Somedays, Sharon wondered why she even bothered having a first name. Not wanting to cause Hill to scream some more, she jogged over to the nurses' station. "Present."
"The chopper called in, ETA is under ten minutes."
Which meant it was time to trek up to the roof. "This was the hiker in the fall?"
Hill nodded brusquely. "Newbury is already prepped, but we need you go meet them. Bring a nurse. Lewis or Marsh are both free."
Sharon wondered if the other woman knew anyone's first names or felt they were extraneous information. "Got it." She resisted giving Hill a salute and went to find her nurse.
She found Darcy Lewis first, loitering in the hallway outside the nurses’ station. “I heard there was a flight coming in.”
"There is. You up for sprinting duty?”
“As long as I can get a little ogling in, too.” The crew of the helicopter ambulance were, admittedly, rather hot.
"Of course." Darcy fell into step next to her as they headed to grab a gurney. "Climber in the desert. Fell. Looking at broken bones, internal injury. They're prepping the surgeon.”
“You page Orthopedics or you want Dr. Newbury to take a look at them first?”
"I'm gonna leave it up to Newbury. I'm guessing the bones will be the least of his problems.”
“Yeah, but they like to be warned, you know how ortho is.” They got into the elevator that would take them to the roof. Darcy set up the IV pole on the gurney as they rose.
"I'll update them once I've seen him. Right now I don't have much to tell them." She made a face. "They like details.”
“True.” The elevator doors opened on the roof, which was currently empty. The sun was setting and the lights were coming up on The Strip downtown. Tourists coming into Las Vegas saw the glittering casinos as sources of excitement and entertainment. By this point Sharon saw them as sources of alcohol poisoning, drug overdoses, broken noses, broken bones, food poisoning, and STDs.
She squinted at the horizon, but there was no sign of the helicopter yet. "Got any interesting plans for the weekend?" she asked Darcy. Weekend was probably a misnomer, none of them worked a Monday to Friday schedule. But days off were days off and Darcy would understand her meaning.
“My roommate’s parents are in town, they’re staying at the Mandalay Bay so she’s going to get me in to use to pool.” Darcy had a strange mission to swim in every hotel pool in Las Vegas. She proclaimed the giant fake-beach pool at that particular casino to be the best in town.
"Hey, that gets you under ten to go, right?"
Darcy grinned. "I like you, because you know that.”
The sound of the helicopter reached her, and she turned to find it in the sky. “There they are.”
“I’ll call downstairs and tell them we’re inbound,” Darcy said, going over to the internal-only phone on the wall by the roof door.
The helo's spot light lit up the landing pad and Sharon took a couple instinctive steps back, waving to make sure they saw her. When it set down the pilot turned the rotors off, and she and Darcy hunched and dashed towards it while they were still slowing down. The doors opened and the paramedics inside leapt out.
After the initial flurry of chaos of moving the patient onto the gurney, Sharon looked up at Barnes, the in-flight paramedic. "What do we have?"
"Both bones in the lower left leg broken, multiple cracked ribs. Internal bleeding suspected, we intubated to help with breathing." He rattled off the rest of the treatment as they pushed the gurney back to the elevator.
Barnes and Wilson, the flight nurse, followed them into the elevator to do the full hand off while on the way down to the ED. Wilson was giving Darcy a full patient history while Sharon did an exam. She didn’t like the way the man’s pupils were reacting. “We may need neurology,” she said, knowing Darcy would make a note. His skin was red and warm to the touch, but no fever. She looked back up at the two guys. “The burns on his face and arms, that’s sunburn?”
“Best we can tell,” Wilson replied, then added, “He’s from Seattle.”
"Clearly he came to our great state well prepared for the elements," she commented.
Newbury was waiting at the elevator doors when the got out and got the same breakdown, including the note about neurology. She made a face. "Neurology, great, my night wasn't irritating enough yet." She did her own pupil check and nodded. "You make the call, I'll scrub in."
"Try not to stab him with the scalpel," Sharon called after her. Amanda had a very. . . temperamental relationship with their neurosurgeon.
She had a page sent for neuro, and ortho while she was at it because that guy’s lower leg was trashed and it would probably need a look by someone who had more patience with fiddly ligaments than Amanda did.
Barnes and Wilson stopped at the Trauma Room doors, but Sharon and Darcy went in. Most of the rest of the team was waiting. She was little more than backup at this point, but it was amazing watching them work.
Amanda delivered clipped orders to the nurses as they prepped the patient. “We are conspicuously missing an anesthesiologist,” she said. “That’s kind of important.”
“He went to run a line in a junkie with trashed veins,” one of the residents piped up. Their primary anesthesiologist could probably draw blood from an ant. Deftest person west of the Mississippi, if you believed hospital gossip. He got paged a lot.
“Someday somebody is going to die because we can’t hire competent phlebotomists,” she muttered. “Somebody go get him.”
Sharon turn to open the door and yell for someone when the door swung open and nearly hit her—Dr. Barton on the other side. “Sorry, Carter.” He jogged around to the head of the table. “Hill told me ten minutes on the chopper,” he said to Amanda.
"Did she tell you that ten minutes ago?" she asked, but the tone was mild. Most surgeons Sharon knew had some level of attitude. The worst ones thought they were god. Amanda was demanding and pretty snarky, but generally knew that shit happened. As long as the patient got cared for, she let shit slide. "Let me know when I can start cutting.”
He was efficient, and the surgery was underway quickly. She really wanted to stay for when neuro showed up, because Amanda and Dr. Stark going around and around was usually super entertaining, but her pager went off.
It was an entire family of tourists with salmonella, helping cement Sharon’s feeling that the all-you-can-eat buffets everyone in this town loved were a disaster waiting to happen. Sometimes it did happen.
If the buffet was bad, they might be in for a flood of people—and it also meant she had to file a report with the health department. It was time for her break, so she took her paperwork and charts with her to the break room.
The guys from the helicopter were in there, including the pilot, whom she saw five times a day but had never actually met because he didn’t usually get out.
"Hey," she said, dumping her papers at an empty spot on the table before heading to the coffee maker. "You guys actually getting a break?”
“Amazingly it does happen sometimes,” Barnes said.
The pilot—who was blond and square jawed and broad shouldered and looked kind of like a movie star—reached out his hand to her. “Hi. Steve Rogers.”
"Sharon Carter." She shook his hand. "Nice to meet you. Officially.”
“He knows your name,” Barnes said, causing Wilson to kick him and Rogers to close his eyes.
"I am pretty famous," she said easily, not really sure what that was about. She added some sugar and a little of the flavored creamer she, Darcy and a couple of the others nurses rotated buying and took a seat.
“How is he?” Rogers asked. “The hiker?”
"Still in the Trauma Room, far as I know. I had to leave to deal with some other patients, but Newbury was doing her thing and we had two more specialists on the way. There was some internal bleeding, but she said his lungs looked good.”
“His wife’s on her way but it’s a long drive. I told her I’d call her with an update.”
"I can check in, but that's probably the only news we'll have for a while."
"No, that's fine. I think she'll appreciate anything I can give her."
Sharon nodded. "I'm happy to talk to her, if she wants more info." She was sure Rogers could pass the information on accurately, but some people really liked knowing they were talking to a doctor.
He grinned. "She'd probably like that a lot. She's driving alone down 93 in the dark. I want to make sure she makes it here."
"Ouch. Yeah. Let's not add to the casualty count tonight." She gestured to her paperwork. "This can wait if you want to try to get her on the line now."
He nodded, and pulled out his phone to dial. He put it to his ear. "Hi, Mrs. Cooper. This is Steve from the Air Ambulance. Good news, but you should pull over anyway." He tapped the table while he waited. "Okay. I'm going to put you on the phone with one of our doctor who treated Jeff. Her name is Sharon." He smiled at Sharon and held out the phone.
She took it and put on her "talking to the family" smile so it would come through over the phone. "Hi, Mrs. Cooper, this is Sharon Carter, I'm the attending physician on your husband's case. He's in the trauma room having surgery right now, but the last I saw he was stable and his internal injuries weren't as severe as we'd initially feared."
"Thank you," she said quietly. "Do you think he'll be alive when I get there?"
"I do," she said firmly. "Dr. Newbury is the head surgeon working on him, she one of the best trauma surgeons in the country. She'll pull him through. You take your time, drive safe, and when we get here I'll hopefully have more news for you."
"Thank you," she said, her voice cracking a little. "Thank you very much."
"You're very welcome. Drive safe," she reminded her again before they hung up.
"Thank you," Rogers said, taking his phone back. "I miss the Blackhawks from the Army. We could have taken a stowaway."
"You were a pilot in the Army?" The pilot they'd had before him had been civilian, but she understood from doctors at other Level 1s that was pretty rare.
He nodded. "I flew MEDVAC. I like the lack of bullets and RPGs in this current gig."
“Well, thank you for your service. Then and now."
Barnes tipped his head back. "You know, I bet there's parts of the desert we could fly over to get the bullets and RPG feel."
"Hilarious," Rogers deadpanned. Then he looked at his watch. "We probably should roll." He smiled at Sharon. "Nice to meet you, Dr. Carter."
"You too. Nice to have a name withe the face."
She watched them leave. He had a nice ass to go with the face, too.
A page allowed her to procrastinate on her paperwork, so it was still waiting for her at the end of her shift. She ended up camped out with it back in the break room at the end of her shift an hour later, and was still filling out that stupid Health Department form when the break room door swung open and Amanda came in.
"Hey. How did the surgery on the hiker end up?"
"Really well. And I didn't stab Stark with a scalpel." She sat across from Sharon. "Mostly because I didn't need him."
"Neurology came back clean?" The pupil abnormality could have had a lot of sources, but she was glad someone with Stark's qualifications made the call rather than her.
"Yep. Patient is a very lucky man. Odinsson said he'd need a second round of surgery on the leg, but I think he'll make a full recovery. "
The door swung open and Barton came in. "Hiker's wife is here. I got ambushed coming out of the room." He went over to the coffee pot and poured himself a mug. "Hill needs to not let them just wander the hall. I hate people."
"That's why you make them unconscious for a living," Amanda told him.
Sharon got to her feet. "I'll go talk to her, we already spoke on the phone."
"I talked to her," Barton said defensively. "I'm not an ogre. I gave her an update and sent her to follow transport taking him upstairs."
Amanda reached over an patted his arm. "Oh, good for you, Barton."
Sharon shook her head. "Well, I'm off the clock, but I'll poke my head in. See you guys tomorrow."
"I'm off tomorrow," Amanda told her. "I'm going to pretend to consider going to the gym, decide I can't deal with all the asshole meatheads, and eat a piece of cake."
"You should probably cancel your membership," Sharon told her. "There are no gyms on earth without asshole meatheads."
"There are those women's gyms where they do zumba and lift pink hand weights."
"Just a different kind of asshole," Sharon said. "At least the meatheads don't insinuate I'm fat."
Amanda shrugged. "I'm really gonna enjoy that cake."
"Are you into machines?" Barton asked. "Carter," he clarified. He looked at Amanda. "I know you've got a date with Sara Lee."
"It's from a bakery, I'm not a heathen."
"I don't use machines much," Sharon said, ignoring Amanda's indignation. "Mostly I want a variety free weights and some punching bags to practice martial arts on. A treadmill or elliptical is just a bonus."
He nodded approvingly. All you could really see in baggy scrubs were arms, but Barton's arms clearly lifted something heavy fairly often. "You should try my gym. It's run by an angry Russian lady who puts up will less bullshit than I do—which is saying something. You don't behave you get tossed. Literally. I've seen dudes thrown."
"Oh, my God, I'm so down for that."
"Hell, I might be down for that," Amanda said.
"It's called Red's, it's just off the strip. Neighborhood is a little sketchy, make sure you lock your car."
"Got it. I'll give it a try next time I'm off."
Before she went to change to go home, Sharon went upstairs to find Mrs. Cooper, who was so happy to see her, she gave her a hug.
"There's gonna be a lot of specialists coming in to talk to you," Sharon warned her. "If you get confused talk to the nurses, they're always on top of stuff. I work nights, so I won't see you much, I'll try to pop in again later in the week. But everything on his chart says he'll be just fine. Dr. Newbury told me he's a very lucky guy."
"Thank you. So very much."
"You're very welcome. I hope someday you guys can come back and have a better visit. Maybe skip the hiking.”
She chuckled. “I’d be happy to never hike again.”
"Good plan." Sharon checked his chart, accepted another hug and went on her way, waving to the nurses station as she did so.
She ducked into the locker room to change for the drive home, then stopped by the ED desk before heading out. "Hey, is the chopper still out?"
Hill was off duty, but the morning shift version of her checked the wall and nodded. "On their last run now. Half hour ETA."
"Can you do me a favor, radio 'em and tell the pilot the hiker he brought in earlier made it? He was concerned."
"I'll pass it on.”
Sharon thanked her and headed out. One of the nice things about living in a town like Las Vegas was that if you wanted to, you could get dinner at 5AM. And she really wanted a burger right now.