PERSONAL BAGGAGE
A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder

Chapter Five

This is a preview to the chapter Chapter Five from the book PERSONAL BAGGAGE by Margaret McMillion.
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Finding Mr. Harris’s bed stripped was no surprise when Penny entered Dixiana’s CCU on Sunday morning. Dr. Ghent had told the Harris family a week ago that the old man would not regain consciousness and had recommended moving him to a nursing home, but the Harrises had refused to have him transferred.

Arriving behind Penny, Maureen checked out the Unit. “You know what this means, don’t you? I’ll get pulled to somewhere I have no business going!”
Penny grimaced. “It makes me tired to work outside the Unit; I have to walk more and it’s hard to find what I need.”

“You aren’t the one who’ll have to leave! I should be used to it, but it gets harder every time,” said Maureen.

“Well, I feel guilty staying in here when you have to go out. It was better when we took turns. Maybe if we keep a low profile whoever’s supervising won’t notice we’re down to two patients.”

In the nurses’ lounge, Penny and Maureen stared at the bulletin board, on which the new rule was displayed:

CCU STAFFING POLICY UPDATE. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. UNIT SCHEDULING WILL CONTINUE AS BEFORE WITH ONE RN AND ONE LPN EACH SHIFT, BUT THE UNIT WILL BE STAFFED ACCORDING TO PATIENT ACUITY. NURSING SUPERVISORS WILL ADJUST STAFFING AS FOLLOWS: IF THERE ARE NO PATIENTS AND ONLY TELEMETRY MONITORING IS REQUIRED, A LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE IS PERMITTED TO DO THE JOB ALONE; IF ANY PATIENTS ARE PRESENT, A REGISTERED NURSE MUST OVERSEE THE UNIT; IF THERE ARE ONE OR TWO PATIENTS AND NEITHER IS ON A VENTILATOR, ONLY ONE NURSE IS REQUIRED.

After Report, Maureen was helping Lt. Commander Emmerson eat breakfast when Dr. Ghent unlocked the back door. “You nurses make me proud, but it looks like the better we do this job, the less business we have.”

From the doctor’s disheveled appearance, Penny guessed that he had been through a rough night. “Did you have to come in to pronounce Mr. Harris?”
“The ER Doc did it. We’ve got rent-a-docs back there twenty-four hours a day now, but I suppose you’re too busy learning about Jacksonville to keep up with the big things going on in our little town.” He bestowed a fatherly pat on Penny’s shoulder, then wrote an order to move Sylvia to the hall, and ordered a portable chest X-ray for Caroline Chumley, the patient he had readmitted yesterday and who last night had had a chest tube inserted to re-inflate her lung.

Maureen bathed Sylvia and wheeled her to the floor while Penny combined a bath and linen change with her assessment of Mrs. Chumley. Penny collected Sylvia’s meds and her chart in preparation for going out to give Report to South when Maureen returned, since both nurses could not be out of the Unit at the same time.

When Penny re-entered CCU from South, Maureen and Dr. Ghent were in grim-faced discussion. Maureen summarized their conversation. “Brenda said the linen-truck driver told her Dr. Wiseman died Thursday night, and one of the ambulance drivers told Dr. Ghent it was from an accident at the Jacksonville Hospital.”
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"Margaret McMillion's PERSONAL BAGGAGE is a very entertaining story of professional life within a corrupt medical community, and the toll..."

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