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PostPosted: Mon Oct 4, '10, 6:43 pm
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VI

Dr. Braudenhoff spent many time crying. It was very late. An assistant came and asked him if he wanted something before their work time finished. He asked to the assistant to careful examine the patient, to discover if there was any alteration in her health state and the reason of all that suffering. He remained in the room, in desolation, hearing her continuous screams of pain. Those screams would never be forgotten during his whole life.

After an hour the assistant went back to the room and presented to the doctor the results of the examination. It seemed like everything was ok, temperature, pulse, level of conscience, breathing, internal organ activities. She even showed normal sensitivity in her left arm. These results made Dr. Braudenhoff puzzled. "What could have gone wrong?" He couldn’t understand and he couldn’t stand hearing and seeing the suffering of the Jewish girl without any commotion. He was suffering so much inside. He decided to stay when the assistants and nurses left. He stayed in his room, next to the room where Stella was laying. She was crying of pain and she kept crying the whole dawn and morning. Dr. Braudenhoff couldn’t sleep because of the screams. He, from time to time, went to the door to look at her, but the sight of the girl made him feel worse, so he went back to his room. He was trying to think in something to undo the damage he had done to her, but he didn’t know what the problem was. So he stayed there until the nurses arrived in the end of morning. Then he left to his home in the concentration camp to get some sleep.

Dr. Braudenhoff´s life became an inferno. He was tired of seeing so much pain and suffering, many deaths, many people gassed, shot, beaten till the death, workers that seemed like living skeletons, carrying heavy packages and steel bars. He regretted to not have left German before the beginning of the war. He and his family could have moved to Switzerland, and they would be at peace. But now he was tired of everything, in despair and in a state of shock. While he was leaving to his house, he saw two SS officers spanking a young Jew. He used to see these scenes everyday, but he never accepted. This time he was courageous, mad and couldn't even think properly, so he went to the officers:

"Please, stop this.", said the doctor.
"Why I am supposed to stop?" asked one officer, with a grim in his face. "Are you defending this useless Jew?"
"What did he do?"
"He stole a loaf of bread", answered the other officer, kicking the Jew’s head.
"Of course, a person can’t survive with so low amount of food. Let him go back. He had already learned the lesson."
"Are you Jewish or what? Do you know what happen to ones like you?", asked the first officer, ready to punch the doctor.
"Ok, ok, I think that was enough.", said the second officer. And he gave orders to the Jew in screams, to never do that again and resume the work until the next day, as a punishment. Then he turned to Dr. Braudenhoff and said:
"People who defend the Jews are not welcome here, doctor. Do not interfere with our work and we will not interfere with your life."
"Yes, sir", answered the doctor as he turned away.

Arriving home, he took a shower and went to the bed. He didn’t sleep too much, mostly because of the tension. He was sad with everything, with his life, angry with many of the members of the Party and worried about Stella. He would never want to be the responsible for the death of a person. Although all the dreams were nightmares, he could at least rest a little bit and recover the forces and think well again. Then he had the lunch at evening and collected all his anatomy and medicine books, to take to the medical center.

This time at least he didn’t smell the smell of human flesh and didn’t see any Jew being beaten or murdered. This was a relief. But his relief lasted only the time between his leaving his house until his arriving to the medical center block. He could hear Stella’s screams from the outside. And his peace faded away. He went immediately to the room where Stella was and asked the nurses how she was. They said her life signals were all ok, but that she was crying the whole day, she threw up the food they gave her and her level of conscience seemed to be worse. The doctor went to her that surprisingly calmed down a bit when the doctor touched her. But she kept on crying of pain. The doctor himself made some detailed examination, even in the wound, that was closing normally. He made an extremely careful examination of the left side of her chest, but he didn’t notice anything wrong. He untied her right arm and she immediately pressed her right hand in the left side of her chest. She was suffering a lot, but every time she saw the doctor, she had some hopes of being cured. She didn’t understand well what happened to her, since she was not sick before the operation. No one had ever talked about human experimentation at that concentration camp, so she didn’t know she was the subject of an experiment. She at first thought she had been selected to be gassed or that they would sterilize her, but an incomprehensible surgery in the chest, the continuous pain and all the concern of the doctor with her made her puzzled too (she could notice his concern, although he had to hide his feelings of compassion from the assistants, nurses, officers and everybody else). Although she suffered a lot, she never thought of the doctor as a bad man. She could see through his eyes that he was not a bad man. And she could see the mental suffering of the doctor.

Then Dr. Braudenhoff gently touched her head and said in a very low voice to her, trying to not be heard, but by the girl:

"I will do everything I can to help you."

She didn’t understand a word in German, but she felt he didn’t want to do any harm to her. Then she saw him enter his room at the medical center handling many books and lock the door.

That was a very long night to Dr. Braudenhoff. He searched every book he had in hands to try to understand the problem that made Stella scream. He was studying under the pressure of her screams of pain. He opened pages, studied carefully the anatomy books, saw the diagrams of the veins, arteries, muscles, bones, compared to what he saw inside Stella, draw the things he had done in her body in a sheet of paper and compared with the schematics in his books. He even owned a copy of the controversial Pernkoff´s Atlas of Topographical and Applied Human Anatomy, which is considered one of the best anatomy books of the world until nowadays and is suspected of using gassed Jews´ corpses in the research. But every research was kind of futile. The comparison he made between the surgery he had done and the anatomy books lead him to conclude that she could not being suffering that way. Everything seemed to be harmless, at least in short term. The frustration of his conclusions and the constant torture of rearing her screams led him to throw the books in the walls, the shelves, which caused some flasks to break. It was many hours past midnight and one assistant that would stay the whole night in the medical block, watching for the patients, went there and knocked the door. Dr. Braudenhoff didn’t answer and he asked:

"Dr. Braudenhoff, is everything ok?"
"LEAVE ME ALONE!" shouted the doctor.

So the assistant left. The assistant knew that Dr. Braudenhoff was in a bad mental condition. In conversations between the assistants and nurses, the man heard that the officers were concerned about his mental state that they would have sent him to a psychiatrist and probably declare him mad. This would cause him to be executed, according to the eugenic politics of the National Socialist German. If it wasn't the insistence of Commander Histlenheimer, the doctor probably would be dead.

Dr. Braudenhoff unlocked the door and went to see Stella. He was in such a despair and frustration that he was almost crying. He went close to Stella, performed some examinations and noticed that although the life signals were normal, she was becoming weaker, since she haven’t slept since she woke up after the surgery and she stayed two days crying in pain. He stayed a while near her, regretting the fact that he was the main responsible for her suffering. There is no denying that both of them felt attracted to each other. But that was not a matter. "Even if she was a criminal, a killer, anything, she is a HUMAN". That is what Dr. Braudenhoff thought. He didn’t have the right to spoil the life of a human in any circumstance. So he took a decision. He hurried to find the assistant and a nurse. After gathering the two, he communicated the decision:

"Let’s operate the girl again."
"Now? It is too early!", complained the nurse.
"Yes, NOW. Let’s hurry."

Dr. Braudenhoff and the assistants entered the surgery room, turned the lights on and prepared everything to the surgery. Stella was scared, but felt that the doctor would do something to help her. She was right. Dr. Braudenhoff wanted to re-operate the girl and try to undo what he should never have done. He was willing to discover why she was suffering, since the operation appeared to be a success (if we can say so of a human experiment). He was ready and said to the assistant:

"This time you give the anesthetics BEFORE the surgery, ok?"
"If you are saying so… ", answered the assistant, as he went to fill the injection with anesthetics.

After a couple of minutes, Stella was sleeping. So Dr. Braudenhoff started an extremely careful surgery. Only three people in a surgery would be considered madness, but Dr. Braudenhoff was so careful and determined that only his presence was sufficient to do the surgery. He picked up the scalpel and opened her chest in the same place he opened before. This was made because the wound was still opened and it would be easier. So he opened the skin and the tissues very carefully. After that he became shocked when he saw a great amount of pus inside her body. The infection was strange, because it could happen, but rarely in that amount in few days. Anyway he was determined to cure the woman, so he had all the patience in the world to clean every bit of infection of her body. Even with the great infection, he wanted to believe that the cause of the pain was only the infection, but he couldn’t, as her suffering was unbelievable. As an experienced doctor, he knew that the infection alone wouldn't cause such pain. And the operation was going well, but when he opened another layer of tissue and reached the interior of her chest, where her sewed veins were, he started to cry immediately. He saw such a great damage in her body that nothing could be done. He couldn't understand why that happened, but the veins were damaged, rotten, blood was slowly dripping from then and the damage was reaching the lungs and the heart. "No… No… No… How can this be true, my Lord?" He cried so much that his assistant asked what happened and the doctor just replied:

"Would you mind to close the wound?"

And he sat on the floor, crying. The assistants tried to say anything to the doctor, but he would never hear. "Stella will die" was the only thing in his brain.
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