A Simple Twist of Faith


AUTHOR: Megan
EMAIL: oka@golden.net
CATEGORY: JC/PB angst/action/friendship
RATING: PG-13 for violence in some parts
SPOILERS: Ambush (ER Live) and general season 3
ARCHIVE: Anywhere, just let me know so I can visit your site :-)
DISCLAIMER: The characters in this story belong to ER and Warner Bros. (except for a possible few a may create)
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This fic takes place at the beginning of season 4, sometime after Ambush. Anna and Elizabeth are new characters to the show, so I won't write too much about them. Some of the stuff in here (like Peter having a brother) I have made up, but it doesn't interfere too much with the real ER storyline. I love feedback, and constructive criticism, so any comments are welcomed with open arms. Enjoy!
SUMMARY: A mistake seemingly made by Carter his dire consequences for him and his tenuous friendship with Benton, and leads to something no one else expected.



__________________________________________

The ER was a flurry of activity. People yelling, running around, patients being wheeled through the ambulance bay doors in a non stop flow. For the first time in a while, there was a mass casualty alert. A truck carrying propane had jack-knifed on the expressway, dumping it's contents. A spark ignited the fuel, sending the truck and surrounding vehicles into flames. The result was a never ending barrage of wounded.

"Carter!" Mark yelled. "Run up to the blood bank and get 5 units of o-neg!"

Nodding, Carter threw off the bloody gloves and gown, and took off at a run dodging people, equipment, and discarded medical garbage. As he ran by one of the rooms, the incessant wailing of an alarm hit his ears.

Quickly he turned around and ran back into the room to find a middle-aged man in v-fib, with no one around to help him.

"I need some help in here!" he yelled as loud as he could.

Carter ran to the corner of the room and retrieved the crash cart. Charging the paddles, he quickly lubricated them and applied them to the man 's chest. His body convulsed as the electric current passed through him. There was no change.

"Anyone! I need help in here!" he yelled again.

Frantically running to the cupboard he grabbed a bottle of epinephrine and a syringe. He ran back, set the bottle on the table incase he needed it again, and injected the fluid into the IV.

Shocking him again didn't help. Once again he yelled for help; receiving none. Suddenly the monitor changed, showing the man was flat lining.

Carter started CPR and continued fighting a losing battle.

****************************

Peter ran alongside his patient's gurney to the elevator, ensuring nothing happened. The shrill alarm of a cardiac monitor sounding from a room at the other end of the hall, and shouts for help, made him stop in his tracks.

"Elizabeth!" Peter yelled to the other surgeon. "Come take this guy up to the OR!"

Before Elizabeth could ask where he was going, he ran to the room where the alarm was.

Upon entering, he found Carter performing CPR on a patient that was in asystole.

"What the hell happened!" Benton demanded.

"I found him in v-fib. Gave him 2 rounds of epi, and shocked him. There was no response. He stopped breathing 30 seconds ago."

"How long has he been in asystole for?" demanded Benton, shoving Carter out of the way.

"Only about 1 minute, but he was in v-fib when I entered and I don't know for how long before that..."

"Start bagging him!"

They worked feverishly, but to no avail.

"Call it, Dr. Benton," Carter urged. He didn't like the look he was seeing on Peter's face.

At first, Carter thought Peter hadn't heard him, but then reluctantly Peter called it.

"Time of death, 13:52," Peter growled.

Carter stopped bagging and looked at Peter. The expression on his face was one of barely contained anger. Carter was so sure he'd done everything right. Why was Peter so mad?

"I...I called for help. Nobody came," Carter stuttered.

"You could have gone into the hall and dragged the next person who walked by in to help!"

"There was no time, I had to get his..." Carter started, but was interrupted by Mark.

"What's going on you two?"

"Carter's trying to explain why this patient died," Benton fumed.

"I didn't do anything..." Carter started.

"Exactly! You never do anything right!"

"Whoa! Hold on you two! Carter, would you please explain what happened?"

Carter explained the events that had transpired while Peter shot daggers at him with his eyes the whole time.

"....that didn't work so I gave him a shot of epi, and he went into asystole," Carter went on.

Upon hearing about the epi, Peter walked over to the table where a bottle and used syringe were sitting. Picking up the bottle, he read the label.

"Carter! This is potassium, not epinephrine!"

Carter stopped in mid-sentence, turning white as a sheet. Mark looked at Peter, shocked.

"What?" Mark asked, confused. "Surely you're misreading it."

"See for yourself."

Mark went over and looked at the label. Sure enough, it read 'Potassium'. Glancing back at Carter, he saw the horrified look on his face. He had turned as white as his lab coat.

"Carter," Mark started gently. "Is this what you gave him?"

"I...I'm not sure. I put the bottle on the table..I.....I'm so sure the bottle said epi. I thought..."

"That's the problem Carter! You don't think. You never have!" Benton exploded, finally letting his pent up frustration out. "You've always been clumsy. I knew one day your incompetence would get a patient killed. And you know what? I'm through with you. I..."

"Peter!" Mark yelled, interrupting Peter's tirade. "That's enough! I'm sure there's.."

"No, Mark. Don't make excuses for him," Benton growled, then stormed from the room.

Mark looked over at Carter. It was obvious he was on the verge of tears. Not only had the one person he admired and looked up to totally rejected and demeaned him, but he believed he had killed a patient. Mark knew Carter would destroy himself over this.

He couldn't accept the fact Carter could have been careless enough to inject the potassium. Sure he was clumsy, but he had never harmed a patient. Even in the most grueling traumas.

"Carter, listen to me. We'll get this sorted out," Mark started.

"No. I killed him," Carter whispered.

"He might not have had a chance anyway. Now, you said when you came in he was in v-fib?"

Carter nodded his head, staring at the ground the whole time.

"What happened when you gave him what you thought was epi?"

"He flatlined."

Mark went to the end of the bed and picked up the chart. Two things immediately jumped out at him. The first thing was the patient's condition. He was a terminal cancer patient with only a month or two left. The second thing was the name. Michael Benton.

"Carter, I've got some good news for you," Mark said, with a little too much false cheer in his voice. "The patient had terminal cancer. He didn't have much longer to live."

"And?" Carter snapped.

"What do you mean? There's no and."

"Don't lie to me, Dr. Greene. You're not very good at it," Carter accused.

"Uh... the patient was a relative of Peter's." As Mark said this, Carter managed to pale even more. "I'm not sure how closely related they are, but..."

"I killed a member of Peter's family. No wonder he's so mad at me."

"We'll get this sorted out Carter."

"It's over," Carter said as he quickly exited the room.

A few moments after Carter left, Carol came in.

"Mark? What's going on? I thought I heard yelling a moment ago and Carter looked like he'd seen a ghost."

"Carol, I..."

"Oh my gosh. He died?" Carol gasped, noticing the patient in the bed for the first time.

"You knew him?"

"Yeah. I was helping Dr. Benton treat him. You know they're related, right?"

"How closely?"

"He's Peter's brother."
__________________________________________________

Carter was grateful that his shift had been almost over, and had left the hospital as quickly as possible. He could still hear Benton's hurtful words in his head. *How could I have been so stupid?* he thought to himself. Angrily, he swiped at the tears clouding his vision as he drove home.

Once in his apartment, Carter stumbled into the kitchen. He stood looking out the window. *I was so sure I'd done everything right,* he thought to himself.

Outside, a car drove slowly down the street and parked in front of the building.



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