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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, '11, 3:49 pm
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This is another old story I've written and now I've reedited it.
Not surprisingly, the theme is dark. I think I've realized why my writings are usually like that. It is a form of dealing with things I consider unacceptable.

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Dr. Kempf was reviewing some papers at the medical center. Writing and reviewing papers constituted most of his work those days. There were too many certificates to write. He expected it would be his last activity that Friday, when he was surprised as an unexpected patient was taken inside his office. The patient was a young woman in a wheelchair, being pushed by a nurse. The young woman had very long curled hair, brown as her eyes. The doctor was still getting used to his older patients, as he was used to give special treatment only to children, so the woman made an impression on him. She is not particularly beautiful, but she is a girl many of the young boys would wish to date. However, she has this static semblance, making her unworthy. There is no doubt she has some kind of mental illness.

Dr. Kempf shook his head, trying to dismiss his apparent empathy with the patient. He was accustomed to mentally handicapped patients because he was working with them for some time, particularly some whose illnesses rendered them unable to work or progress in their studies. The nurse left the woman inside the office and handed him some papers, which he immediately examined. It was his turn to examine the woman. Among the papers, he received a report with the diagnostic made by two other specialists, and he would be the last to give an opinion about the patient. Dr. Kempf read the report carelessly, as he usually did, jumping some parts and seeking only useful information. I hate when those doctors insist in writing detailed reports about the patient’s conditions. No one asked them such details. It makes it harder for me to find the keywords I need to copy to my own report. He learned that the name of the woman was Elisabeth Grüebel; she was 22-year old and was living in an asylum for the last three years. The closest relatives mentioned were cousins. The diagnostics made by the other doctors stated that she had an incurable and serious mental disease caused by a brain damage of unknown origins, and then they followed on describing particulars of her condition. Who cares about that? Just saying that the patient has an incurable and serious mental disease would do. No one will care to read these reports afterwards and no one will be punished if their arguments were not enough to support their final verdict. The two previous doctors assigned a “+” signal in the report.

Based on what had caught his attention from the long report, Dr. Kempf immediately thought it would be an easy case to determine the result of the examination. Given the previous verdicts, he could easily repeat the other doctors’ opinions and solve the case, but there was still some sense of duty in his mind that didn’t allow him to haphazardly deal with the matters the government has entrusted him, so he would conduct his examination properly. He was prepared to deal with a person in semi-vegetative state and started with a simple question:

“Ms. Grüebel, are you feeling fine?”

To his surprise, she promptly nodded to the question. Though she could not speak, she understood perfectly the words addressed to her. Dr. Kempf was not expecting that level of consciousness in the patient. This was a clear signal that the decision would be harder than he had previously thought.

He tried some other routine examinations to check her abilities and he realized that her brain was mostly functional, contrary to the serious mental disease reported by the other doctors. She was mostly functional, probably even able to perform some small tasks, far from the semi-vegetative life his careless reading of the report lead him to believe she was living. She could handle some objects, perform some of the basic coordination activities used to evaluate children and even write, but her motor coordination was somewhat affected by the brain damage, so she had some clear difficulties to perform some of activities properly. A longer experiment would concluded that, though capable, she took much more time to perform the activities than a healthy person, and, while not willing to perform a long examination in the end of his expedient, Dr. Kempf had already concluded that. He stayed for some time trying different activities and the woman reacted always in the same pattern.

For some time Dr. Kempf, the woman’s efforts made him feel more empathy for her. He started pitying Elisabeth and was willing to contradict the previous physicians because she showed clear signs of frustration when she could not accomplish the tasks he ordered her to do. Poor woman, she bears a crippling brain damage, but has the persistence and the will to accomplish his tasks. She deserves to live more than those lazy idiots, who, while blessed with a perfect health, are not willing to do anything for our people.

However, despite her hard efforts, occasionally she appeared completely spaced out, so it would make it hard to put her to work on important activities. Her case was much more complex than Dr. Kempt had previously predicted and his examination took much longer than he wanted. As she would be his last patient of the day, he decided to waste a bit more time with her, despite the expedient being over, for she had incensed his scientific curiosity. He stopped the experiments in order to read the complete report, paying the proper attention this time. He learned from it that she was first diagnosed with mental problems at 14, after she mysteriously passed out. Then, she went to live with his cousins at the age of 17, when her mother died. Her cousins were not too keen on taking care of her, so she was sent to a public asylum after one year. She was sterilized three years before, as soon as she was taken to the asylum and recently she was sent to the clinics for evaluation during the collective action for emptying asylums and converting them in medical centers for the soldiers.

Dr. Kempf spent some minutes thinking about the case and the presence of the girl in the room made him uneasy. He had made many decisions of this kind before, but this time he was really moved by the patient. Due to the new policies concerning the incurable mentally handicapped, he had to take a decision and he knew what kind of decision his superiors were expecting from him. Though he knew she was not completely wasted, she would not get better, at least not so easily, and there was no way of justifying a negative decision. Besides that, while they demanded a unanimous decision, nothing prevented them from considering his opinion bogus and sending her to another physician to assess her condition. It would only put me under an undesired spotlight. Sometimes it is better to give them what they want. So, he confirmed the decision of the previous doctors and left his office, handing the report back to the nurse.

As the three doctors gave the same “+” diagnostic, it was time to do what was the common procedure in those cases. Dr. Kempf waited briefly while the other clinic workers took care of the legal proceedings. He knew what would happen next, and he had performed his task many times before. However, this time, it seemed to be harder. For some time, he felt anxiety, gloominess, and even guilty for what he had done. After some minutes, the nurse communicated him that it had been decided that Dr. Kempf would take charge of the case himself.

With the news, he went back to his room where Elisabeth was left behind, and called the same nurse who had brought her into his office to help him lying Elisabeth in the table. Then he went to his medical stuff and prepared an injection of Luminal. Though his movements were calm, he was tense, still trying to convince himself he had made the right decision. When the injection was ready, he went to Elisabeth and said, with a comforting voice.

“You will not suffer anymore.”

He injected her Luminal slowly. Elisabeth looked puzzled. After the injection, he made a brief caress in her forefront, while she looked him with inquisitive eyes. The nurse found it strange, because the doctors were usually cold when doing it, but there was nothing wrong in his acts. The girl was a genuine member of the pure race; just she happened to be imperfect. When the first convulsion happened, Dr. Kempf considered it too much to stay there watching, so he left the room.

Five minutes later, he entered the room again and Elisabeth was static. He took her pulse and noticed she had no pulse at all. She was dead. He instructed the nurse to call the assistants in charge of disposing her body and left his office again, heading to another office. There, he took a pattern letter to be sent to her closest relatives, informing about the death. He also filled her medical record. When it was time to write her death cause, he hesitated for a while. He had done it many times before, but, for the first time, he thought how wrongful it was. Nevertheless, I have done what I was meant to do. I have just performed my duty. With his hand shaking, he filed the death cause: Pneumonia.

After he finished, it was as if he had took an enormous weight from his shoulders. He left and locked the office, leaving the letter to her relatives and her medical record with the secretary. The secretary would arrange the things and later send the letter to Elisabeth’s relatives along with a box with random ashes taken from the crematorium.

Dr. Kempf said goodbye to people in the clinic and headed back home, calmly. He was not so anxious anymore. The uneasiness would pass soon and he would forget about Elisabeth. Moreover, he had no reasons to keep the negative feelings inside him, for he had just done what he was supposed to do. The most important thing, they say, was to perform his duty. His duty with his leader. His duty with his country. His duty with mankind. After all, everything they all had been doing was trying to build a brighter future for the mankind. Therefore, he lit a cigarette and enjoyed the light breeze of the hot summer evening, while the sun was setting behind the buildings.

During his stroll back home, he was distressed by a horrific sight. For a moment, he had thought he had seen Elisabeth Grüebel, sitting in a wheelchair, in front of him, covered in blood. He looked at his hands and they were also covered with blood. In despair, he closed his eyes, and, when he opened them up again, there was no Elisabeth Grüebel anymore. There was no Elisabeth Grüebel anymore, she was history. He shook his head, as if he was shaking his guilty out of his mind, and resumed walking. As a proof that his guilty had disappeared with the image in his mind, he started making plans for a pleasant evening and weekend with his loved ones. I have just done the right thing.

Last edited by tilinelson2 on Fri Aug 26, '11, 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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