Dr. Gordon Nichols had done his morning rounds and checked in on his intensive care patients (the Braddock’s) taking extra time to go over their charts. He had been informed Mr. Braddock had arrived during the night hoping to be able to see his wife and was turned away, he was sorry that had happened. Giving instructions to page him if Mr. Braddock returned he was in his office only 20 minutes when his phone rang. The front desk receptionist informed him Mr. James Braddock was on his way to his office and was being escorted by hospital security.
James Braddock arrived at the Coff’s Harbour Base Hospital as soon as visiting hours began. He hoped Dr. Nichols was in to “clear” him and give him an update on Ivy’s condition. The security escort was unexpected and made him uneasy. But then nothing that had occurred in the last few days had been comforting.
Dr. Nichols was waiting for him at the door to his office; he greeted Jim with a handshake and dismissed his security escort before inviting him into his office for a seat. Jim Braddock looked like a man who had been put through the wringer. “Have you gotten any sleep, Mr. Braddock?” he asked as he sat behind his desk. “You look like you're exhausted.”
“I got a few hours last night. Can I see my wife?” The expression etched on Braddock’s face could be described only as concern and desperation.
“Mr. Braddock…” “Jim. Please call me Jim.” “Ok. Jim. I need to bring you up to date with your wife’s current condition before I take you to see her or your son.” Jim looked at Dr. Nichols with a start. “Son?”
“Yes. When your wife was brought in the baby was in distress; an emergency c-section was performed. The fact that he was so close to full term is a plus. He is in the Neo-Natal Intensive care unit under observation. He is a little jaundiced but stable so far and being fussed over by several of the NICU nurses, they say he is a charmer. “
“As for your wife. I want you to know there is a team of doctors and specialists on her case…everything from orthopedics and neurosurgery to obstetricians. We are doing everything we can for her. She does appear to have been beaten very badly. She experienced head trauma and she had inter-cranial pressure. To help relieve the pressure a medical coma was induced after your son was delivered. The swelling has begun to go down and we are hoping to be able to bring her out of the coma soon to assess the extent of her brain injury. Unfortunately we are going to have to play a bit of a waiting game. “
“They said she is being considered to be the victim of attempted murder“ Jim replied. “Who... Why would anyone do that to Ivy?”
Gordon Nichols had been a doctor for 30 years. He was the head physician on Ivy Braddock’s case and he knew in his heart the man in front of him was in pain. “I don’t know who or why. What I do know is it is lucky your wife arrived when she did. She sustained a lot of injuries; many were defensive. She did her best to protect the baby and she did an excellent job of it. But the consequences are... she is almost unrecognizable. “
Jim Braddock closed his eyes trying to comprehend what he was being told and to fight back the wave of emotion that was threatening to wash over and drown him.
Waiting a moment to give Jim time Gordon Nichols spoke. “I can take you to the detail guarding your wife and introduce you, so you can visit whenever you want. Then I will take you to see your son and your wife. “