The Weak Link
“Mister.” Mark felt a light tug at his coat. He turned to see and little boy
staring up at him. He was no more then five years old. “Where’s the
bathroom?” He asked. Mark pointed.
“Just over there, first door.” Mark returned to his chart. He hadn’t read
more then two lines when he heard a loud shriek. He turned towards the
bathroom and saw the little boy, his head disappeared about the edge of the
door. He was screaming now, every eye turned to the door. Mark rushed to the
bathroom, knowing personally what could happen in one. Whatever he thought
didn’t prepare him for what he was about to see. Dave was slouched in the
corner, as if he had nodded off to sleep. His wrists laid palm up at each of
his sides, bleeding profusely.
Mark didn’t even hesitate. “Quick, someone help me in here!” he cried.
Kerry was the first to come. She had been at the desk and had heard the
screams. “Oh my God!” She gasped but did not enter, she knew that with her
useless leg she couldn’t help. “Quick! Everyone! It’s Dave!”
It took only seconds for Carter to appear in the doorway, but to Mark it
was a lifetime.
“What happened?” Carter asked, though it was obvious.
“We need a gurney in here!” Mark called loudly, then softer so only Carter
could hear. “We need to stop the bleeding. There, you take that wrist.”
They sat there desperately trying to keep the blood inside their friend’s
body, closing the slits with their hands and waiting, waiting for someone to
come. By the time a gurney arrived Mark and Carter were soaked in blood up
to the elbows of their lab coats. Haleh gasped as she helped push the gurney
towards them. “OK nice and easy like.” Mark said. Him and carter kept their
grips on the wrists and let Haleh. Chuny and Malik hoist him onto the
Mark pushed the gurney rapidly to trauma 2. “Anyone know Dave’s Blood
“No,” Chuny answered. “But I can get it.”
“Do that, get some 0+ down here while we wait. He’s losing a lot of blood.”
“His pressures dropping.” Haleh announced.
“He’s not breathing!” Malik said hurriedly. “He’s in V-Fib!”
“Paddles!” Mark called. “Charge 100....Clear!” Dave’s body jerked upward.
“Still in V-Fib!”
“Charge 200....Clear!” Mark called immediately.
“Sinus rhythm!” Malik called, relief in his voice. Mark inwardly sighed, but
tried to show no emotion.
“Let’s try to close these up before he bleeds to death.” Mark said in his
regular sarcastic tone.
“Suture kits and the 0+.” Chuny said as she entered the room.
“OK. Two bags on the rapid infuser, and lets stitch him up.”
“OK, he’s stable.” Mark said, stripping off his gloves and throwing them in
the trash. “Has anyone contacted any family?” he asked. Haleh stepped up.
“I tried, but I couldn’t get a hold on anyone.” She said.
“OK, try again. Let’s keep someone in here at all times. When he wakes up
get me.” To someone who didn’t know Mark he sounded harsh, but everyone knew
he was feeling as much as everyone, if not more.
Even though everything was done nobody left the room. They all stared at
Dave’s limp body. Haleh was the first to speak.
“I don’t.... I don’t know how many times I’ve seen him sleeping. I saw him
this morning for Christ’s sake.” she paused and took a deep breath. “But
now... He’s not the same. Now he looks different.” without any words
everyone looked at him and silently agreed. He did look different.
“We were kind of mean to him weren’t we?” Jing-Mai asked. She and Carter
were sitting in the lounge, Carter had taken off his lab coat but there was
still some dried blood on his arms.
“Yes, but he was always acting mean and deserving it.” Carter said lamely.
“But we never told him anything nice about himself did we? It could have
been a personal defense mechanism. Maybe it was really a cry for help, and
none of us were listening.” Jing-Mai said. “Whatever it was he apparently
wasn’t who we thought he was.” with that she walked off, leaving Carter.
Carter decided to find Benton. It was the first person he thought of and
they had a special bond. He found him in Exam 4. He was just finishing with
a patient. Carter decided to wait outside for him, but not before letting
him no he was there. Benton finished up and came out to join Carter. “What
up Carter?” he asked, looking at him for a moment.
“Benton, if you were to describe Malucci in one phrase what would it be?”
“Self-assured.” Benton said without hesitation. Carter sighed, it was the
answer he had expected. “What’s the matter?” Benton asked, knowing now that
something was wrong.
“I guess you haven’t heard.” Carter said softly. Benton was looking at him
“I have been working with that patient for over half an hour, and I was with
one before that.” Carter didn’t wait, he just blurted it out.
“He tried to kill himself.” he looked down at his feet. Benton stopped
“Dave, he tried to kill himself. In the ER bathroom. He was on duty.” Carter
paused, looking at his feet and holding back tears. “I held his wrist in my
hands. Me and Mark. We had to stop the bleeding. He was already unconscious
but...” Carter was cut off by a tidal wave of emotion.
Benton looked around. “Here, lets go in here.” He said, leading Carter to
an empty room. He guided Carter to a bed and sat him on it. Carter was
openly crying now. Even in the dark room Benton could see the terrified look
on his face. Carter stared at Benton for a while, then looked at his hands,
studied them. There was a great deal of dry blood on them. Benton saw this
and knew he had to do something.
“Carter.” He said slowly. “I want you to stay here. I’m going to go check on
Dave (he was purposely using his first name), and I’ll get you something to
clean your hands with OK? Just stay here.” Benton stayed staring at Carter
for a while, when he knew he understood he got up and left.
As soon as he was out the door he went to admitting. “Jerry, I don’t want
anyone to go into Exam 4. Is that clear.” Jerry nodded, he knew Benton’s no
non-sense tone. “Where’s Mark?” He asked. Jerry merely pointed. Benton
followed his finger and saw Mark emerging from a room. Benton walked briskly
over to him.
“I just heard about Dave.” he said bluntly.
“Sorry we didn’t inform you. We didn’t really have time to call everyone.
He’s stable now though.” Mark motioned through the window.
To Benton it looked like Dave, but didn’t seem like him. Benton was used to
smiles and witty remarks. “My...” was all he managed to say. It took him a
moment to break out but he finally turned to Mark.
“Carter’s not doing so well.” he said simply.
“Carter helped me with Dave when we first found him. I think it was too much
for him. I should of gotten someone else, but we didn’t have any time.”
“I agree, but he is pretty shaken up. Maybe you should talk to him. First I
need to get some wet paper towels.” With that he walked off to the bathroom,
noting a particularly bloody spot, and got some towels.
The psyche consult came out of the room and walked up to Greene and Weaver.
“He’s still unconscious, but I can tell you something without even talking
“Yes Bill?” Weaver asked.
“The fact that he did it here at the hospital tells me something. Either he
did it in a sudden act of desperation. Or, more likely, he had been
thinking about it for quite some time, years maybe, and did it here for a
reason. Probably because he wanted you to see what was happening. Probably
because he knew you would save him.” Bill went silent for a while, letting
them soak it in, then spoke again. “I’ll be upstairs, you can call me when
he wakes up.” Then he walked away and turned the corner.
Green and Weaver stood silent for a while. Weaver was the first to talk.
“How could this happen? Did anybody expect it?”
“I don’t think so. He didn’t even seem depressed. This was more of a shock
then Carol was.”
Carter walked into Dave’s room and stood next to the gurney, and solemnly
looked down at the sleeping figure on it. He was startled when it talked,
“What did I do?” it asked quietly. Carter took a deep breath.
“You tried to kill yourself.” Almost immediately Dave responded.
“ Oh, God.” Dave instinctively tried to bring his arms p to cover his eyes
and the newly forming tears, but they were strapped down. Carter stood and
watched awkwardly and then finally decided to undo the restraints. Dave
brought his arms to cover his face.
Carter had never seen him cry, or sad for that matter. He guessed he’d just
assumed that Dave was never sad and never cried. Come to think of it he had
only seen Malucci normal and angry. Suddenly Dave sat up and leaned his
forehead against Carter’s stomach.
“What did I do?”
Kerry sat, catching her breath before she got back to work. *I yelled at
him* she thought *I made fun of him*.
“Don’t blame yourself, no one knew he was depressed.” Mark entered.
“How is that possible?” She asked angrily. She sniffed, she was starting to
cry. “We’ve seen hundreds of them haven’t we?” She looked up at mark, her
eyes watery. “Depressed, committing suicide, on drugs. We always know what
the patients are experiencing. And yet... Yet we never even think about it
when it comes to people we know. We don’t do we? I mean Carol, Carter, and
now Dave? What’s wrong with us?” She was all and out crying now. Mark came
and kneeled to be eye to eye with her.
“Kerry, Kerry listen to me. We can’t change what has happened. No one can.
What’s done is done. We can’t blame ourselves. Right now all we have to do
is be supportive. OK?”
“Yeah, right.” She answered solemnly