The door leading in from the trauma bay was slowly opening about an inch or so, and she realized one of the sheriff’s deputies was standing there. From the angle of the door, he wouldn’t have a good shot at Kurt, but just knowing the deputy was there helped steady her nerves.
“It’s not too late, Kurt. Put down your gun and come outside. We understand this is all just a big understanding.” The voice outside sounded like Deputy Armbruster. “Come out while you still can.”
“No! If you come in here, I’ll kill them both!”
The door from the main part of the ER opened even wider, and Larissa tensed as she saw Deputy Thomas kneeling there, wearing full SWAT gear. Despite the awkward position, he pointed his handgun at Kurt. She thought she was prepared for the sound of gunfire, but the blast made her jump.
Kurt screamed and swung around, shooting wildly before he went down hard. The next few seconds passed in a blur, but suddenly the gunfire stopped and the nightmare was over.
“I have him,” Deputy Thomas said as he stood over Kurt, who was bleeding profusely onto the floor. Kurt’s gun was on the other side of the room far out of reach.
“Get him up on a gurney,” Gabe said. He shoved the metal tray aside and rose to his feet, pulling her up, too. “Are you all right?” he asked in a low tone, his warm, brown eyes gazing down at her.
“I think so.” Her hands were still trembling, so she clutched them together.
Thank you for saving us, Lord!
“Run and get Julie to come and help me with Kurt,” he said, moving away. “He needs medical attention. You can cover the patients on the teams until we’ve finished.”
She could barely wrap her mind around the fact that Gabe was going to help fix Kurt’s gunshot wound. But then she realized they simply couldn’t let him die, no matter how much he might have deserved it. So if Gabe could do it, so could she. “I’ll help you.”
“You don’t need this, get Julie,” Gabe repeated, heading over to where the sheriff’s deputies were handcuffing Kurt Hinkle to a gurney. There was so much blood that she knew there wasn’t time to waste.
She went over and grabbed IV supplies, knowing that they’d need access in order to give badly needed blood and fluids. The rest of the ER staff poured in to assist once the deputies had given the all clear. Soon she and Julie were working as a team, pumping four units of O-neg blood in at a time through a rapid infuser.
“Call the trauma surgeon on call,” Gabe ordered. He stared down with obvious concern at the open wound on Kurt’s lower abdomen where Deputy Thomas’s bullet had penetrated deeply into his flesh. “I can’t stop the bleeding, and he needs to get to the OR stat!”
A nicked artery certainly explained the massive blood loss. Larissa didn’t allow herself to think about anything that happened before, focusing solely on saving Kurt’s life. Even though she knew he’d end up in jail if they managed to succeed.
She heard Julie making the call to the surgeon. “Dr. Rausch is on his way in.”
Gabe grimaced and began packing the wound. “I hope he gets here in time.”
“Do you need a suture tray?” Larissa asked after she finished hanging four more units of blood. Kurt’s vitals were low but stable, at least for now.
Gabe gave her a grim nod. “I’ll try my best to patch him up at least until he can get to the OR.”
She pulled a sterile vascular tray off the shelf on the back wall and quickly opened it up as Gabe pulled on a new set of sterile gloves. The vascular tray wasn’t really equipped for a large-vascular injury, but it was better than nothing.
Larissa handed Gabe instruments and lap sponges as he worked to stem the bleeding enough to see what he was doing. He placed a few sutures, and the blood gushing out slowed to a trickle. He put more sutures in and then stepped back. “That’s all I can do for now.”
Fifteen minutes later, Dr. Rausch strode in and took command of the situation. Within moments, she and the transporter wheeled Kurt over to the OR. Deputy Armbruster followed alongside, unwilling to let his prisoner out of sight.
“I’m afraid you can’t go in there,” she warned, putting a hand on the deputy’s arm. She wasn’t sterile, either, and neither one of them would be allowed any farther. “You’ll have to stay out here if you really want to wait.”