sense of what this day meant. Jude couldn't look at him, she saw softness in his eyes, almost a yearning, and it frightened her. It excited him. He liked her innocence, her strength, and all the things she hid within herself, fearing if she didn't hold on tight to them, they would all slip out and she would be lost forever. He didn't want to push her. Standing this close to her was the sweetest heaven he had felt in a long time, and he could think of no other place he preferred to be right now.

She didn't want to talk about it, not with Luka. Showing him her fears and vulnerabilities just were not sacrifices she was about to make to a man she didn't know. Jude needed solitude, a friend who had been with her, her whole life. She had no one to help her. No one to give her the answers she desperately needed to find. Kerry was nowhere to be found, she forgot. Kerry was only downstairs. She needed Kerry to guide her or at least show her some of the way in this moment of her life.

“You did everything you could.”

Jude wouldn't let herself believe what he was saying. “If I did everything I could, that boy in there would still have his leg.” She didn't want to hear this, she wanted to blame herself, she needed to blame someone, there had to be a reason why a 17-year-old boy had to lose a leg. She didn't really know this boy, only met him this morning but she would take upon herself this burden of blame, it's the least she could do after-all, she had broken her promise.

Jude suddenly needed air; Jude suddenly needed to be alone. She needed Michael to have his leg back. She needed to wake up from this nightmare and start her first day of rotation at Cook County all over again. She walked over to the elevator, and Luka followed her.

“How about we grab a cup of coffee, run through everything and double check, what do you say?

“I say I don't think so.” She wanted to wallow by herself, not talk about the thoughts that raced around in her mind and what her heart felt, with a stranger.

“It might help?”

“You or me?” snapped Jude. The elevator doors opened, and they both walked in. Suddenly the doors didn't have a chance to close, Jude stopped them with her hand, and they opened again.

“I think I'll take the stairs,” explained Jude. She needed to clear her head, think things through, and make sense of the past twelve hours of her life. Jude found the stairs, and the elevator doors closed.

Dr. Luka Kovac took the elevator back to the ER by himself, the moments of the day racing around in his mind. He thought of all the things he could have done differently. He knew everyone had done everything they could to help Michael and in an unfortunate circumstance things had changed.

Michael Barnett suffered hemorrhage during surgery, and lapsed into shock for which he was treated and his life saved but his leg amputated.

Luka stepped out of the elevator, back into the busy ER and tried to find Jude. He wanted to try again, and make her understand she did what she could but he couldn't find her, and he was somewhat disappointed. He strolled into the lounge to take a well-deserved coffee break and found himself wondering about whom this woman was who had been thrown into his life, and almost instantly found a place there.

Dr. Jude Baker sat on the stairs in the stairwell of the third floor, peace and quiet surrounded her, and she liked it that way. She sat on the cold step lost in her thoughts and where this day had finally brought her. A new city. A new hospital. A new patient, and a doctor who had done nothing but tried to help and one she had treated badly. The gentleness of his words suddenly touched her heart and it terrified her. She would deny herself from everything that was Luka Kovac, his caring words, his gentle eyes, his soul, and his life. She couldn't let herself go through the trauma of losing someone else she cared about, and she liked the man more than she cared to admit, and wondered why through what could only be described as Michael Barnett's tragedy, she thought about a man, who had been thrown into her life, and almost instantly found a place there.


Jude walked into Albert’s room, with her bag and skates hanging over her shoulder, to check in on him. She was headed back to the hotel to pick up her stuff and head over to Kerry's place. She was going to stay with Kerry for a while, until she knew her way around the city. Jude had a train to catch that would stop right near the hotel but wanted to check in on Albert and Mary, and comfort them both in their time of need. There would always be another train.

Mary sat heavily in her chair, tortured by the sweet eyes of the husband she was going to watch leave on his journey to heaven. She had not left Albert's side since they arrived, and she was pleased when she looked up to see a familiar face from earlier in the night. She liked Dr. Weaver but this young woman was special. Mary could see it in her eyes. She had a soothing presence, and caring heart. Mary thought Jude too young to be a doctor, but the maturity and compassion that shine from her were of a woman twice her age.

Jude laid her skates on the floor and pulled over a stool to sit on the other side of Albert's bed. Two women smiled at each other, warmth and understanding felt. Jude took a book out from her bag and dropped her bag on the floor.

“I remember you telling me how Albert likes to read...me too. I thought he might like to hear some if that's okay with you, Mary?” asked Jude. She had not been able to save, a young boy his leg but she was sure she could ease a dying man painlessly to his death with gentle words.

“He would like that, my dear!” Mary was sure he would love it.

A wife of 55 years held her husband's hand, remembering the times she shared with the only man she loved with the entirety of her heart and spirit. A doctor on her first day of rotation turned the pages of a book that had been a favorite for as long as she could remember, and found the passage she liked best. A 77 year old man dying of lung cancer drifted in and out of sweet dreams, his hand being held softly by a woman he loved and cherished as much tonight as he did 55 years ago, and heard the voice of a gentle woman he didn't recognize but found comfort in.

Albert Edwards was not afraid of dying, he finally let himself drift from his pain into a deep sleep, feeling his wife's loving touch, and hearing what could only be described as an angel's voice.

**”They are farmers. They are not soldiers,” argued Bowen. “They have no weaponry, nor the skills to fight.” He didn’t send out a man to die and not know the risk. He didn’t send a man to his death and not know the fear. “They don't need swords. They need only their courage and will and their wits. Alone one man is a farmer but together, men make soldiers. Men with courage and hope and faith in what they believe in, make an army.” defended Juneau, his trusted companion in this fabled story of castles and kings, magic spells and kindred spirits. “If they go up against Giovanni, they will all surely die.” “Some sacrifices are worth making if left behind is a legacy of freedom.”**

Luka Kovac stood in the corridor, watching a wife and a doctor easing an old man's journey to death. He didn't know the wife, but he found himself wanting to know the doctor. He sat in the doctors’ lounge earlier, finishing up his charts for the day. He was heading home for another night alone, with no-one to talk to about his day and of the people he couldn't help let, change him, and found his thoughts mesmerized by a young woman he met this morning and had treated him as what could only be thought of as contempt. He somewhat found himself drawn to her and the sadness shadowing over her sweet face, wondering what it was that haunted her so deeply. He wondered what it meant. Why suddenly he desired to learn the wills and ways of Jude Baker. Experience her passions and her poisons, know her fears and vulnerabilities, her desires and needs and now he stood in the corridor seeing a completely different side of her, a side he liked, a side that gently touched his heart, webbed his soul, and burn in his mind.

Jude looked up and caught Luka staring. The moment between them almost intimate, a time between two lovers, which they were not. He suddenly wanted nothing but to get to know her better. She suddenly wished he were not so damn beautiful. Her nervousness showed, a vulnerability she hated people seeing.

His smile came out all wrong, or so he thought as Jude turned away, and went back reading to Albert. Frustrated as to why a man she didn't even know touched her heart so gently, and here upon this night, she made yet another promise to herself, that she prayed to God she would keep. She wouldn't like this guy, no matter how his soft gentle smile made her feel. He walked away down the corridor, looking forward to his shift tomorrow, and baby-sitting a new Resident who finally had shown up for work.

Jude cautiously looked up, hoping he didn't catch her taking another look, and was confused, what did it mean? His constant staring? His smile? She continued the story she picked to read to Albert who had passed away into a peaceful coma and distracted the thoughts of Luka Kovac from her mind. She questioned what it was doing to her. She feared the deep dark places it touched, the places when once touched cannot be healed. She was determined never to sacrifice her heart to another. She was not going to allow herself to be happy, to love or be loved by a gentle soul who would give her the life she so richly believed everyone deserved. She wouldn't allow herself the chance to be crushed so violently again. She would go through the rest of her life with what was left of her heart intact and her mind somewhat sane and never give the entirety of herself to another. This was a promise. A solemn promise. An oath, and just because Luka Kovac, had a nice warm smile, it didn't mean she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him.

Her first day of rotation at Cook County had not gone as planned. A young boy lost his leg and knew not what the future held for him. An elderly man dying from lung cancer did, and Jude Baker got through her first day of rotation, mind still sane, heart still intact, her soul a little dampened, and her thoughts still wondering to some, tall foreign guy she didn't like too much.


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