Sacrifice for a diagnosis: A medical suspense novel

The new medical suspense novel by paramedic and author, Bradley Jones, opens your eyes, twists your mind and stimulates your emotions

We’re pleased to publish an exclusive excerpt from the new medical suspense novel by paramedic and author, Bradley Jones, "Sacrifice for a Diagnosis." This poignant story presents the triumph of the human spirit as it travels through a gritty world where life-and-death dramas are the everyday norm.

Dead guy, meet Vickie

"Aw, Dammit, it’s Vickie!" Ice exclaimed in a disappointed tone. Brian raised an eyebrow, momentarily confused by his partner’s outburst. "Huh? Vickie?"

"Clear!" One of the firefighters called out, warning the others that he was about to administer defibrillation. No stranger to multi-tasking, Ice scanned the back of the ambulance like the Terminator in the hunt for John Conner, and while the new data was computing to determine treatment options, the flight crew continued their conversation.

Take a trip with this riveting tale as it journeys down into the trenches of a veteran medical care provider putting everything on the line to help save the lives of complete strangers.

Take a trip with this riveting tale as it journeys down into the trenches of a veteran medical care provider putting everything on the line to help save the lives of complete strangers.

"Yeah, man, Vickie—the chick in the monitor!" The charismatic nurse felt the need to give everyone a nickname, and since his two favorite things in life were medicine and women, why not name a piece of medical equipment as well? Therefore, it only made sense that Ice would give a name to his cardiac monitor—a sophisticated piece of equipment that just so happened to speak in a sexy, female European accent.

"Vickie being short for Victoria, of course—as in Victoria Beckam," Ice casually explained.

"The Spice Girl?" Brian questioned, laughing.

"Yes, Sir—she’s a hotty!" Ice proudly admitted.

While Ice was making his confession, the flight crew was just as busy with their hands as they were with their mouths. They removed the equipment, piece-by-piece, from the jump bag that they had prepared earlier during the helicopter ride in, and sat it down on the bench seat.

"All right boys, what happened?" Ice asked, hoping for a detailed explanation from one of the firemen, rather than having someone simply point out the obvious fact that the man was currently dead.

Breathing heavily from the exertion of having performed continuous chest compressions, one of the firefighters began to answer him using two or three words at a time: "We had… Just got… Him to the…. Ambulance and were trying…." He paused to catch his breath and continued. "…To keep him calm until ya’ll arrived." He began to laugh, "But man he was kicking our ass!"

Finding humor in the fireman’s last statement, Brian and Ice smirked at one other. Both men had been faced with similar situations in the past on more than one occasion.

"He was doing everything he could to get off the board, and even ripped out one of our lines in the process," the firefighter continued. "Then all the sudden, he went unconscious—so I looked over at the monitor and I’ll be damned if the poor bastard wasn’t in V-tach! We did a few rounds of CPR while we put the pads on his chest to light him up, and that’s about the time you guys arrived."

 "So he’s only been hit one time, right?" Ice clarified.

"Yeah, just once at 200 joules." The fireman wiped the sweat from his head, finishing his explanation of the patient’s status.

Ice glanced over at Brian and couldn’t help but notice the hunger in his partner’s eyes, similar to the intensity of an obese man gawking at a box of Zebra Cakes. Although Ice already had a plan of action, he mercifully allowed the fat man to pig out. "Alright, Brian, you know that per protocol we can’t fly an arrest, but they do give us ten minutes on scene to get a pulse back, or he’s got to go by ground. The window is open, so what’s the plan?"

With little hesitation, Brian eagerly accepted the challenge and began to take control. "Alright, it’s probably time for another defibrillation, so let’s proceed with that first. We also need to get our second line back and run lactated ringers in one line, and normal saline on the other side—wide open." After nearly twenty-four hours of ever-increasing anticipation, Brian’s brain detonated, and everyone inside the ambulance was hit with the shrapnel of his intelligence. “I’m ready for intubation, so while I tube him, someone can give one of Epi and three-hundred of Amiodarone. That’s a start and then we can go from there.”

Feeling an increase in confidence as the steady stream of knowledge began to flow, the inspired Composer led his orchestra to create what was sure to be a masterpiece. Fluently, as if he were reading straight out of a book, Brian accurately instructed others in two, three, and four procedures at a time. All cylinders were firing as flawless critical care skills were put on display.

The men were doing everything right, but Vickie refused to go quietly. She fought hard to stay in the spotlight, proving to be the star of Brian’s symphony. "Check patient… Charging…." She sang over and over. Shock number three powered up as Ice made everyone aware of the impending danger, "Clear!" A jolt of synthetic energy flowed through the nervous system, one neuron at a time, with a goal to restart the ceased heart like a dead car battery. The patient’s body postured up as the shock was delivered, audibly producing an unmistakable thump that added to the percussion section of the musical piece. "Continue compressions," Vickie instructed again as if she was laughing at the humans.

Six minutes had passed since Brian’s first order was given, and he seemed to be running out of ideas, as nothing proved to be effective. "What are we missing guys?" Desperately wanting the patient to regain a pulse so he could perform his first flight transport, Brian continued to search his brain for the most correct treatment. "He’s got an airway, drugs on board, shocked three times, what are we missing?" Afraid that his brand new partner had tunnel vision and was getting emotionally involved with the patient, Ice stepped in as the voice of reason while he removed his blood-tinged gloves.

Brian listened closely to his experienced partner’s opinion, but it was clear that he was not ready to give up just yet. “You and I both know that these traumatic arrests never end well. I bet he’s got a belly full of blood and a chest to match, so unless you’ve got a portable O.R. handy—which you don’t,” Ice pointed out, “then you know damn well that there’s nothing that you or I can do for this guy. Time is just about up anyway, so we need to roll. Better luck next time, rook.” Ice was typically the one with the never-say-die attitude, but as much as he hated to be the responsible adult, he felt that the patient was too sick to pull through.

As he proceeded to throw in the towel, Ice was oblivious of the fact that he had just given his partner another treatment idea. Brian’s face lit up as if a light bulb had gone off above his head. “What’s the shit-eating-grin for, Brian?” Ice asked in a pickled tone, now just as confused as his partner had been a few moments before.

Brian reached into the jump bag and quickly located a rarely used piece of equipment he needed to implement his proposed idea. "You were right about one thing, Ice. He probably does have a chest full of blood, but we haven’t done everything we can do for him just yet."

As Brian exposed the item so everyone could clearly see it, one of the firefighters asked him, "Is that what I think it is?"

Sharing the same grin as his partner, Ice butted in and answered for Brian. "It sure the hell is, and I’ve never done it, but I’m game!" Ice quickly put on a new pair of gloves as Brian prepped everything for the procedure.

"Me either!" Brian exclaimed "But he’s already dead so it’s not like he can get any worse, right?"

Feelings were mutual between the flight crew as Ice ecstatically concurred, "I like the way you think!"

Looking at the two animated flight crewmembers, the firefighter just shook his head, muttering to no one in particular, "All of you flight guys are nuts!"

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