"Where's the donor information kept?" asked Abby.
"It would be in the transplant coordinator's office downstairs. The
nursing supervisor has the key."
"Could you ask her to get the file for me?"
Abby reopened Nina Voss's chart. She turned to the New England
Organ Bank donor form --- the sheet that had accompanied the heart
from Vermont. Recorded there was the ABO blood type, HIV status,
syphilis antibody titers, and a long list of other lab screens for
various viral infections. The donor was not identified.
Fifteen minutes later, the phone rang. It was the nursing
supervisor, calling for Abby.
"I can't find the donor file," she said.
"Isn't it under Nina Voss's name?"
"They're filed under the recipient's medical record number. There's
nothing here under Mrs. Voss's number."
"Could it be misfiled?"
"I've looked in all the kidney and liver transplant files too. And
I double-checked that record number. Are you sure it isn't
somewhere up in the SICU?"
"I'll ask them to look. Thanks." Abby hung up and sighed. Missing
paperwork. It was the last thing she felt like dealing with at this
time of the morning. She looked at the SICU records shelf, where
files from current patients' previous hospitalizations were kept.
If the missing file was buried somewhere in that, she could be
searching for an hour.
Or she could call the donor hospital directly. They could pull the
record, tell her the donor's medical history and lab tests.
Directory assistance gave her the number for Wilcox Memorial. She
dialed the number and asked for the nursing supervisor.
A moment later a woman answered: "Gail DeLeon speaking."
"This is Dr. DiMatteo calling from Bayside Hospital in Boston,"
said Abby. "We have a heart transplant recipient here who's running
a postop fever. We know the donor's heart came from your OR. I need
a little more information on the donor's medical history. I wonder
if you might know the patient's name."
"The organ harvest was done here?"
"Yes. Three days ago. The donor was a boy. An adolescent."
"Let me check the OR log. I'll call you back."
Ten minutes later, she did --- not with an answer but with a
question: "Are you sure you have the right hospital, doctor?"
Abby glanced down at Nina's chart. "It says right here. Donor
hospital was Wilcox Memorial. Burlington, Vermont."
"Well, that's us. But I don't see a harvest on the log."
"Can you check your OR schedule? The date would have been --- "
Abby looked down at the form. "September twenty-fourth. The harvest
would've been done sometime around midnight."
Over the receiver, Abby heard the sound of turning pages and the
nurse's intermittent throat clearing. The voice came back.
"I'm here," said Abby.
"I've checked the schedule for September twenty-third,
twenty-fourth, and twenty-fifth. There are a couple of
appendectomies, a cholecystecomy, and two cesareans. But there's no
organ harvest anywhere."
"There has to be. We got the heart."
"We're not the ones who sent it."
Excerpted from HARVEST.© Copyright 1996 by Tess Gerritsen.
Reprinted with permission by Pocket Books. All rights