Bill Black had been a resident at Dealy so he calmly waited out the tirade. Expletives aside, Grollman recognized the problem as well as Trucker. The surgeons had missed an acute appendix, but that happened even to the best of breed, they then compounded the problem by giving the patient a large dose of a nephrotoxic antibiotic, double compounded it by continuing the dose as the patients renal function went south, triple compounded it by giving him contrast dye which finished off what little kidney function he had left, and then put the cherry on the sundae by infusing enough saline to launch a destroyer.
When it appeared that Trucker had run out of wrath, Black tweaked him by remarking, “The surgeons want to know why he has renal failure and congestive heart failure.”
Herculaneum buried, it was now Pompeii’s turn. “Because a surgeon does not have a cerebral cortex. Because….”
Before he could complete his rant, Biff Bullock, a fourth year surgical resident ambled by. Whadda ya think about our boy? Does he need more fluids?”
The eruption miraculously ceased, Trucker smiled like a seraph and said, “No, I think a little dialysis will fix him up. Bullock, who had been a linebacker at Ohio State, nodded gravely and left the uncomfortable quarters of the medicine floor.
“Stupid son of a bitch,” said Trucker as soon as the surgeon was gone. “He probably was a football player. So, why haven’t you started to dialyze him?” he asked Black.
When renal rounds ended, Black began arranging the patient’s dialysis. The attending who was to supervise the procedure was Sinbad Washir, a Lebanese immigrant who had just finished his fellowship and was now the most junior member of the renal faculty.
Trucker, Lance, and Walker above all, considered dialysis déclassé. It wasn’t as sexy as doing experiments on animals. It required patient contact. And, most important, they didn’t know how to do it. Thus Washir. He had taken his residency as well as his fellowship at Mineralwater. He was of average height, far above the average intelligence of academic nephrologists, was recently divorced, and wore a sporty mustache on odd numbered days.
Grollman, he wasn’t sure his presence was needed, went to the dialysis room where he joined Washir, a nurse, a technician, Black, Henry Allen (the other clinical fellow), a few anonymous persons, and presumably the patient – though Grollman couldn’t find him among the medical chorus gathered around a large gleaming stainless steel object that looked like one of the industrial strength dishwashers he had used when working his way through college. The small room reminded him of the ship cabin scene in A Night at the Opera.