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Authors: Elizabeth Gilzean

Yankee Surgeon

BOOK: Yankee Surgeon
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Elizabeth Gilzean


Sally Conway thought she had her priorities straight. Then, suddenly, a dashing American surgeon arrived upsetting the hospital

s routine...and Sally

s heart.



Sally Conway looked across the trolley at the junior sent up from Mary Ward to help her prepare for the emergency operation.

“Did the night sister say you were to go back as soon as we had finished?”

“She said I could stay as long as you wanted, Staff Nurse. There

s nothing acute in and it

s only making dressings and sewing on tapes.” The junior forgot to be shy under the influence of Sally Conway

s smile.

“Night Sister is being generous! I wonder what I

ve done to deserve it. If you take the tray of instruments out of the sterilizer, you can dry and oil them, and

scald yourself when you lift the lid, but—”

“—turn off the sterilizer first!” Sally

s eyebrows lifted. “Have I told you before, then?”

The junior looked abashed. “Smith warned me. She scalded her arm and Night Sister was furious.”

“See that you remember,” Sally said with severity. “I

ll do the sharps tray. We

ll leave the plaster trolley to the last—it makes such a mess.”

Sally hummed softly to herself as she started putting the scissors and scalpels back into the tray of lysol and spirit. The one nice thing about night duty was that there was time to arrange everything to her liking—the instruments in shining rows on the glass shelves, trolleys cleaned and polished and their wheels running with oiled smoothness, the tiled walls and the marbled floor glistening like new. It wasn

t that she couldn

t work under pressure—most of the day lists at St. Bride

s were examples of how many cases could be handled with good team work—but a few minutes extra here and there for getting things straight again made such a difference.

The junior came back into the main operating theatre pushing the sterilizer tray of instruments rather noisily on top of the bowl stand.

“Ssh! Patients are sleeping, even if we

re not.”

The girl flushed. “Sorry, Staff Nurse, I forgot.” She began to dry the
instruments very carefully. “What are these forceps?”

Sally looked at them. “Haven

t you learned your instruments yet? Those are large Spencer Wells, and the heavy curved ones are
forceps. It

s a good thing I didn

t need any extra things tonight. I
ate to think what you might have brought me!”

“We start our preliminary theater lectures next month, Sister Tutor says. I did look some of them up last time I helped in the theater, but some of them look so much alike.”

Sally laughed. “That

s because surgeons have a habit of trying to improve on someone

s idea of a good instrument. They only have to alter the angle or the bend or something and then they have their name attached ... just to give the poor nurses another one to learn!”

“Staff Nurse Conway, those are harsh words.”

Sally swung around. “Dr. Brown, you should learn that casualty officers shouldn

t sneak around in crepe-soled creepers at this hour of the night. They might learn something to their discredit! I suppose you

ve come to tell us that there

s been another accident on the doorstep. Who

s slipped on that banana skin you

ve tacked to the pavement this time? Just because you

re bored and lonely down there, that

s no reason to assume that we are too!”

George Brown, senior casualty officer, flushed uncomfortably. He glanced at the junior nurse busy over her instruments and lowered his voice. “Sally, I only came up to see you. I

m sorry about the other case, but the R.S.O. said we might as well take it in.”

“Not Sally when I

m on duty, you chump,” but her voice was gentle.

She and George Brown had been students together on their first ward and even now that they were working in different departments they took an interest in one another. Sometimes Sally suspected that George

s interest was stronger than hers, but she took care not to encourage it. She had ambitions that needed seeing to ... first.

“Sorry, Staff Nurse, but the night sister is over on the new block and she won

t be this way for ages. Besides, I thought you might like to hear the latest.”


s interest sharpened. “You mean you

ve heard they

re offering free passages to New York or something?”

George chuckled obediently. Sally and her plans had long been both a joke and an argument between them.

“Not quite, unless he

s carrying a ticket in his pocket.”

“What are you talking about? Don

t tease.” Sally was impatient.


re getting a Yankee surgeon. He starts on Monday.”


re pulling my leg,” Sally said flatly.

George Brown shook his head. “I

m not. He

s nearly six feet and I expect you gals would call him good-looking if you like that clean-cut American type—you know, the kind they use for advertising shirts and toothpaste.”

“And I thought it was only women who were catty! Whew! It takes the male to go one better after all. But seriously, why are we acquiring an American surgeon? There aren

t any vacancies unless someone

s had a coronary in the past twelve hours, but you never know. The number of gray hairs sported by senior resident staff these days is alarming.”

George grinned at her. Sally

s nonsense always cheered him up, even though it meant that she wouldn

t be taking anything he said with the gravity he wanted.

“This surgeon is apparently so special in orthopedics that the chiefs are giving him special facilities to do his postgraduate work. He

s going to have his own operating session, I hear.”

“He can

t. The sessions are full and there aren

t any more days in the week,” Sally said with finality.

“But there are hours in the night,” George dropped his bombshell casually.

“Night operating! Now you are crazy. There isn

t the staff,” Sally squashed him.

George looked at her thoughtfully. “There is a senior staff nurse who has done six months

orthopedic theater work

Sally squeaked in her surprise. “Me? Why should I want to work with some surgeon who can

t get what he wants in his own country?”

“And I thought you were the girl who wanted a ticket to the United States so that she could see how American surgeons did it! If you play your cards right John B. Tremayne may have a ticket with your name on it.” George

s voice had risen. He and Sally always pricked one another on the raw if they argued long enough.


s ey
s flashed. “Just let me meet John B. Tremayne and I

ll ask him for that ticket to the States. See if I don


There was a sudden hush and she became aware, too late, of frantic signals from her junior.

Night Sister was in full swing. “And this, Dr. Tremayne, is our main operating theater

Out of the corner of one eye Sally saw George slipping away via the sterilizer room before she turned to meet the full impact of her unexpected visitors.

Night Sister smiled at her in a frosty sort of way, but that wasn

t unusual. “Staff Nurse, this is Dr. Tremayne from New York. He

s going to do some surgical work here for a year.”

Sally plucked up enough courage to look up. “Good evening, sir.”

He nodded curtly as if staff nurses were beneath his notice, but there was an expression in his eyes that worried her. It could be scorn or ... amusement.

“Do much orthopedic stuff here?” His accent was not noticeably American apart from a slight twang that wasn

t unpleasant.

Sally put on her best behavior. “Two full-day sessions a week, sir.”

Why was he asking her? He would have found out all this weeks ago, before he condescended to grace an English hospital with his noble self.

He nodded again. “Do much night work?”

“Only stuff that lands on the doorstep. We

re not a


hospital in the usual sense ... we

re not central enough. We do if the bed bureau runs out of beds elsewhere. We

ve done a plating of femur tonight, for instance.” She could see that Night Sister was frowning at her somewhat slangy description.

He showed interest now. “An admission? You don

t sit on your fractured femurs, then?”

Sally considered. “Well, it depends on the surgeon and the patient

s condition. It was Dr. Weymouth-Smythe

s case, and he prefers to treat them as emergencies and cover with antishock measures if need be.”

“Sensible idea. Thanks, Staff Nurse. No doubt I

ll be seeing you.”

He walked toward the door, followed by a slightly scandalized Night Sister, and Sally wondered absurdly what it would feel like to run a hand over his fair

There was a brief, breathless silence before anyone spoke, and then it was George who had tiptoed back from the sterilizer room. “Snappy and to the point, isn

t he?”

Sally glared at him. “I thought you

d run away!”

“So did I, but someone had locked the door on the other side,” he said accusingly.

“And so they should! Since when have you been considered in the same category as a sterile trolley?”


m not staying to be insulted. It

s time I showed my nose in Casualty. A drunk might have crept in looking for a bed for the
night ...
you never know.”

don’t ...

s your trouble,” Sally said crushingly, and
then with a change of tone, added, “Do you think they overheard?”

George considered the point carefully. “He

s bound to have picked up most of it—we weren

t exactly being quiet, you know. Night Sister? I doubt it—she never hears anything when she

s talking. I

m afraid that ticket to America won

t be forthcoming quite as easily as you think. Something tells me that John B. Tremayne takes himself and his work rather seriously. He might have a funny bone somewhere, but it

s well padded. So I

m sorry, but you

ll have to languish at St. Bride

s a while longer.

Night, Sally—don

t work too hard!” George dodged the towel she flung at him and went out the main door this time.

“What shall I do next, Staff Nurse?”

Sally had forgotten about her junior. Well, the girl would have plenty to regale the students

lounge with, but it couldn

t be helped. She would have done the same thing herself.

“You could clean the sterilizers and refill them for the day nurses. Leave the bowl sterilizer ... just top it up and turn on the steam to half. I

ll see to it later. I

ll get the plaster trolley cleared away and then we can wash down.”

Methodically Sally put the plaster bandages back into their tins, making sure that the sizes tallied with the labels. She washed the dried splashes of plaster off the shears and plaster knife. What a mess putting on a plaster cast made! Still, Dr. Weymouth-Smythe wasn

t as bad as some of the surgeons who had been known to decorate the ceiling. Perhaps they retained their small-boy liking for making mud pies.

At last they were finished. The theater was pleasantly warm and wet and clean, and everything was in its proper place. Not even the theater super would be able to complain about night staff.

BOOK: Yankee Surgeon
13.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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