Chapter 37. Las Vegas, Declaring A Medical Emergency
The jet punched a hole in the air as it sped over the horizon, taking a direct line to the desert city, shining like a jewel in the barren land.
They had to get down, Tom’s arm was showing signs of decompression illness, a kind of compartment syndrome that blocked blood from circulating in his arm. If it was up to Captain Watson, she’d have an ambulance waiting for him to get him to the medical center emergency room.
Pushing the limits of the rated engine’s power until they could not go any faster, Captain Watson managed to shave a measurable amount of time off the trip. A planned orbit of the city that would give the passengers a view of the beauty of it, even during the daylight the view was glorious. The Captain skipped the flyover and they saved a half-hour to get him on the ground.
Captain Watson would never say it outside of the conversation with her first officer sitting to her right.
“The fool flew too soon.”
“Did he have medical clearance?”
“No, I would bet not.” Regina said as she got cleared for her approach, declaring a medical emergency and ordering a paramedic unit.
The wheels touched with a feather like control that Watson used. A fine pilot, she never bounced the passengers or her planes if it was humanly avoidable.
As they taxied to the private terminal, she heard Tom moan loudly with a profanity.
“We need to expedite this. That medical problem is growing worse back there, Captain.” Kevin spoke quietly.
“Check on EMS, be sure they’re cleared to meet us when we stop.” There was no room for questions. “I will speak with Thomas Harte and see what is going on with his arm.”
“Affirmative that.” Kevin nodded, patting his shirt, confirming the mobile phone that resided there was still in place.
Coming to a stop, Captain Watson stood and walked to the rear of the cabin where Kaylee and Tom sat.
“Everything alright?” The Captain could see it was not, Tom was pale, perspiration shined on his forehead.
“Just a bit of an ache.” He hissed through gritted teeth.
“His fingers have gotten darker red, but they are still warm.” Kaylee said.
“Would you let me call you an ambulance?”
“You can.” Tom moaned when he moved his arm. “But I will always be human. Just don’t call me late for dinner.”
Kaylee looked at Regina and sighed.
“I already ordered an ambulance before we stopped. It is coming now.” Captain Watson said.
“I should have let Kaylee carry the bag.” Tom winced.
“Is that is what is going on?” Regina raised an eyebrow. She observed a light pink stain on the bandages that covered surgical wound. “You have saturated the bandages. Look, I can have you back in San Francisco in under an hour.”
“No.” Tom grimaced. “We just need to change the dressings and take a look. I strained it when we packed and I moved the bag.”
“What did they do for you, Tom?”
“They had to graft a vein they took out of his butt.” Kaylee said.
Regina almost laughed, but no one in the world knew.
“I might have over-stressed it.” Tom admitted. “Maybe you can hold over the next few hours, I’ll pay extra.”
“We have another assignment, Tom. But I’ll see what I can do.” Captain Watson said.
“Okay, we can wait until the morning after we get clear of the courts.” Tom looked like he was feeling better.
“But your arm?” The Captain asked.
“We will change the dressing and see what it looks like…”
“It’s gross.” Kaylee nodded.
“But I have finger movement.” Tom said as he wiggled his fingers with obvious discomfort.
“Well, let’s get you somewhere to get the dressing changed.” Kaylee growled. “We have to get to a doctor where we can check that arm right away.”
“Do you know where you are going?” Captain Watson asked.
“I don’t. But we have a rental car here, somewhere.” Tom moaned slightly. Turning his head to look out the window, the paramedic ambulance was coming down the taxi-way.
“Let me give you a directive. You will go by ambulance to the ER straight away.” The Captain said and turned to the Co-Captain who nodded and dialed the tower.
“Thomas, you do not allow yourself to become a wreck. I have a seven-year-old nephew that loves your books. He even has a model of the flying yacht you have. It’s painted in the colors of the Pacific Wizard.” Her tone betrayed her normal professional façade.
“Seriously. I will come fly your jet for you if you need.” Kevin Nunez said. “I hear you have a twin-engine yacht.”
“With wings. And I’ll refuse service.” Tom added, trying to laugh, failing and moaned out a profanity instead.
“That does it, I’m taking him to the emergency room to get that checked out.” Kaylee said and stood up. “Come on, trouble. The ambulance is here.”
“I’m not trouble.” Tom with a strained grin, got up. “I just write it.”
“Yeah. Trying to lift stuff, you refuse to listen, over exert that wound that we spent a million dollars to put back together.” Kaylee growled.
“It wasn’t a million dollars.” Tom said.
“The final bill has not come in, they were charging forty-five bucks a pill for over-the-counter acetaminophen.” Kaylee grumbled. “And you took a lot of pills. It might be a million dollars in the end.”
Two uniformed people stepped on board, a man and woman, both with patches that said “Paramedic” on their chests and back, kneeled next to Tom and took report.
“Maybe. But that is what I have health insurance for.” Tom said in between questions as they escorted Tom from the chartered jet and he bid farewell to the pilots as they went about securing their race-car of the sky.
Tom sat on the ambulance gurney and Kaylee walked next to him while the medics wheeled their patient to the waiting EMS unit. The medic in charge motioned to the second with three fingers.
The EMT nodded without a word, got out of the ambulance before he finished his procedure and got into the driver’s seat.
It took a moment while he sat Kaylee in the front passenger’s seat and made sure she wore the seatbelt, then got in behind the wheel and made a radio report.
“Medic-27 enroute Med-center code 3, one passenger, one patient.”
The radio echoed his report and confirmed the destination.
“Okay, ma’am. Do not ever drive like I am about to do.” He winked and flipped an overhead switch, she could hear clicks of relays as navigated the ambulance around in a careful turn back the way they came. The EMT never used the siren until they got to the gate and out into traffic.
In the back, she could hear the medic describe the serious medical problem.
“ETA 4 minutes.” The medic in the back could have just told someone when lunch would arrive.