"My name is Andy Michaels and I’m trying to find out if the jet crash survivor is my niece, Amanda Michaels. Does the Nightingale chopper outside mean the crash survivor is already here?"
The meek reception desk assistant looks up at him with sympathetic eyes.
"One survivor is in triage right now. Please hold on a moment." Once she places the call, she shields the handset partly with her hand and talks in a low whisper Andy can’t quite hear. A supervisor walks through a set of swinging doors less than a minute later. The receptionist nods in his direction.
"Hello, my name is Barbara Smithson, and you are…?" Smithson says with her right hand out.
"My name is Andy Michaels. The rescue worker’s comments about the necklace and hand charm make me think the survivor is Amanda Michaels, my niece. Can I identify her?"
"The young lady is in surgery now and I don't know exactly what her status is. However, the rescue personnel brought me the necklace for purposes of helping with identification. And we took photos of her. If you can describe your niece to me I will double check immediately."
"Just-above-the-shoulder-length brown hair, 5 foot 5 inches maybe. Petite. But she wore the hamsa necklace that her mother got her back when she had her bat-mitzvah. Do you have the necklace that you can show me?"
"Just to be sure, can I see your identification first please?" After checking his ID, Smithson has Andy follow her into a small conference room. She tells him she will be right back and soon returns with a baggie holding a necklace inside.
"Do you think this is it?" she asks holding the baggie at eye level where he can see it.
"Yes, this looks like what I remember. I just can't be 100 percent sure." The administrator then opens a folder.
"The surgical team took a picture of her before the surgery started because we did not have identification." She flips open the folder and an 8-by-10 black-and-white photo shows a young girl laying on a hospital gurney surrounded by medical equipment with a swollen face, cuts, and bruises.
"Oh my God, that’s Amanda! What can you tell me?"
"I can tell you that she's in surgery,” the nurse administrator says calmly. “She wasn't conscious when she was rolled in here but she is breathing with assistance. I don't know any more except that we've assembled a team of top trauma specialists and they are in surgery with her right now," she says. Then she presses her speakerphone button and calls for the triage nurse that assisted with transporting Amanda to surgery.
“Sir, do you have any medical history on your relative?”
“Yeah, I have it on my cell phone,” Andy says as he begins scrolling on his phone for the text from Angie. “She had a lower back spinal condition called a pars defect and, uh, she was born with something called vWD, a minor blood disorder.”
“Oh, vWD, that can be anything from minor to very serious. What do you know about her vWD? The surgery is happening right now,” the triage nurse says, appearing somewhat concerned.
“I never heard her parents say it was any big deal, just that she had it.” Andy says.
The triage nurse says she will convey the information to the surgeons, and she departs.
"Follow me back to my office and we’ll fill out some paperwork."
Andy sees his sister as he follows the administrator back to her office. They rush together.
"Barb, it is Amanda. She's alive and they have her in surgery right now. They showed me a picture," he says excitedly.
"Oh my God!” They both engage in a long hug with no words being exchanged. Finally, Barbara says, "That is so good. Is she doing okay?"
"All I know is she's in surgery and I'm following this nice lady who works here.
“My name is Barbara, Barbara Smithson."
“That’s easy, I’m Barbara Simon.”
They fill out appropriate papers in Barbara’s office, and she shows them to a family waiting area near the emergency room, where they can wait for news from the surgeons. They decide to review a list of family and friends to call. But first, Andy finds Iris outside the emergency room entrance and relates the news. They exchange a hug and he tells her he needs to get back inside to await news from the surgeons. She already has her phone out and is texting.
"What about her condition?" Iris shouts after Andy is almost out of earshot.
"Nothing besides the fact that she wasn't conscious before they wheeled her into surgery."
As Andy approaches the waiting room Barbara asks, "Andy, how are we going to get through this?"
"We don't have any choice. We'll get through it."
A nurse finally enters the family room. “Who is the next of kin of the crash survivor?”
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