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    The Final Diagnosis

    Автор книги Arthur Hailey

    Время прослушивания 03:57, Дата публикации

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    It was the morning of a very hot summer day in Burlington, Pennsylvania. The shade temperature was ninety-four degrees, with 78 percent humidity. Within Three Counties Hospital, it was cooler than outside, but not much. Among patients and staff, only the fortunate and influential could enjoy air-conditioned rooms. The life in the hospital was going along its usual routine. There was no air conditioning in the Admitting department on the main floor, and Madge Reynolds, who was thirty-eight, chief clerk in Admitting, and also a diligent reader of feminine-hygiene advertising, took her fifteenth Kleenex that morning, dabbed her face, and decided to go out to the toilet and use deodorant spray again: miss Reynolds wanted to be always completely sanitary, and in hot weather she went from her desk to the women's toilet down the corridor and back again nonstop. But before going out, she decided to telephone four patients for admission that afternoon. A few minutes earlier the day's discharge lists had come down from the wards, showing that twenty-six patients were being sent home instead of the twenty-four. During the night, there were two deaths that meant that four new names could be taken from the hospital's long waiting list for immediate admission. Somewhere, in four homes in and around Burlington, four patients who had been waiting for this call either hopefully or in fear would now pack a few essential things and put their trust in medicine as practiced at Three Counties. Miss Reynolds picked up the telephone and began to dial. In the opposite wing of the main floor, people were awaiting treatment in the outpatient clinics. They at least would enjoy air conditioning when their turn came to enter one of the six offices leading off the waiting room. In the heat, more fortunate than the Admitting clerks were those awaiting treatment in the outpatient clinics in the opposite wing of the main floor. They at least would enjoy air conditioning when their turn came to enter one of the six offices leading off the general waiting room. Within the offices, six specialists from the Medical Arts Building downtown were making their exclusive services free to those who couldn't, or wouldn't, want to pay the private-patient fees that were usually charged in the Medical Arts Building. In one of the offices old Rudy Hermant, who worked only when his family bullied him into it, sat back and relaxed in cool comfort while Dr. McEwan, the ear, nose, and throat specialist, was trying to find why he was growing deaf. Rudy didn't mind the deafness too much: at times, when foremen wanted him to do something else or work faster, he found it an advantage. But Rudy's eldest son had decided the old man should go to the doctor about his ears, and here he was. After examining old Rudy's ear, Dr. McEwan said irritably, "It might help a little if you washed some of the dirt out." McEwan wasn't usually irritable. This morning, however, his wife quarreled with him about household expenses at the breakfast table. Afterwards, he was in such bad temper that he crumpled the right rear fender of his car getting out of the garage.