Dr. Emery took a look at the chart before looking at the patient.
- Rt. hand: Burned to the wrist. Skin completely blackened.
- Upper lf. Shoulder. Skin burned. Some bone exposed.
- Evidence of strangulation.
- Possible concussion
- Broken nasal cartilage.
- Pt conscious upon admission. Complaints: pain in torso, difficulty breathing. X-Ray of torso and skull ordered.
- Pt. sedated, 50U Phenobarbital IV
At this point, he walked into the room. He looked like he had been a severe barroom brawl. His face was swollen. Indeed, the nose was broken.
MRI of skull
He could see the blackness at the left shoulder, so he went closer. The curtain opened and another doctor came in. Emery nodded to him; this was one of the burn specialists. “Dr. Friedman.”
“Thanks for coming out on Passover.”
He shrugged. “God understands when it comes to attending to patients. Besides, if I had to spend Seder with my in-laws, I'd have lost my mind. What do we have here?” He started putting on gloves.
“Possibly fourth degree burns. My knowledge in this area is pretty shoddy.”
Friedman took Emery's place at the shoulder. “Didn't have many burns in residency?”
“One or two. I never saw blackened skin, though.”
Friedman gingerly flicked at the spot, and a bit of blackened skin peeled up and off. “It's like someone put something on fire right on him, and held it there.”
“Like a brand?”
“Like a glove.” He stretched out his hand and placed it on top of the area. The center was the palm area, and he could see black sections around his shoulder to the back. The blackened area was a little bit bigger than his hand. “It was a glove with an unbelievable amount of heat, something that a human can't stand.” He held the piece of skin up. “Got a bag for this? I want to study it downstairs.”
Emery pulled found a plastic bag and gave it to him. “What about the hand?”
“His hand's like this?”
Emery stepped away from the right side of the patient. “I hadn't looked.”
Friedman went over to that side and lifted the sheet. Emery saw the doctor's face grow very serious. “That's going to have to be amputated.” He set the sheet down and lifted the arm. “Surprisingly enough, it cauterized any wounds, so we can remove it just below the wrist with him losing a very small amount of blood.”
“We're still trying to contact his wife.”
“Are you thinking there might be some issues to amputation?” Friedman looked up at Emery.
“We don't want to get the hospital in religious trouble again.”
Friedman shook his head and put the blanket down. “Do we have X-rays of the burn areas?”
“Yes, I think they're in the system.” He went over to the laptop that sat on the table and punched in what he needed. Friedman leaned over. The X-ray of his shoulder showed no injury to the bone, just the skin and muscles. Same thing with the hand. However his two of his ribs were broken, not enough to pierce his lungs, but enough to cause maximum pain and discomfort. The skull saw nothing broken, either, but there was a fracture. Emery studied it. “These guys knew what they were doing.”
“They said at the club that he fell out of the ceiling and into a table in the middle of some dance.”
“It says he was conscious. What did he say happened?”
“He said he fell.”
Both doctors looked at the sedated patient, then at each other. Friedman said, “Something not human did those burns, Joey.”
“Do you think...?”
“We haven't had one of those down here in ages. Do we still even have an FBSA bureau?”
Emery took a deep breath. “And they have so much paperwork, if we bring them in.”
“If some guy – or gang - is down here in Florida spreading mayhem, and they're using some kind of crazy technology – or, even worse, they're mutants – FBSA has a right to know.”
“This place'll turn into Miami.”
Both doctors frowned. Miami was full of super-powered beings, mostly to make sure that the drug cartels didn't have a foothold there. Mostly.
“Let's ask administration tomorrow. Let them take care of it.” Friedman got up. “In the meantime, I'm going to schedule him for amputation of his hand and excision of the shoulder. I'll have to graft from the usual places.”
“All right, then. I'll sign for that if the wife doesn't get back to us.”
Emery nodded, and Friedman parted the curtain to leave. “Damn supes,” he said, and let the curtain fall.
Emery looked down at his own hand. His veins pulsed under his hand, glowing a sickly green. He clenched his hand into a fist and willed the poison away from his hand, back into his body.