When a laboratory technician on the verge of retirement accidentally infects himself with blood from an emergency room patient, he intends to report it-- until government agents swarm the hospital, confiscating every sample of blood taken from the patient--at gunpoint. Deciding not to report the incident just yet for fear of being thrown into an isolation chamber, he goes home--and falls violently ill. By the time he recovers and returns to work, scary things are happening.
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Double Dragon Publishing
April 30, 2006
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Excerpt from Alien Infection by Darrell Bain
It could have happened to anyone. I just happened to be on duty in the lab that night when the accident victim came in.
"Laboratory. Mister Brandon speaking," I said very correctly, when the phone rang, already guessing what it would be. Most calls to the lab at that time of night were from either the emergency room or the intensive care unit and I had been to intensive care already just a few minutes ago. The blood from that patient was already in the chemistry unit being analyzed.
It was the Emergency Room. I picked up the tray containing all the phlebotomy supplies by its handle, automatically checking to be sure I had enough of everything; needles, vacutainers, syringes for hard to get veins, special needles for the syringes, alcohol sponges, cotton balls, band-aids and so forth. Everything was there, as I knew it would be. Checking the phlebotomy tray was always the first thing I did when coming on duty; that and getting a fresh pot of coffee going. I'm a caffeine addict.
Most small hospitals try to have the lab and X-Ray departments close to the emergency room but with Lamont Memorial in Lufkin, that wasn't the case. The building had grown in fits and starts as medical care changed and technology advanced. The lab was up on the second floor and down a long hall from the elevators. Most of the time I didn't wait on the elevators; I was getting old and needed to exercise. Taking the stairs when I got called was one way of getting it.
"Hi Mike," Sandy Jervis, the charge nurse said. "Room one."
"Thanks," I told her, not bothering to ask what the problem was. It really didn't matter to me. As long as I had been in the game, I had seen it all. Or thought I had.
The patient was lightly strapped to the gurney, with the ER doc and another nurse busy working on him. Carla, one of the nursing students, handed me the lab request forms. I glanced at them, then at the patient, and wondered what they wanted me for. The man on the gurney looked as if he were already dead. His face had that whitish gray pallor of death and I couldn't see his chest moving. His clothes had been cut away and a bloody sheet was pulled back up onto his chest, showing a massive trauma to both of his legs, as if he had been run over by a vehicle. The doc and nurse both had blood on them, a no-good way to be working in this day of AIDS, Hepatitis, Avian Pneumonitis and God knows what else the terrorists might be cooking up. The wounds had stopped bleeding and simply gaped open. I could see both the tibia and fibula, the lower leg bones of one of his legs. Both were shattered like someone had gone in with a big nutcracker and purposely crushed them.
"Is he still with us " I asked.
"Barely," the doc said, then looked puzzled. "It's not typical shock trauma, but damned if I can find anything else wrong besides his legs. Witnesses said it was a high speed vehicle accident." I didn't know the doctor's name. The hospital used contract docs for the ER and they came and went oftener than new Medicare regulations.