Patients in Purgatory: William T. Delamar
In Patients in Purgatory: Why are there so many shallow unmarked graves? Why is that crazy nursing home administration spying on anyone visiting? What’s happening here?
Patients in Purgatory: Genre ~ Mystery
EXCERPT: Patients in Purgatory
Ox kept Tuesday open so he could run over to the nursing home without Elmer. Elmer seemed to be feeling a little better about the place, but Ox knew something was just too pat. What really seemed strange was the limited staff for such a big place. There were now two aides on Rebecca’s floor plus the receptionist. The two orderlies, Link Unger, and the nameless big doctor wandered in and out. Starky was more evident. There was also the man who had gathered up the trashcans outside. Maybe he was from a maintenance department. The third floor seemed deserted as far as staff was concerned. He hadn’t seen anyone in the basement, although he had heard whistling. There just weren’t enough people for such a big place.
Pulling into their parking lot, he saw a car that looked suspiciously like the one that stayed behind him all the way home. He wondered if he was getting paranoid. He walked back to the ‘off-limits’ building.
Link seemed less stressed. Evidently, Ox had won his trust.
“Just so you know, Link, Miss Starky really is a nice person underneath. She just has a difficult job. I want you to go upstairs with me. You spend all your time down here and that’s not right. You should be familiar with the whole building. After all, you are responsible for it.”
“Are you sure it’s okay?”
“Absolutely.” Ox was sure the angels would forgive him for the little lie. It was for a good cause.
They had just reached the staircase when the front door swung open and an unfamiliar man walked in. He was short and stocky in build with a large head and pointed ears. He wore a large diamond tie tack indicating money.
“We thought we saw your car out there. I’m Joe Bush, the assistant administrator. What are you doing back here? You know this building’s off-limits.” He turned to Link Unger. “If we ever see you talking to this man again, you are history.”
Ox said, “Actually he was just reminding me the building is off-limits. Said he isn’t even allowed up these steps. I just dropped by to say hi. I’m getting ready to visit Rebecca Rhine.”
“She’s already had two visitors today. What are you up to? Getting your whole stupid congregation intruding on us?”
“Actually, there are two members of the Philadelphia Police Department in the congregation. Would you like for them to visit?”
“Take my advice. Keep your nose out of our business.”
“Is visiting a patient intruding on you in some way?”
“Just be aware, we know where your church is, and your family.”
Bush turned and held the door open. A large diamond ring on his hand reflected the sunlight.
“Mr. Bush, that sounds very much like a threat.”
“The boss doesn’t like interference.”
“I’ll drop up to see Miss Rhine.”
“You do that and then don’t come back here again.”
Ox walked to the front and then decided to sit in his car and think about what had just happened. There was no longer any question – something was rotten in Denmark. He had been there only a few minutes when Joe Bush rounded the corner pushing Link Unger in front of him. Link looked scared out of his wits. They didn’t glance in his direction, but went directly into the building. A few second later, Joe Bush stepped back out and glared in Ox’s direction. Ox ducked down. When he peeped out, Bush was gone. The receptionist must have told him Ox hadn’t come in.
Ox decided he would leave. He couldn’t take any threats against his family. This called for a different tactic. He started the car and headed back to the church. They would definitely start a nursing home watch program. He would do a sermon on it.
He glanced in the rearview mirror. It didn’t appear he was being followed. He stayed in the slow lane and found himself in a line of traffic stopped for a UPS truck. Cars in the left lane zipped past. One was the car from the parking lot.
The truck finally moved and now Ox was in a hurry. He decided to go home before going back to the church.
ALSO BY WILLIAM T. DELAMAR
Doug Carpenter, a new administrator, the third in four years, at Eastern Medical College Hospital, fights hospital power politics and physician greed while trying to provide a good setting for patient care. This combative scene forms a constant barrier to a successful, smooth-running operation and creates a threat to Doug’s own position, but that’s not all. A patient commits suicide. A drunk anesthesiologist kills a mother during an emergency delivery. Several patients are victims of an “angel of death.” A patient is poisoned by an unscrupulous doctor. A union strike explodes. A female goon brutalizes two nurses. On top of all that, Doug’s wife is injured in a terroristic attack instigated by the pro-union forces. This all happens in only a matter of weeks, challenging Doug’s every emotion, diplomatic expertise, morals and ethics.
William T. Delamar
Reviewed by Joseph Allen
5 Stars out of 5
An engaging, exciting story of intrigue in a fast-failing hospital
William T Delamar’s fast-paced and moving hospital novel, The CareTAKERS, is like the television world of sexy lovable Dr McDreamy and grouchy brilliant Gregory House – turned on its head. At Eastern Hospital, affiliated with Eastern Medical College, most of the physicians are greedy, uncaring, careless, bigoted, and many are incompetent. The head of anesthesiology manages to kill patients during alcoholic hazes in the operating room. Their characters border on satire, but there are no smiles intended. No matinee idols, not even close.
Fortunately the less visible folks at Eastern are the salvation of both the hospital and the down-and-out community that surrounds it. Doug Carpenter is the Hospital Administrator, very much a dog to be kicked at times, but also a moral person not to be crossed when push comes to shove. Throw in a sexy union organizer-stripper and several choric elderly ladies, and you suspect from the get-go that Eastern Hospital is either going to get saved or torn apart. No way to tell, for the most part.
Only a few weeks pass during the narrative – a landmark time for the hospital because of a pending State review and a plan to build a new hospital building even as the patient count declines. The unon organizer’s antics offer some eye-popping relief for a time, but then she opens the doors to the squalor and suffering of the community, which has a major effect on the outcome.
The plot is presented in a racial divide that will make some readers uncomfortable, and that may seem exaggerated to some readers – but it serves to let us know the Capulets from the Montagues, so to speak.
The book is a winner, which is not to say it does not have its flaws. The cast of characters is so large it seems like a Russian novel that might have benefitted from a bit of slimming down – only to avoid confusion. There are a couple of beastly stereotyped nurses’ aides who don’t add much. But the protagonists and antagonists are sharply drawn and very close to life. A bit slow at the vey beginning, it becomes a page-turner quickly.