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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Doctor/Nurse (11/02/06)

TITLE: Duty Called


“Doctor Benson, please report to emergency.”

His pager buzzed a few seconds after the intercom announcement. Doctor Trevor Benson the head paediatrician had a particular interest in anorexia nervosa. The emergency department sometimes requested his expertise with outpatients showing symptoms of the disorder. He glanced at his watch with a desire to go home to his family.

The announcement came again. “What is this?” Impatiently he signed the last of the patient medical charts.

The paediatrics nurse smiled. “I’ll finish up here doctor.”

The elevator opened revealing a wards-man, an empty gurney and two nurses. Feeling his pager vibrate repeatedly Doctor Benson mumbled under his breath and opted to utilize the stairs.

Twenty one years today. He remembered it as though it was yesterday and anxious to see his bride Jillian. Their daughter Susan added to their celebrations by turning sweet sixteen. Precious memories filled his thoughts as he descended the stairs.

He opened the door to the ground floor and hurried down the corridor. “I wonder if it’s the Collins' girl. She wasn’t coping last week. This eating disorder is becoming an epidemic.” The emergency supervisor hurried to meet him.

“Doctor Benson, this way, she’s in examination room two.”

“What’s the emergency Margaret?”

“She’ll need surgery. The bullet grazed her spleen.”

“What in the world is going on around here? Where’s the on-duty doctor?”

Margaret stopped suddenly almost causing the doctor to collide with her.

“I’m sorry Trevor…. It’s Susan.”

He ran down the corridor and burst opened the door of the emergency room.

“What happening and where’s my wife?”

Margaret reach out and touched his arm.

“They were caught in a drive-by shooting. Fortunately, the bullet dislodged itself. It’s the spleen that we are concerned about. We need your permission to operate.”

“Where’s Jillian, is she out side?” He turned to look for his wife.

Margaret became tearful and drew him aside. She had known Trevor and Jillian before Susan was born. Margaret actually assisted in Susan’s delivery while attending their fifth wedding anniversary celebrations.

“I’m sorry, she didn’t make it.” Her voice trembled. “Apparently, Jillian pushed Susan to the ground and lay across her taking the full impact of a stray bullet. It penetrated her heart, through her back and into Susan. I’m sorry Trevor.”

His legs weakened and Margaret guided him to a chair. He stared at the medical team frantically trying to stop the bleeding and hook up intravenous tubes. It was a dream; it had to be.


Trevor paced the corridor outside the theatre. Head Surgeon, Dr Michael Drysdale would not allow him to enter because of his emotional state. He had been to see the love of his life and wept uncontrollably until Margaret ordered him to take a break and led him to the doctor’s lounge.

Like any demanding doctor’s schedule his family often went on outings without him including church. “I should let the Pastor know,” but he couldn’t bring himself to make the call. Not yet, not until he knew more about Susan. “What’s keeping them, Lord?” He prayed silently. He wandered distractedly into the waiting room. Sitting in an uncomfortable lounge-chair he hung his head, waiting and praying.

Hours later Dr Drysdale appeared in the doorway. Trevor looked up to see his colleague’s tired, serious expression as he entered the room and collapsed into a chair opposite.

“She’s going to be alright. We had to remove her spleen to stop the bleeding but she’s going to make it. It’s you I’m worried about. Have you called anyone, Jillian’s family?”

His throat tightened. “It’s going to be tough on Susan. I’ll wait until I can tell her in my own way before I telephone Jillian’s mother. She’ll want to see Susan. I’ll call our pastor as well. I think we’ll all need him.”


Early the next morning the sun shone into the little room which smelled of disinfecting chloride. Still dressed in his surgical robe and hair tousled he sat stiffly in a straight backed chair, his head slumped on his chest. He looked up to see Susan watching him. They smiled bleakly at each other. Trevor had broken the news to his daughter about 3am before telephoning his mother-in-law and their pastor.

“Hello, Daddy.”

“Hello yourself, how are you feeling this morning?”

Tears trickled down her face. “Sad.”

He took her hand and sat quietly until she slept. His pager vibrated and heard the announcement.

“Doctor Benson, please report to emergency.”

Duty called.

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This article has been read 1111 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Trina Courtenay11/09/06
So sad. You shooked me with the unexpected turn of events. Way to capture your readers interest. Blessings on your writing.
Rhonda Clark11/09/06
You did a great job including a lot of information in the brief word count. Full of emotion. Good work.
Amy Michelle Wiley 11/09/06
Aww, sad story. I felt that I didn't get inside the MC's head and heart quite as much as I would have liked, but you did well telling the story. Good job!
Delores Baber11/10/06
Well written and tragic. It's the ending that felt like a slap in the face. Duty called. Duty intruded. There's a time to grieve and a time to labor. It seemed harsh that he was so ready to jump from father/husband to doctor. I guess I don't have the soul of a doctor. I agree, I would have liked to have gotten more into the thought processes of the MC.
Joanne Sher 11/11/06
That ending definitely slapped me in the face! I can't believe he'd be back to work so soon. This was a very compelling story, and so sad. Nice job.
Shari Armstrong 11/11/06
A powerful story - showing how life must go on, even with tragedy.
Pat Guy 11/13/06
Wow! This was packed with action and emotion! I was on the edge of my seat hoping things were going to turn out different.

Yes, doctors and nurses have to put their life and heart on hold - sad.

Great job Chrissy! Keep up the good work! :^)
Betty Castleberry11/13/06
A roller coaster ride of emotions. Nicely done.
Todd Tribble11/13/06
Ummmm...yep that was great!! I loved the up and down feeling of it. I love stories in which I can see the plot flowing like a movie. Nicely done!
Jan Ackerson 11/13/06
The title is tragically ironic...very well done.
Valora Otis11/13/06
I loved it when you referred to Jillian as his bride. What a sad story. You did a wonderful job with what a doctor would go through, facing his worst nightmare. The emotions were gripping. Great job!
Donna Haug11/13/06
What a shock to realize the ones he had longed to see were the very ones he was being paged for. My goodness. You showed the MC's emotions by his actions. I thought it was good. Powerful and eye opening.
Dennis Fletcher11/15/06
What an amazing story. You must love to make people emotional and you do a great job at it.
Donna Powers 11/15/06
Wow! this was very good. It kept my interest and swept me along through the story. Well written and thanks for sharing it.
Sara Harricharan 11/15/06
Very, very vivid. I felt as if I were right there the entire time, sharing in the grief and the suspense. Good job!