CURVE BALL

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Chapter Fifty

McNulty’s face paled. “What do you mean you can’t find the patient?” he shouted into the walkie-talkie.

“Negative,” the answer came. “We’ve checked the 7th floor and she hasn’t been located.”

“This beats all,” Billy Dee said. “Is Melissa missing post-op or pre-op?”

McNulty drew a blank and was about to push the talk button. His thumb moved away from the switch. “Who’s Melissa?”

“Your patient, Melissa Stone. She was brought in with gun shot wounds. She’s in her late 20’s early 30’s. The woman at information told me she was about to have surgery.”

The officer looked puzzled. “Give me an I.D. on the missing person,” he said into the radio.

A few minutes later the two-way came to life. “Female, 105lbs, 32, gun shot wound, last name S_T_O_N_E_ first name M_E_L_I_S_S_A.”

“Let’s go to recovery,” Billy Dee said. The hall way was crowded. There were two doctors running with their stethoscopes swinging from side to side. A nurse was behind them. Three security people along with fire fighters and police were also rushing toward the open elevator shaft. Billy Dee recognized several white shirted officers.

McNulty steered Billy Dee to another corridor and away from the commotion.

“The operating room and recovery is down here,” he said.

They moved quickly. Emergency buzzers and lights flicked on and off. McNulty took out his pass card and swiped it to open the door. Billy Dee followed him to the nurse’s station. He was introduced as a police officer to Linda Callen the head nurse.

“Here’s the paperwork on her. She was definitely brought here. She was being prepped and then…”

“Then what?” Billy Dee asked.

“Well, she was on a gurney and should have been brought into the operating room.”

“And?”

“There was another patient. She had a similar name, age, and the patient I.d. number’s last two digits were inverted from Ms. Stones’. That was the person wheeled in for surgery.”

He looked at McNulty. “I’m not following?”

“I think what nurse Callen is saying is that transport took Melissa somewhere else.”

She nodded.

“Where?” Billy Dee asked.

The nurse looked at them and her eyes welled. “I think…I…eh… best guess is transport took her to the morgue.”

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