As Chief of Medicine, it’s Perry Cox’s responsibility to tell the other staff members of the situation. He says the situation, because if he calls it anything other than that, it would be impossible to remain professional for everyone else, especially when it’s hard enough to stay professional for himself.
There’s a certain camaraderie, a certain solidarity in the hospital that Perry has noticed at times like this. Everybody is untied by shock, and by grief and by concern for the other members of staff who were closer to those at the centre of the tragedy than they are. Were. They fight and beat Death every day, which is why situations (that word again) hit them harder. But, even if they weren’t doctors and nurses and even if they didn’t fight Death every day, it would be impossible not to be hit hard by this.
Perry concludes his talk to the hospital staff (including the janitor) by saying that they need to stay strong because the patients need them to keep it together. They really can’t deal with any more deaths today. But if anybody wants to talk about it, the hospital’s grief counsellor, Dr Hedrick who is standing to his right, will be available at any time to talk.
As grief-shaken hospital personnel file quietly, solemnly out of the doctor’s lounge, Hedrick says, “That applies to you to, you know.”
The shorter man smiles comfortingly (or at least an attempt at comforting). “Feel free to talk to me at any time if you need it.”
Perry and Hedrick had never been the best of colleagues, but this is not the time for petty conflict.
“If you want,” Hedrick says, “I can even call the family members.”
“No thank you. This is something I need to do.”
Hedrick nods, and leaves Cox to his own grieving process.
One of the nurses has been good enough to have the contact details on the nurses’ station for him. He goes to the nearest phone and dials the number written on the page. When the person on the other end of the line answers, it hurts Perry to think that they have no idea what’s about to hit them.
“Hello, Dan,” he says nervously. “This is Perry Cox speaking. I think… I think you should down, buddy.”