“Welcome to Holy Trinity Clinic, please sign in and take a seat.”
The near-robotic message tumbled out of the receptionist’s mouth before she even looked up from her coffee. As she slid a plastic clipboard over the high counter, she glanced up and nearly dropped the mug of steaming liquid in her hand in shock. Two blood-spattered hands gripped the counter.
“Please...Please help me… my babies…”
Two nurses rushed forward to support the shaking girl in the lobby of Holy Trinity’s free clinic. Her distended belly and pained expression told them she was in labor, but the blood dripping down her legs told another story. One of the orderlies ran to get Dr. Maddox, the on-call doctor. As they attempted to coax coherent words from her, the middle-aged woman came striding into the room, an air of authority following her. Sobbing, the young mother grasped for her as she neared.
“Why are you just standing there? I need blankets, antiseptic, come on people move!” she shouted, gently helping the teenager to a wheelchair. Looking at her patient, she began taking vital signs as she spoke. “How far along are you? What’s your name?”
“M-my name is Dorothy... I’m five months in a-and…” Dorothy’s hands dropped to her stomach. “Twins.” Her voice turned desperate. Maddox cursed silently and ordered two nurses to rush her into an examination room. As she washed her hands and prepared herself, a slight pain deep in her chest caused her to slow momentarily. She saw too many young girls in her office, too young emotionally to be a mother, too young to even cope physically with having a child.
Walking down the hall, she heard the desperate pleading start again. Firmly deciding what she was going to do, she took a syringe from the tray on her left and filled it with sedative.
“This will take the pain away, we’re going to take you to O.R…” she trailed off as her concentration shifted to injecting the translucent liquid into the catheter inserted into Dorothy’s arm. Holding her patient’s hand as she drifted into a hazy, drug-induced free fall, she flagged down a surgical nurse.
“Take her to the operating room; she needs a late-term abortion. Stat.”
The girl was too young to make her own decisions at the age of 16- and neither was Dr. Maddox at that age. Sometimes, like her mother did so many years ago, people needed to choose for you.