A Tale of Marriage, Medicine and Murder


This is a list of how often and where the term 'hospital' appears in the book PERSONAL BAGGAGE.

Search result for 'hospital' in PERSONAL BAGGAGE

Chapter 1: Chapter One
"... at Penny. “How are things with you?” Avoiding a direct reply, Penny shifted her gaze to the mailbox. “Did you see in the paper that the county has sold River Park hospital to the corporation that built Jacksonville Medical Center?” “No, but I know many hospitals are ..."
"... River Park Hospital to the corporation that built Jacksonville Medical Center?” “No, but I know many hospitals are struggling because Medicare and insurance companies have cut back reimbursements.” Penny faced her neighbor. “I’m changing jobs: I am going to work full-time at ..."
"...Penny faced her neighbor. “I’m changing jobs: I am going to work full-time at the Jacksonville hospital.” She paused, afraid her friend would disapprove. Jacksonville Medical Center, a new 300-bed hospital, was 75 miles northeast of the town of Dixiana. Penny would begin her new job the next morning. ..."
"... weekend work.” Misty widened her eyes and smiled. “That hospital in Jacksonville is larger and more progressive than ours. You’re wise to make a change before the situation here grows any worse. It’s a long commute, though. Be careful driving home in the mornings!” More than a ..."
"...hospitald assumed that when the need arose she would be the one who would take care of her parents in the same way in which her mother had cared for her grandparents, but it had turned out that she and her husband, Johnny, a high school coach and history teacher, ..."
"...on a practice sheet of drug calculations at the kitchen table. For some reason, math was harder for her than it used to be, and it had been a while since she had grappled with problems like these because manufacturers packaged most drugs in individual portions. The hospital pharmacists dispensed the others already measured, and nurses only double checked the doses. ..."
"...“Did you finish?” Penny asked, not listening to his reply. Johnny knew Mr. Puckett, the hospital’s administrator, better than she did. Her husband could say something chummy to anybody, and he knew everybody because he volunteered for everything; he volunteered out of sheer habit! He was a serial do-gooder who could chop down all the telephone poles in town and still qualify for ..."
"...the next. She remembered working eight-hour night shifts, ten on and four off, and dragging herself out of bed before the children arrived home from school. After supper and baths, when they were tucked in, she sometimes cried as she folded laundry before returning to the hospital to work again. ..."
"...Penny’s uncertainties swarmed in. She must have been crazy to think she could work in Jacksonville! It took all her energy just to make it from one day to the next, and yet she was vegetating in Dixiana. At the big hospital, she would learn to manage Swan lines and assist with pacemaker insertions and she could take part in new procedures she had only read about. She wanted to work in a larger hospital, and she had already accepted the job! ..."

Chapter 2: Chapter Two
"...She rinsed her coffee cup at the sink and wet her dry mouth with a swallow of water, then in a stoic tone explained her reasoning again. “My salary will be higher, and I can learn more; it’s a big hospital where they do advanced procedures.” Her voice rose. “I thought this would be a good thing to try.” ..."
"...It was only a short distance to Recovery Road. Suddenly energized, Penny turned and accelerated into the hospital lane. Surging forward, her Chevette whomped over the first speed breaker and rebounded before hitting the second one with another jarring thud. Clenching her jaw and jamming down the brake pedal, she slowed the car enough to bounce over the third bump. Hoping nobody noticed, she ..."
"...Inside the employees’ entrance a message board directed her to the right along a hall to the hospital’s classroom, where a stack of selected policies adorned each desk. Her mind in a frenzy, Penny read and reread the words, trying to remember everything. She studied a long form with carbon copies which were to be passed along to several departments. Of course! Reporting ..."
"... start again with ABC. After lunch, and after watching demonstrations on operating nursing equipment, Penny joined new employees from other departments to watch a video analyzing a hospital fire in which smoke was not controlled and three-fourths of the patients had died. The mood shifted from ..."
"... fire. Before starting home, Penny stopped at the hospital grill for lemonade and a sandwich, and a platinum blond she recognized from the fire in-service sat down beside her at the counter. Her brown bloodshot eyes were rimmed with black eyeliner, which had smudged down her cheeks. ..."
"...hospitalher alarm, she looked forward to spending tomorrow with Maureen, who had been her friend for the past ten years. Maureen had cleaned and cooked for a doctor’s household through high school and after graduation had worked as an aide in the now-demolished old City hospital while studying to ..."

Chapter 3: Chapter Three
"...The Dixiana hospital appeared, a sprawling fortress shrouded in mist. Penny circled behind it, continuing to the end of the parking area because of a recent regulation requiring that employees park on the back row of the lot in order to leave the closer spaces for visitors. She pulled in ..."
"...Maureen was extra nice to Brenda, who that morning displayed an afghan she had crocheted from the pieces of string that bound hospital sheets and towels into stacks when they returned from linen service. “This beats anything I’ve seen.” Maureen complimented her, then pumped her for interesting news tidbits. ..."
"... tidbits. After all, housekeepers knew what took place all over the hospital. They vacuumed up information along with the dirt, then took their “break” together and discussed everything from screw ups to affairs. Neither life nor death stood in the way of housekeeping breaks. Maureen ..."
"...Maureen listened to Brenda, her expression respectful, her dark eyes shifting occasionally in a reflective way. Maureen was a walking encyclopedia of people who had passed through the hospital. She remembered their names, what they looked like, what had been wrong with them, and the dates and details of events to which she added her own philosophical comments. ..."
"...Before long, Dr. Samuel Scales unlocked the back door. In this home-town hospital, doctors were on call 24/7 and were required to visit their patients every day, unless they designated another physician to cover for them. The grinning, forty-five-year-old physician swung his arms, spreading the scent of Brut Cologne. His patient, an elderly man recovering from a severe respiratory infection, ..."
"...Unit, and there was blood everywhere when Penny called the supervisor for more. The supervisor brought what ER had, plus all the kits she found in Central Supply, and told Penny to document the incident for the Director of Nurses. The questionable event had been reviewed by hospital board members, who had required that Dr. Scales receive training in subclavian insertion. ..."
"...of Critical Care, meandered in from the hall. He gave a nearly invisible nod to Dr. Scales. The two men had no affection for each other because Dr. Ghent had been Chief of Staff during the subclavian controversy, and he had pushed to have Dr. Scales’s hospital privileges revoked. ..."

Chapter 4: Chapter Four
"... to go back to sleep.” “Probably a spirit.” Responding to Penny’s dubious expression, Maureen continued. “Old City hospital was haunted, built on an Indian burial ground–-didn’t I tell you about that? Strange things were all the time happening.” “Like what?” “I ..."
"...The phone startled them and Maureen, champion sticker of the hospital, agreed to start a difficult IV down the hall. She approached the Unit door as it swung open to admit Buck, who had come to chart results on some tests that had been sent to another hospital because the Dixiana lab lacked the equipment to run them. ..."
"...Buck was perched on the desk leaning forward, his shoulders slumped and his limp arms supported on his knees. He gave Penny a brief sideways glance from under bushy, half-moon eyebrows, then shifted his gaze to the ceiling. “It’s wife’s pregnant and my hospital insurance won’t cover her because I haven’t been here long enough.” ..."
"... into her husband’s car she collapsed.” Maureen positioned the wheelchair next to the empty bed just inside the door. The nurses replaced the patient’s clothes with a hospital gown, helped her to lie down, then connected her to the heart monitor. Maureen yelled over her shoulder as she ..."
"... valve. We got him off to Jacksonville fast and we were pretty busy the whole rest of the day.” “That’s not too good for business,” Johnny said, referring to the hospital’s low census. “Well, Maureen and I caught the problem fast, and Dr. Lawrence sent the guy for emergency ..."

Chapter 5: Chapter Five
"...hospitalny 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.” ..."
"...Dr. Wiseman had spilled her brilliance all around, and had brought their hospital up to date with new policies and new equipment. Penny admired the fierce way in which the woman had stood up to Dixiana’s older physicians when any one of them, having fixed on an idea, became as unwielding as a slab of marble. Moreover, Dr. Wiseman had ..."
"... appreciation. Knocked off-balance like a tree with shallow roots in a windstorm, Penny phoned each station in the hospital to avoid overhead paging, which might alarm Mrs. Spoonhouse’s family. Finally, she located the supervisor on Obstetrics and explained the situation. “Okay. Get ..."
"...“Mrs. Pewitt, I’m transferring this patient to Jacksonville, not because she’s worse, but because you’re incompetent.” After announcing this to the world, Dr. Scales propped one foot on the desk drawer and wrote transfer orders. He phoned Jacksonville hospital, then proceeded to the waiting room to inform the family. ..."

Chapter 6: Chapter Six
"... know that loneliness was a silent shadow waiting just around the next corner. Over lunch Penny said, “Sunday at work, Maureen and Dr. Ghent told me Dr. Wiseman died in an accident at the Jacksonville hospital.” “She was younger than we are! What happened? When did she die?” “They ..."
"...On Tuesday morning, Penny worked in JMC’s Critical Care Unit with a young nurse who sent her to the laboratory for a unit of packed red blood cells. Penny had read Jacksonville hospital’s procedure for this in the policy manual but actually doing it was another matter. Ignoring the elevator, she walked down two flights on the concrete staircase to the first floor. The steps were narrow and wound around and around, leaving a large open center bordered by metal ..."
"...hospitalwas Penny’s turn, she asked, “Does this happen often?” Penny had never heard of a patient admitted for a blood transfusion who didn’t need it at the Dixiana hospital. Glancing at the previous entry in the blood ledger, she read that the patient’s physician was Dr. Scales. ..."
"...ledger, Penny climbed the deserted stairway to the third floor. The CCU nurse would watch as she administered the blood so that, if she did it correctly, Penny would receive credit on her orientation task sheet and be approved to give transfusions in any department of the Jacksonville hospital. ..."
"... minutes, so while the blood infused the nurses sat at the bedside watching television. Penny said, “The tech in Blood Bank told me Dr. Wiseman changed hospital policy for blood administration.” The young nurse shot a wary glance at Penny. “Yes, now they always check a hematocrit. ..."
"... “You mean there’s more to it than just an accident?” “Well, rumors...but I want to keep my job. In this hospital, if you’re not working in the department where something happens, you don’t know anything about it.” After lunch, Penny visited Human Resources, explained her ..."

Chapter 8: Chapter Eight
"...After such an emotionally charged experience, it would have been better if Penny had taken time to rest and regroup, but she was obligated at two hospitals, and at this point she would not have believed the things that were about to happen even if someone had told her. As she drove back into Dixiana, where crepe myrtles were in full bloom, even the approach of autumn was inconceivable. ..."

Chapter 9: Chapter Nine
"...From Employee Parking, she went into the basement of the hospital through the staff entrance, planning to burn calories by climbing the steps to Oncology on the fourth floor. The elevator and the stairwell were side by side, and as Penny approached, the housekeeper with a commode-seat fixation called her name, beckoning and holding open the elevator door. ..."
"... the other end of the storage room. “Where does that go?” Kerri displayed her knowledge with enthusiasm. “It goes behind the morgue and connects to a tunnel that goes out to the maintenance building behind the hospital.” “I’m not very observant,” Penny said. “I’ve never ..."
"...“Yes you could. I bet you’d love it! Knowing people who are willing to go through hell to live just a little longer makes me appreciate my own health–-and we have other kinds of patients, too. We give outpatient IV antibiotics and blood, and when the hospital is full, if we have a room empty, we take non-infectious medical/surgical patients.” ..."
"...and their families loved Maria McEliney, the 3-11 unit secretary who had been a nursing tech for a home health agency before the birth of her children: two sets of twins, only three years apart. Now that the girls were all in high school, Maria worked at the hospital to avoid being at home when they were there. Her children telephoned their mother with one crisis after another, and on days when Maria was off (and away from home) Oncology nurses tried to solve teenage problems. ..."
"...“He says he only ordered one unit and you gave two. What’s the matter with you people?” Supervisor Crouch located the doctor’s order. “Oh I see. I believe we’re in the clear this time—hospital policy requires the word unit to be written out, not abbreviated, and especially not with a V.” He grinned. “I’ll leave a note for the Director of Nurses in the morning, but you’ll still need to fill out an incident report and clip a copy of this ..."
"... “This hospital’s built around a section of the old Jacksonville hospital. It was, like, a fairly new wing donated by old Dr. Spate and his wife–-their portraits are down in the main lobby. When we get off let’s go down to the cafeteria and I’ll tell you some serious stuff.” ..."
"...“He was dead when security got out there. The hospital administrator came, and the family seems okay with everything. We aren’t to talk about it at all, even among ourselves—so don’t, if you like working here.” His beeper sounded. “That will be more day shift personnel calling in sick. It’s Friday-the-thirteenth,” he said, heading downstairs ..."
"... believed Dr. Spate didn’t want activity in his building at night.” Penny, remembering Maureen’s story about the old Dixiana hospital, asked, “What about temperature changes? Did the heating system work right?” “You know what? They talked about ‘The Eye Chill’ when Spate was ..."

Chapter 10: Chapter Ten
"...Penny sat behind one of many computers connected to a teaching module in a newly decorated basement classroom as Ruth Robertson, Clinical Director and part-time Supervisor at JMC concluded her lecture. “Thank you for your patience. We are among the first hospitals in the country to try this and, as we all know, new things can be upsetting, but if we work together, I believe we can create a computer program that will save us time and improve our accuracy. We’re starting from scratch, correcting it as we go, and ..."
"... phone ringing. Breathless, she picked up the receiver. “Oncology Department, Penny speaking.” “My buddy’s real sick. He needs to go to the hospital,” a gruff, male voice stated. “Bring him to the Emergency Room.... What’s his trouble?” “I’m Colonel Philpot and ..."
"...I won’t bring him unless you guarantee me a room with a recliner. My phone rang a while ago, and I almost grabbed it out of the wall tryin’ to answer it and now I’m paralyzed. If I don’t get a recliner, I’m takin’ Watt to another hospital.” ..."
"... her neck and the pendant rested comfortably on her chest. Tomorrow was Saturday, a Dixiana hospital weekend, so Penny climbed into bed early and read her uncle’s book until she fell asleep listening to the racket of rain on the roof. ..."

Chapter 11: Chapter Eleven
"...Set against a background of rain-rinsed pine and live oak, Dixiana appeared fresh and clean as Penny drove across town to the hospital early Saturday morning. A few leaves clung to the deciduous trees, but last night’s 30-mile-per-hour wind had sent all but the most stubborn foliage down to become part of the dead, brown mat concealing acorns and ferns until their resurrection in the spring. ..."
"... he’s doing better.” Louise said, “He’s working two other jobs besides this: one in the Jacksonville hospital lab, and the other in a doctor’s office. He must be making big bucks, because he bought a motorcycle and he’s talking about moving into a house.” “Where does he live ..."
"...a minute. “I used to worry about giving everybody Decadron injections and I asked him about it. He blew his top! I learned my lesson, though. Now, I never ask questions or suggest anything.... But you know, sweetie, he’s got women—sick women in this hospital—who wake up at 4 a.m. to put on makeup and fix their hair and deck-out in frilly gowns, just so they’ll be lookin’ good when he makes rounds. He’s their friend; he knows how to make people feel better.” Flossie Mae grinned, exposing the gums above her ..."

Chapter 12: Chapter Twelve
"...hospitalher back on River Park hospital, Penny drove home Saturday evening beneath a fading sunset that resembled a strep throat. Lights shone from her neighbors’ houses on Oakwood Street but her own house was dark, and when she turned into her driveway a wave of acute disappointment swept over ..."
"...As they pulled away from the hospital the patient’s heart rate was normal, a regular rhythm in the high eighties. Penny applied the automatic blood pressure cuff and cycled it. The screen displayed 250/120. That couldn’t be right—way too high! She removed the automatic cuff, applied the manual cuff, and pumped it ..."
"... the sign, “Jacksonville Exit, 1 Mile” with a big, beautiful H underneath. Bubba called the Jacksonville ER, gave the patient’s latest set of vital signs, and turned into the emergency lane at the hospital. As soon as Bob had been moved onto a gurney in the ER, a respiratory therapist ..."
"... fingers through unruly hair, pushing it back from his glasses. “Hello.” Penny tried to remember his last name. “Buck, this is my husband, Johnny...Buck works at the hospital.” It finally came to her. “Buck Dalton.” Johnny shook Buck’s hand. “How’re you doing? We’re ..."
"...“You work with right interesting people, you know it?” Johnny said. “It sounds to me like Buck’s got cerebral arrhythmias and paranoia in the left aorta.” From years of hearing hospital jargon, Johnny could string together a bunch of authentic sounding medical phrases that made no sense at all. ..."
"... sense of his words. Johnny continued. “You left once when you weren’t happy, and I wasn’t sure you would stay with me. I thought you might be getting ready to leave when you changed hospitals, but now things seem better. At least, I hope they’re better for you.” Penny felt as though ..."

Chapter 13: Chapter Thirteen
"...“...because I had a wreck on the way home from the hospital and I’m cut all to pieces, but don’t worry, I won’t die. I’m headin’ to Tijuana for a load of raw steel. This will make my last run and the money’ll send Bud to Harvard. If you need me, my handle is Coyote. I’m takin’ ..."
"... to Oncology to draw blood around 5 a.m. Eventually, Buck Dalton stepped off the elevator pushing his lab cart, ready for morning sticks. Seeing Penny, he mimicked astonishment. “What’s happenin’? Is this the wrong hospital or what!” “Hi Buck. Have you bought your house ..."
"... “The sewer’s backed up and while they’re here, they’re moving the air return for the heating/cooling unit away from the loading dock to keep exhaust fumes from delivery trucks out of the hospital.” Kerri placed her mouth close to Penny’s ear. “Can you keep a secret?” ..."
"...she gave a lot of Dr. Scales’s office patients Decadron. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease would require an elevated white count, so maybe Dr. Scales used it to increase their white cell counts and then admitted patients for infection. Doctors were paid for each patient they admitted to the hospital. Penny thought Scales personified the spectacular autumn-scarlet of poison oak leaves: tempting and dangerous. ..."

Chapter 14: Chapter Fourteen
"...After three night shifts that made moving her parents out of Westview seem like a walk in the park, Penny’s trip from the hospital to the Jacksonville airport through rush-hour traffic was a nonevent. Leaving her car in the long-term parking lot, she pulled her suitcase toward the terminal, wondering when exhaustion would overtake her. Sometimes, after working three night shifts, she could hardly drive home in the morning, but at ..."

Chapter 15: Chapter Fifteen
"...Circling behind the Jacksonville hospital, she spied a rounded brown bag at the back of the staff parking lot. On alert since the fetus incident and since reading about a newborn found in a paper bag at New York General, Penny parked near the suspicious-looking sack and walked over to peer inside, much ..."
"...She had never been this far back from the hospital. To her left was a two-story building—probably Maintenance. A stringent odor of dank humus and wet leaves rose from the wooded area in front of her, where tree trunks were overgrown with kudzu vines, their branches weighted down with Spanish moss. ..."
"...Nurses had no job security; just last week the hospital had laid off twenty-four employees: newly-hired office and lab personnel and five nurses. Rumor had it that Administration planned to close the Psychiatric Unit and everyone was jumpy. Sweat prickled Penny’s skin as she sprinted up the stairs to look for the time clock, which had been ..."
"... “Maureen Meadows, 209” was written. Penny experienced a ping in her stomach: a fleeting internal blink. How could she have forgotten to check on Maureen? Her best friend was sick in this hospital, and she couldn’t go to see her until morning. Penny pocketed the note. “Thanks, ..."
"... told her about Mrs. North. “Her son brought her to our hospital after someone at JC Penney called him to come get her. He said her car was stuffed with things she’d charged on an all-day shopping spree at the mall. The ER tech said she was uncooperative.” The call bell from the new ..."
"...The news washed over Penny like a bucket of blood. She took a deep breath and exhaled as she gazed out Maureen’s window at the lawn, sprinkled with glitter as frost reflected the morning sun. Everything had crystal edges and caught light, and the hospital room seemed filled with white sound. Penny knew it wouldn’t help Maureen if she cried. She would have to be strong—if she let down at all it would be like a leak in the dike. ..."
"... bird’s back and fly far away from here. Maureen broke the intense silence. “When you pick in thin cotton you don’t get your quota.” Her shoulders slumped forward, leaving her scapulae, like bird bones, outlined beneath the flimsy hospital gown. She’d lost weight! Struck by a wave of ..."
"... to come through this time. Johnny had already left for school so Penny undressed and crawled into bed without eating. When she awoke and looked at the clock, it was noon and she had slept four hours. She poured herself a bowl of cereal and called the hospital. “Jacksonville Oncology, ..."

Chapter 16: Chapter Sixteen
"... about Flossie Mae.” Depleted by her trip to Roanoke, the revelation of Maureen’s prognosis, and two busy twelve-hour night shifts, Penny had considered calling in sick to the Jacksonville hospital on Thursday night. Driving home Friday morning, she wished she had done it. Instead, she had ..."
"...During Mrs. Allison’s previous admission, she had asked Dr. Benson to stop her cancer treatment and to discharge her with hospice care, but after two weeks at home, her husband brought her back to the hospital to ensure her death would be pain free. Around 4 a.m., the whole Allison clan gathered: twenty-seven men, women, and children at her bedside and spilling out into the hall. ..."
"...“Well, Dad’s in the hospital.... He complained of pain in his shoulders, his chest, and his stomach—more complaints than he usually has—so I took him to the ER Wednesday night. They ran all kinds of tests and X-rayed him yesterday. The doctor says he has fluid around his heart and tumors ..."
"... didn’t make it home until late at night. “Johnny, David called about Daddy—he’s really sick—and in the hospital in a lot of pain. I’m sorry to tell you when you’re rushing, but I’ll go to work in CCU before you wake up tomorrow.” Johnny stopped shedding clothes and slid an ..."
"...In the grey dawn of Saturday morning, yards in Dixiana appeared frozen as Penny drove across town thinking of the Allisons and other families who missed work and stayed at the hospital day and night in order to be with their loved ones when they died, although as far as Penny could tell, the dying patients were too far gone to care—and yet she wondered if she should be on the way to Roanoke. ..."
"... from the ER and I’ll need help.” “I don’t have anybody to send you,” the weekend supervisor said. She was someone Penny didn’t know, probably one of the rent-a-nurses the hospital had been using to keep from hiring permanent staff. “Is it all right for me to get help if I ..."
"... his pubic hair. “Dr. Ghent said this man’s ninety-year-old sister devoted her life to taking care of him,” the ER nurse told Penny. “She’s driving her car to the hospital and should arrive any time now. I hate to leave you like this, but I’ve got to get back.” Penny said, ..."
"...Slipping a hospital gown over her clothes, Flossie Mae helped Penny shave and wash the patient. They turned him from side to side and inspected a bunch of small purple circles on his trunk and thighs, then removed the soaked sheets and applied dry ones before dressing him in a gown. ..."
"... he said. “I should have known Daddy was so sick and gotten him to a hospital, and I should have taken better care of Mother and kept her mind from shutting down, and I forgot to call Maureen today. I feel guilty to be healthy...guilty that I’m not doing something for Mother...” “What! ..."

Chapter 17: Chapter Seventeen
"... in the car, and seeped into her bones. Entering the hospital and walking through the halls toward CCU, every nurse who passed appeared happier than she felt. She experienced a twinge in her right ankle and imagined falling down hard from a bad sprain. But the Unit was warm and comfortable, ..."
"... wieners and kraut or hot tamales for lunch.” Penny laughed. “Oh yes, Sunday at River Park hospital: I better get ready for acute indigestion transfers from the floor.... Everybody asks about you, Maureen. Come back as soon as you can.” Penny interpreted this morning’s lone telemetry ..."
"... she reached for the phone and dialed Dr. Scales. “I appreciate your concern, Mrs. Pewitt.” Dr. Scales spoke as if to a child. “I came to the hospital and evaluated the patient and wrote orders. There hasn’t been time to have results.” “But I don’t understand giving her more ..."

Chapter 18: Chapter Eighteen
"... week; I can’t keep up. Did you move here?” “I found an apartment near the hospital. Anytime you want to come early or stay over, come to my place, honey. My son’s in jail and Ma’s in a nursing home, so I’ve got lots of room.” “I’m sorry things are rough.” Flossie ..."
"... never get well though, darlin’.” A flustered-looking nurse searching for Flossie Mae peered into the room, and Penny stood up. “I’d better get back upstairs. Thanks for your hospitality offer, Flossie Mae. I may take you up on it.” When Penny returned to the Oncology Unit, ..."
"...“Tired. Basically, I’m tired.... But I have a new little baby girl and I’m buying a house and I won’t be mooching off my Mom much longer.” He offered Penny a hospital photograph of his newborn, then removed his glasses and wiped the lenses with the tail of his lab coat. “Yeah, livin’ in a camper while your wife and your baby live with your mother really goes against the groin. I’m gonna move them by Christmas.” He ..."
"... On the drive back to Dixiana, Penny wished Maureen would call her but knew she wouldn’t. They had a close friendship at work but their backgrounds and their lives were so different that the only time they talked to each other outside the hospital was at the grocery store. Her mind ..."

Chapter 19: Chapter Nineteen
"...stood at the elevator with her coat on. “Miss Hattye asked for cake and cream so I got her some from the kitchen. Leroy was down there and he wanted to know how we’re doing, so I told him we have one circling. He said the hospital’s chaplain was notified today.” ..."
"... shoulders and held on until the sobbing and shaking stopped. Still wearing scrub uniforms, they entered Flossie Mae’s apartment two blocks from the hospital. Her front door opened into a combination living room and kitchen. “Take a shower, sweetie. It’ll make you feel better. Here ..."
"... use your telephone to call Johnny? He’ll expect me in a few minutes.” “I’ll be at the hospital in an hour and follow you home,” Johnny told her over the phone. “I can leave here in fifteen minutes.” “I’m okay, Johnny. I’m going to eat breakfast with Flossie Mae and then ..."
"... blackmail.” Flossie Mae nodded. “Buck isn’t smart enough to get away with anything by himself; Dr. Scales is the real low-life.” Flossie Mae looked at her watch. “Hey Honey, we’d better get you back over to the hospital. Do you have my phone number?” “No, but I’d ..."
"... slick as snail slime! He’s the reason she moved to Jacksonville.” “So you’re working in a haunted hospital with an evil doctor; how lucky can you get? With your imagination, you should write a book!” “I swear on my mother’s grave, Johnny, Dr. Scales...” Johnny hugged ..."

Chapter 20: Chapter Twenty
"... “Have you looked outside?” She plodded to the living room window. The street resembled a long hospital sheet and a mixture of sleet and ice covered the grass. Standing barefoot, looking at the winter wonderland chilled her, although the house was warm. “It rained all day with the ..."
"...“Forget anything you’ve ever heard about ice storms,” Johnny said, stomping in through the back door. “This storm’s worse! I can’t drive you to work; you’d better call the hospital. The garage is blocked. I mean, even if I could get the car out, big limbs have fallen across the driveway and they’re stuck solid in ice.” ..."
"... even if I could get the car out, big limbs have fallen across the driveway and they’re stuck solid in ice.” Penny plugged in the coffee maker, then called the Dixiana hospital. “If you’re not sick, get ready to come,” the night supervisor told her. “It may be a while, but the fire ..."
"...Elijah Storm stood at the interstate exit to the hospital where cars crept around a multi-vehicle wreck. “Carnage,” he called it. “This is a catastrophic weather event.” He shivered in spite of a bright plaid scarf, a brown hooded jacket, gloves and boots. He seemed to have a sinus infection: his voice sounded nasal, and ..."
"... tonight.” On Sunday morning, Penny drove on slick streets to the Dixiana hospital anticipating an easy day. She moved Mr. Garrett to a telemetry bed on the hall before lunch, then listened for the telemetry alarms while she checked CCU’s par list against their inventory. In the ..."
"...then he set a box of Grape-nuts and a carton of milk between them. Sitting opposite Penny, he jiggled his leg, making the spoons dance on the table. He removed his glasses. “You didn’t take any time off when your parents died, you know. The hospital will understand why you need to be off.” Locking eyes with Penny, Johnny jabbed his glasses frame toward her. “And You Need Time Off!” ..."
"...Buck’s face, grey against white hospital sheets, flashed through Penny’s mind, and she heard again and again the alarms from the monitor and the ventilator. Anxious to talk with Flossie Mae, to ask why Buck was guarded by the police, and to tell her about last night, Penny searched for the slip of paper ..."

Chapter 21: Chapter Twenty-One
"...Hoping to find Flossie Mae’s apartment and visit with her before time to clock in, Penny left home an hour early that afternoon, but Jacksonville’s streets were a mess. People had piled so many limbs on the curbs that in the neighborhood near the hospital two cars could not pass without scraping against branches. Abandoning her plan, she turned into the employees’ parking lot. ..."
"...Picking up her clipboard and stethoscope, Penny accepted the scrap of paper towel on which Maria had written the new patient’s weight and entered the room pulling a portable computer behind her. Sunny Setser, completely naked, sat in the center of her bed beside a wadded-up hospital gown, and her brown-eyed gaze was so direct that Penny could almost feel it on her skin. Closing the door, she shook out the gown. “My name is Penny, and I’ll be your nurse tonight. May I help you put this on?” ..."
"... go downstairs and buy me some water? I only drink bottled water.” He held out a twenty dollar bill. Maria stood up. “You don’t need to pay. Your hospital bill takes care of it.” “There’s water in that pitcher but I only want ice.” A shiny bald spot on top of his head ..."
"...“We do! Absolutely! But my parents agreed to pitch in and stuff, and I finally convinced my husband to move. I got a phone interview at the hospital where I used to work. It’ll take my husband another month to totally finish up his thesis, but he said he’d help me get the children to Vermont and everything and then come back and finish.” ..."
"... Johnny pulled Penny to her feet. He slid his right arm around her waist and elevated her chin with his left hand. “Now, we’re going to forget it. Erase hospitals from your mind.” He kissed her lips, then pulled away. “Have you forgotten our trip? We’re driving to Columbus today.” ..."

"... whether they would become friends. The next weekend would bring to an end Penny’s job at River Park hospital. She wished that it was already behind her, and if she had known how heinous her last Dixiana shift would be, she would have refused to work it. ..."

"...hospitalorning Penny napped until nearly noon. On the counter she found a note from Johnny: “Look at this!” Beneath it was the “Issues” section of Jacksonville’s Sunday paper and as she scanned the headline, “DIXIANA hospital TARGETED IN LAWSUIT,” a sudden empty space opened in Penny’s chest. ..."
"... The article stated that River Park hospital was the defendant in an eight-figure lawsuit alleging that many unnecessary procedures had been performed for the purpose of increasing profits. The employees who filed suit claimed they were forced to resign for bringing the matter to public attention. ..."
"...poured coffee and cereal, flopped into her chair at the table, and folded the newspaper beside her bowl. She reread the article from start to finish. Why hadn’t she known about it? Why hadn’t the nurses just quit their jobs and gone to work at another hospital? She stared at her Grape-nuts as if the answers were contained within the bowl. ..."
"... It told of doctors all around the country who had come forward to expose unsafe conditions or incompetent colleagues, only to find that whistle-blower laws failed to protect them, that responsible agencies did little to correct problems or safeguard patients, and that they themselves became the target of hospital administrations and boards. ..."
"...hospitalt like that at Jacksonville Medical Center. Doctors who messed up were warned and placed on probation. If they didn’t shape up, they left for a family emergency and didn’t return. Staff physicians didn’t receive lavish gifts at Christmas or enjoy special privileges like the free Sunday ..."
"... not replaced. Having turned in her two-week notice of resignation, Penny was scheduled to work only one more weekend at River Park hospital. She knew nurses who had quit without working out their notices; she had even filled in for some of them. She could call in sick! Putting off a ..."
"...When Penny got to Jacksonville Medical Center, so many things had happened that it seemed as though she had been away for longer than four days. A nurse who worked on Fourth had been severely injured when she wrecked her car speeding to the hospital. She told the EMTs that she had been late twice and was afraid she would be fired if she was late a third time. ..."
"...all his insurance days and Utilization Review is pushing Dr. Hutton to send him to an extended-care facility or home with hospice nurses. We’ve pumped him totally full of blood and antibiotics, but the man’s still got pneumonia and stuff, and Prader’s determined to keep him in our hospital.” ..."
"...on my braille Yamaha.” He swiveled to leave, then turned back. “If Dr. Hutton sends Watt to a nursin’ home, his ass is grass and I’m a lawn mower! I’ve got a chopper waitin’ in the parkin’ lot to pick him up. I’ll buy this hospital and level it to the ground!” He wheeled and stomped off to the elevator muttering, “Now, if I can just remember where I left that helicopter.” ..."
"... one weekend.” A sense of something unusual swept over Penny. What in the world was going on? Why would the hospital Administrator staff the hospital instead of the Director of Nurses? “Please ask someone else, Mr. Puckett. I haven’t done that job in a long time.” “There isn’t ..."
"...Penny hesitated, remembering the times she and Johnny enjoyed going to college football games using the hospital’s passes for box seats because of Puckett’s generosity and his friendship with her husband. “I can’t pull medicines; I don’t know where they keep the drugs anymore. I can do the nursing part, but you’ll have to get somebody else to do Pharmacy.” ..."
"...After worrying most of the night, she arrived at the hospital at 5:30 Saturday morning. An inside voice warned her of accidents about to happen and mistakes that would surely befall her. She took deep breaths, telling herself that her worry was unreasonable, but she had been around long enough to know the possibilities for things to go ..."
"...Joan Hargrove, an agency nurse acting as evening supervisor, handed Penny the keys to Pharmacy and Central Supply and gave her a list of PRN nurses who might fill in if someone called out sick. With a voice of authority, Joan read names on the hospital’s census, clicking her ballpoint pen as she called attention to the sickest and most difficult patients. ..."
"...Penny marveled at the woman’s courage in working for an agency: driving to strange hospitals and being held accountable for the actions of nurses she didn’t even know! An earthquake, a ­hurricane, and a tornado—all hitting the hospital at the same time—probably wouldn’t bother Joan at all. ..."
"... items with the help of the ER nurse; it was okay after all. The next day, a beautiful Sunday morning, there was no warning of what was to come. Penny arrived at 6:30, full of hope for a good last day in the Dixiana hospital. Joan Hargrove’s calm expression did not convey the gravity of ..."
"...“Dr. Scales, this is Penny Pewitt, acting weekend supervisor, calling about your patient, Loretta Honeycutt, in room 104. This baby is rigid and jerking, cyanotic, mottled, congested, and breathing in short gasps. She will die if you don’t come to the hospital.” Penny kept her voice strong and sure. ..."
"... is better?” He moved directly in front of her, into her personal space, and regarded her with a blend of cynicism and challenge. “You never asked me to come to the hospital.” His voice rattled like a snake’s tail. “You are incompetent, and I will have you fired!” Penny smelled ..."
"...“Mr. Puckett, this is Penny Pewitt at the hospital. I need to tell you about an incident this morning with a one-year-old patient who belongs to Dr. Scales. Mr. Hall was here and he helped us and the little girl’s better now, but I think something should be done about it. She was in severe ..."
"... Red Cross! Bolting up from his recliner, Johnny switched off the television when Penny entered the den. He gave her a smile and hunkered down beside her on the couch, draping an arm across her shoulders. “So tell me about it. Were you sad to leave your old hospital?” “No, I am not ..."
"... “No, I am not sad to leave River Park hospital! That place is like Sodom and Gomorrah and Nineveh all rolled up together, and Jonah’s not coming to save it! I’m gonna tell you all about it, but I could lose my license if you tell anybody. It started early this morning...” Johnny ..."
"... “This is unreal!” Johnny sputtered. “You’re right on target! You know that, don’t you? He’s lower than the underside of a snake.” He nodded for emphasis. “The man’s mean and he’s crazy! Thank God you won’t have to be around him at the other hospital!” Penny ..."
"... mean and he’s crazy! Thank God you won’t have to be around him at the other hospital!” Penny raised her head. “I’ll try to avoid him, but he practices in the Jacksonville hospital, too.” Johnny placed his hands on Penny’s shoulders and held her back from him, his eyes boring ..."

"... She crept around the employees’ lot searching for a parking spot close to the hospital, but the only empty spaces were near the back. As she opened her car door, the security vehicle, usually parked at the staff entrance, pulled up behind her and Tony Roscoe shoved open his passenger door. ..."
"... and Maria handed Penny a copy. “I hope nobody gets fired over this, but it’s too good not to share!” MEMO ON COST CUTTING TO: All hospital staff FROM: Administration Effective June 1, 1992 this hospital will no longer provide security. Each House Supervisor will be issued a ..."
"...Effective June 1, 1992 this hospital will no longer provide security. Each House Supervisor will be issued a .38 caliber revolver and 24 rounds of ammunition will be stored in the Pharmacy. In addition to routine nursing duties, House Supervisors will rotate the patrolling of the hospital grounds. A bicycle and helmet ..."
"...Maintenance is being eliminated. The hospital has subscribed to the Time Life “How to...” series of maintenance books. These books and a toolbox will be standard equipment on all nursing units. We will be receiving the series at a rate of one volume every other month. We already have the volume on ..."
"...harp plucking, then calypso music with bongo drums, then an orchestra playing a symphony. She dialed the operator. “We’re going crazy up here with this music.’s stopped now, but it’s been hopping from one thing to another. Is it doing that all over the hospital?” ..."
"... she’s asleep, but I’ll ask her to call you in the morning if you want,” Penny said. “Dr. Scales asked about her. He said Dr. McDougal told him she was in the hospital.” “What did you tell him?” Penny asked, tightening her grip on the receiver. “I told him she ..."
"...“Yes, I did—but before that, I saw a man wearing a lab jacket and a stethoscope leap out of the stairwell and hot-foot-it out of the hospital. After a while then, I heard all that when they found her. You know, the code and everything. I thought there might be some funny business going on, but I kept my mouth shut.” ..."

Chapter 26: Chapter Twenty-Six
"... The arrest came after a year-long undercover probe. “Documents allege that among the claims Scales submitted were charges for hospital admissions and patient visits supposedly performed while he was actually on a vacation in Georgia. “An MBI employee visited Scales during the winter ..."
"...Recovered from her fright, Penny embraced the day like a morning glory reaching for the sun. She had shopping to do before she picked up Johnny’s bats, and today’s weather was fine for moving Dick’s snake outside. She would release it into the woods behind the Jacksonville hospital, a great home for the reptile. She showered and dressed, loaded the snake and its water dispenser into a cardboard box, placed the box on the back-seat floorboard, and headed for Jacksonville. ..."
"... and clocked out, leaving Penny, Carina, and Flossie Mae with their supper in the staff room. “So you two know each other from working in Dixiana,” Carina said. “How’s the hospital there?” “The way things are these days, it’s hard for small hospitals to make it,” Flossie Mae ..."
"... there?” “The way things are these days, it’s hard for small hospitals to make it,” Flossie Mae said. Her lips tightened. “That was my son on the phone and he sounded high. I think I’ve convinced him not to come up here, but please watch out for him, just in case.” “What does ..."

"... her foot immediately. As he leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs, his lips parted in a self-assured smile. “Mrs. Pewitt, have you worked at this hospital long?” “Not very long...not a year yet.” Penny’s pounding heart shook her vocal cords, causing her voice to ..."
" I went to her apartment one morning for awhile when I was sick.” Conscious that her words sounded like they belonged in a TV courtroom, Penny continued. “I met her son once, when I rode the ambulance to transfer him from Dixiana up to this hospital, and...” ..."
"... smiled. “Her doctor calls it Sundown Syndrome.” Penny walked into an empty patient room, turned on the Weather Channel, and gazed out the window as the sun inched upward, spreading light over the roof of the hospital entrance wing below. Carina came into the room. “Joyce is here early ..."
"...Taking the keys out of her purse, Penny opened her trunk. There was her spare, all pumped up, but she knew from other nurses’ experiences that Security would not change tires. She would have to walk back into the hospital and call AAA to come help her. While she waited for them, she would carry the snake into the woods. ..."

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"Margaret McMillion’s novel intricately weaves a woman’s personal doubts and life trials into the intense and stressful operations..."

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