Hearing the rush of nurses heading toward the ICU, I followed the herd. My youthful intuition was kicking in as an eerie sense of suffocation and dread encircled me. I suddenly felt like a child waking from a nightmare.
I was already on edge since yesterday having been informed that three nurses were raped in the hospital parking lot after their varied shifts. Holding a knife to their throats, the perpetrator had threatened to kill them if even a whisper escaped their trembling lips. They were viciously raped and beaten. It took the hospital a month to share this horrifying news. The hospital’s splendid plan, already a month too late, was hiring a security officer to accompany all nurses to their cars at the end of their shifts. Truthfully, the administration simply didn’t want the damaging news publicized.
Opening the white ICU door, I was struck by the nauseating industrial-strength cleaner singeing the cilia in my nose. I saw three nurses, shoulder to shoulder, talking amongst themselves, hiding a gurney. All I could see were a pair of large black boots hanging off the end of the gurney. I acknowledged the ICU head nurse. Quietly I asked, “Why all the commotion?”
My brain was still striving to absorb her answer as my mouth started to fill with my partially digested lunch, a taco. I swallowed my vomit as this unqualified human admitted she was adopting the role of executioner.
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