Chapter Twelve: Repercussions

Jane Knutley sat down at her desk and logged on to her computer. While she waited for E-mail to load and her computer's startup processes to complete, she took the time to put her purse into her bottom file drawer in her desk and set her cellphone on the desk in the exact position it occupied every time she was in her office. She kept telling herself that she wasn't obsessive compulsive about things like that, and yet she had to be honest enough with herself to admit that it really bothered her when things were out of their normal places. Hence, the cellphone sat in a space of empty desk precisely four inches to the left of her desk phone and four inches to the right of where her coffee cup would be situated later.

She sipped from the espresso cup; the double half-caff nonfat latte was her one concession to luxury in the morning. Jane stopped by an espresso stand in her neighborhood each morning on her way in to the clinic to buy her one latte of the day. She would sip on that drink, trying to savor it as long as possible to counter the feelings of guilt for spending so much money for coffee. She told herself the pleasure was worth the five dollar price plus tip to indulge herself just a little. She tipped the cup higher to drink the very last drops of her latte, and then dropped the paper cup into her waste basket and dabbed at her mouth with the napkin.

By the time she had completed this minor ritual, her computer had finished loading her programs and the E-mail was ready for her to see what the day would bring. The first look down the list of senders showed an unusually high occurrence of hospital board members. Jane frowned and began opening each one in turn. Ten minutes later she was feeling a need to panic; it seemed that overnight one of their doctors had attacked a patient and then attempted to drag him forcefully from the hospital. Doctor Haven had somehow snapped while working with one of his patients, a Charles Thompson, and had attacked the man. When orderlies had come to investigate the noise, they had found Dr. Haven slapping the patient and screaming at him. When they tried to intervene, Haven had knocked them senseless and proceeded to drag Charlie from the room.

Jane started to reach for the phone to call the head of the security office downstairs when she realized the E-mail stated that this had happened before midnight. The answers she was looking for was most likely here in her inbox. She read on through her other messages. She soon pieced together the incident enough to discover that the patient was safe and in his room. He had been sedated, but seemed to be resting well after the ordeal. Doctor Haven had fled the facility and could not be located; local police were alerted and had begun searching for him.

"Oh what a mess," Jane said out loud. How will we recover our reputation once the media hears that one of our most respected doctors went crazy and attacked a patient? Jane thought.