Necessary Measures

Necessary Measures

4.7 12
by Hannah Alexander

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Dr. Grant Sheldon's move to Dogwood Springs is not turning out as he'd planned. After six months the ER is in an uproar. Drug use and trafficking have become ever-increasing problems, especially when his headstrong teenagers and their friend come under attack.

In addition to taking on more shifts in the ER, Lauren McCaffrey agrees to stay with Grant's twins when

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Dr. Grant Sheldon's move to Dogwood Springs is not turning out as he'd planned. After six months the ER is in an uproar. Drug use and trafficking have become ever-increasing problems, especially when his headstrong teenagers and their friend come under attack.

In addition to taking on more shifts in the ER, Lauren McCaffrey agrees to stay with Grant's twins when he's called out of town to fight a frivolous lawsuit. She soon discovers that keeping track of two headstrong sixteen-year-olds can carry some unexpected dangers.

After the hospital administrator falls ill, the ER is left under the questionable leadership of an unhappy doctor with his own private agenda and a tragic personal life. In the midst of this turmoil, Grant and Lauren are forced to come to terms with the pain of loss. Can they also find the joy of hope renewed?

If you like Jan Karon novels and medical drama mixed with humor, The Healing Touch Series should be your next reading choice.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this sequel to Second Opinion, the stress of the Emergency Room combined with the pressure of parenting two teenagers keep widowed Dr. Grant Sheldon busy. As his relationship with Lauren, an ER nurse, continues to develop, he also tries to deal with a number of drug-related emergencies, a problem he thought he'd never see in the small town of Dogwood Springs. Meanwhile, Grant's twins, Beau and Brooke, get involved in trying to stop the local manufacturers and sellers of methamphetamines. When Grant must go to St. Louis to defend himself in a wrongful death malpractice suit, Beau and Brooke are targeted by the drug king pin, who wants their snooping stopped at any cost. The melodrama surrounding the lives of the hospital staff and teens will appeal to non-demanding readers, but the admirable portrayal of a single father strengthens the plot. Libraries where Terri Blackstock's "Newpointe 911" series is popular will want to add this. Alexander is the pen name for Cheryl and Melvin Hodde. Cheryl is a researcher while Melvin is an ER physician. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.67(d)

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Chapter 3

Throat's on fire." The patient held his left hand to his neck, his unshaven face contorting as Lauren McCaffrey angled him onto the exam bed.

Lauren's eyes smarted from the aroma that permeated the air around him. "Mr. Proctor, I'm going to set you up with something to help you breathe, but I need to check your oxygen saturation level."

"Just hurry!"

Lauren did so gladly. This was ridiculous. A nurse worked with bad smells all the time. This man, however, didn't just smell dirty or sick. There was another odor she couldn't define and didn't have the time to analyze. She raised the head of the bed so he could lean back and still be seated upright, then she laid a hand on his shoulder to help ease him back.

She reached for the package of plastic tubing and ripped it open. "Did you say this is a flare-up of your asthma, Mr. Proctor?"

Gil Proctor nodded. Sweat lay thick across his forehead, and tears dripped down his face from obviously irritated eyes. He didn't behave like an asthmatic. Someone who was experiencing an asthma attack sat up straight and still to concentrate on getting the highest airflow they could manage.

She attached the probe to his finger to check his oxygen.

"What're you doing that for?" he demanded. His voice grated, probably from some kind of physical irritation.

Lauren explained what she was doing while she connected him to the automatic blood pressure cuff, all the while trying not to gag. She chided herself for her squeamishness. This guy was in trouble. She needed to forget about her own dropping oxygen level and be as compassionate as possible—he needed help.

"Where's the doctor?" he snapped. "I want a doctor. My lungs—"

"Dr. Sheldon will be here in a moment, Mr. Proctor. This oxygen should help a lot, and our respiratory therapist is on her way to give you a breathing treatment." She adjusted the tubing, careful to avoid dislodging it when he coughed again. "Don't worry," she soothed. "We're going to help you. Just try to breathe through your nose, and relax if you can. Do you want me to call your wife from the waiting—"

"Ain't my wife!"

"Your friend, then."

"Yeah, get her back here. Tell her to get me a drink."

"I'll bring you some water as soon as the doctor has checked you."

He grunted and tugged at the tubing.

She stepped to the entryway and peered out to find Grant and Gina talking with the secretary at the central workstation. She waved at them and caught their attention, then gestured for them to come. They nodded. Gina carried a nebulizer unit.

From the time Grant Sheldon had come to work here in May, he seemed to move with an aura of calm. His presence soothed overstressed staff and patients alike. As he stepped into the exam room, a barely discernible frown around his eyes revealed that he noticed the smell.

On the other hand, Gina Drake's pretty, copper-colored eyes widened, and she looked hard at Lauren. Lauren gave her friend a short nod of acknowledgment, then turned to give Grant the chart.

He studied the information for a moment, then introduced himself to the patient. "I understand you're having trouble with your asthma today?" He looked again at the chart, eyes narrowed, as if seeking something that wasn't there.

Gil nodded and coughed again.

Grant looked at the blood pressure reading on the monitor, then looked at Lauren. He'd picked up on the readings right away. "When did your breathing start getting bad?"

The patient frowned. "I don't know. Couple hours ago."

"Have you ever been admitted to a hospital for your asthma, or have you ever been placed on a ventilator to help you breathe?"

Gil gave an irritated shake of his head.

Grant pulled out his stethoscope. "And who is your family physician?"

Gil slanted him a glance, then slid it away again. "Don't have one."

"I see. What medications are you presently taking for—"

"Look, I'm not on no medications, all right?" Gil snapped. "What's with the twenty-question stuff? I just need you to help me. My lungs are killing me."

Grant nodded and placed the chart on the counter. "Let's get you started on a breathing treatment." He turned to Gina, who was already assembling the nebulizer unit. "Gina, let's do 4 milligrams of Decadron and 2.5 milligrams of Ventolin."

"Ready to load, Doctor." She stepped to the oxygen line, connected her medicines, and adjusted the flow. As she placed the mouthpiece of the unit in Gil's mouth she indicated for him to hold it, then leaned toward him and tapped at his front shirt pocket. "Got some cigarettes there, I see. You smoke?"

Lauren suppressed a smile. Gina was an outspoken opponent of smoking, and she seemed to lack fear when it came to confronting patients about their bad habits.

This patient glared at her, then laid his head back against the pillow. "No law against it."

"Gil, let's listen to your breathing." Grant eased the patient forward and raised his shirt to press the stethoscope against the man's back. He listened a moment, then straightened. "You say your lungs hurt? What's the sensation? Are they—"

"They burn, okay?" Gil snapped. "It's my throat, mostly."

"That doesn't sound like an asthmatic reaction. You might need—"

"Hey, I think that stuff might be working. It doesn't feel so bad now."

"Good. It's fast-acting medication," Grant said.

"So you're feeling better, Gil?" Gina asked.

He closed his eyes and nodded. "Yeah. So give the lady a medal."

Gina stepped to the far side of the exam room and rubbed her nose.

"Now, Gil," Grant said, "I need more information about the onset of your breathing problem. I noticed you were holding your throat. Did you accidentally inhale something that set off the—"

"Yeah, that's what happened," Gil said. "My girlfriend gave me some ... you know, some caustic stuff to clean the tub, and I breathed too much of it."

Lauren saw Gina's sudden expression of disbelief, then the shake of her head. No way had this guy been cleaning a tub when he didn't even bother to clean his own body.

Grant reached for a tongue depressor. "I don't think this is an asthma attack. We need to see if there's some other cause of distress. Let's get a look at your throat." He took the nebulizer mouthpiece out of Gil's mouth and handed it to Gina to hold for a moment. "Open wide, Gil."

The patient's eyes narrowed. He darted a glance at Grant, then at Lauren, then slowly opened his mouth. Lauren caught a quick glimpse of rotten teeth and a fiery red mouth and throat.

Grant nodded. "Mm-hmm." He took the unit from Gina and placed it back in Gil's mouth, then turned to Lauren. "Let's go ahead and establish an IV for some Solu-Medrol. Draw for blood."

Lauren was already prepared. She reached for Gil's left arm and unbuttoned the sleeve of his shirt. There were no appreciable veins. She moved the sleeve further up above his elbow.

"No!" He jerked away. "I hate needles!" He grabbed at the sleeve, but not before she saw the scars.

Gina gasped softly. Lauren stared. The man had some nasty ... track marks?

"What're you looking at?" he demanded. "Just leave me alone and let me breathe awhile. Can't you people just help a guy feel better? Do you have to go sticking your nose where it don't belong?"

Vivian knocked at the open doorway. "Dr. Sheldon, we have another ambulance arriving outside, and Med Records brought me you-know-who's file."

Grant placed his stethoscope around his neck. "Thanks, Viv. I'll be right out." He turned to the patient. "Gil, I'm going to—"

"Yeah, yeah. Take a hike, pal. I'll be fine." Gil waved his hand at Grant as he replaced the nebulizer and continued to inhale the soothing medication.

Grant gestured to Lauren. "Why don't we go check on our other patient?"

She followed him out of the room, relieved by the sweet smell of the air in the hallway. He leaned close. "Call Sergeant Tony Dalton and tell him about our patient. It's possible this could be a police matter. At any rate, Tony will want to have it checked out."

"A police—"

"From the smell of things, that man's been cooking methamphetamine. I'm guessing he got the recipe wrong and had a little accident. Notice his eyes?"

"You're saying something exploded on him?"

"More likely he mixed the wrong things together and caught some caustic fumes."

They reached the central desk, and he gestured toward the phone. "I want to look at Will's chart. You go ahead and call Tony."

"Do you want me to go back to the room and keep an eye on Gil after I call?"

"No. If this guy's an addict between fixes, he's likely to be paranoid. Notice how defensive he got with three of us in the room?"

"I'm not crazy about leaving Gina in the room alone with him," Lauren said.

"Gina's safe as long as she's helping him feel better. We don't want him to think he's being threatened in any way. That's when he could become dangerous."

"Oh. Well. Then why don't I just call the police?"

Grant smiled at her and winked. "Good idea."


Excerpted from:
Necessary Measures (THE HEALING TOUCH, Book 2) by Hannah Alexander
Copyright © 2002, Hannah Alexander
ISBN 076422594
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.


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Meet the Author

Hannah Alexander is the author of more than thirty novels and novellas with medical romance and drama set in small towns, each story containing a hint of humor.

The author has received the Christy Award, three Holt Medallions, two Reacher's Choice Awards, has had a book listed by Library Journal in the Top Five Christian Novels of the Year, and has been nominated by Romantic Times Magazine for a Lifetime Achievement Award. For more information about this author go to

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