It was a warm July 3rd, and Ryan Mitchell sat on a bench in front of Morristown hospital. Despite the heat he was wearing a loose windbreaker and had his hands in his pockets. There were a lot of old people like Ryan sitting on the benches enjoying the summer’s day. Some of them, like Ryan, were in regular clothing , but most of them were in hospital gowns and bathrobes.
Ryan pulled a sheet of paper out of his left windbreaker pocket and looked at the typewritten list of all the people who had tried to kill him. Then he rephrased that in his mind. They had not actually tried to kill him. They would all say they were dedicated healers trying to help him. But the fact of the matter is that they almost did kill him.
It had started with the name at the top of the list “Dr. Marotta”. He was the idiot who had prescribed the Coumadin in the first place; without even explain to Ryan that it was one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. Then there was Marotta’s pretty nurse Nancy who misread Ryan’s blood samples, and constantly reported that there was no problem with the drug’s dosage. “Marotta’s probably banging her on the side” muttered Ryan out loud. No one paid any attention to him. Old people talked to themselves all the time.
Sitting in front of the hospital, Ryan was almost overwhelmed by the flash of bad memories it brought back. Those tiny pills which Dr. Marotta had prescribed to help thin his blood. No one explained how the drug reacted so differently in different people. How apparently unrelated things like a change in diet could drastically change what the drug did. It thinned Ryan’s blood alright. It thinned it so much that it was literally leaking thorough his veins and arteries into the rest of his body. He was bleeding to death internally and did not even realize it. All he felt was an incredible tiredness. Then one morning he went into the bathroom and urinated pure blood. Sometimes Ryan wondered how close to death he had really been when he was rushed to the emergency room.
The real pain had begun once he was admitted to the hospital. The 3 way Foley catheter was inserted into his penis. It was a pure torture device. To wash blood out of his bladder it constantly pumped a saline solution into his bladder with one tube and took the blood/urine mixture out with another. For 24 hours a day for 4 full days. There is really no way to describe the pain. The third name on Ryan’s list was the Urologist, Dr. Epstein who it turns out forgot to order the Foley catheter removed. The torture had continued 2 days longer than needed just because Epstein had not gotten around to checking Ryan’s chart.
The list went on and on. Nurses, orderlies, volunteers all had various levels of complicity in the injuries to Ryan. It had taken Ryan almost 2 years to get himself back to full health. When he got out of the hospital, barely able to walk, he had refused any drugs and shunned any contact with any member of the medical community. He made himself stronger by sheer force of will. Every day he would walk a little more. Then gradually he began eating better and even lifting small weights. Bit by bit he moved on to longer walks and heavier weights.
Every day after his exercise routine he would do his research and compile the names on his list. Ryan’s wife told him it was useless. She said that no lawyer would take his malpractice suit. No jury was interested in someone who almost died. She said he had no permanent injuries. She pointed out that with his new routine he was stronger than 90% of the men his age. No jury was going to give money to a healthy strong man no matter how much pain he claimed happened to him in the past. She just did not understand.
Ryan suddenly looked up as Dr. Marotta walked out of the front of Morristown Hospital and headed to the physicians’ parking lot where Marotta’s 12 cylinder Jaguar was parked. Ryan shook his head at that. “Who the hell needs 12 cylinders in New Jersey?” Ryan muttered.
When Dr. Marotta went into the parking garage, Ryan got up from the bench, stretched and headed towards the garage himself. As Ryan entered the garage he could see Marotta standing looking at the four flattened tires of the Jaguar.
Ryan reached into the right pocket of his windbreaker and pulled out the brand-new 32 caliber revolver. It was time to scratch the first name off the list.