Suhyuk came closer to her, asking her,
“Hello. What is your name?”
“Haaah... haaaaah… Suji. Kim Suji.”
He was relieved to hear her reply to him because it showed her conscious state was normal.
Checking her vital signs and body condition, he said,
“I’m Dr. Lee Suhyuk. Can I touch the stethoscope to your chest?”
Suhyuk pulled down her upper clothes slightly, and pressed the stethoscope against the left side of her chest.
He carefully listened to her heart.
He heard the heart murmur.
It was a sign that one of the four valves, which could be called the door of the heart, was ruptured. If the valve which opened to send blood through to the body is not closed properly, this kind of noise is heard as the blood reverses in the wrong direction.
“Haaaaah… doctor… am I in a serious condition? They told me to go to Daehan Hospital, saying they can’t treat me…”
She was aware of the name Lee Suhyuk, and of his face, because she saw him on TV.
Suhyuk, whose face hardened for a moment, smiled and said,
“Don’t worry. I’m a famous doctor who was on TV. So, just trust me. Got it?”
She nodded her head slightly.
Suhyuk called a nurse immediately.
“Please take a blood test and ECG for this patient, Kim Suji.”
After she, carried on a stretcher, disappeared with the nurse, he fixed his eyes on her chart again.
There was the name and the contact number of the physician who treated her.
Suhyuk called him without any hesitation.
“Yes, this is Dr. Oh Chulin.”
“Hello, this is Dr. Lee Suhyuk at the cardiothoracic surgery department at Daehan Hospital.”
Suddenly Oh’s voice was not heard, but it was only brief.
“Oh! It’s an honor for such a famous doctor like you to give me a call like this…”
“I’m taking care of the patient you sent us. You mentioned myocardiopathy, and no reaction to treatment...”
“Ah… actually she has terminal cancer. Initially the reaction was favorable internally, but…”
Listening to him, Suhyuk nodded his head, but his face was hardening gradually.
“Got it. Thanks for your explanation.”
“You’re welcome. When you’re available one of these days…”
Suhyuk hung up the phone as he did not hear his voice. He was completely focused on the patient.
The radiograph shots were shown on the viewer.
Suhyuk knitted his brows.
Her condition was serious, just like Dr. Oh had said.
She could not be cured with internal treatments.
The fact that her heart did not respond to internal treatment meant her heart was broken.
It needed a surgical operation, and it was not that easy of one to perform.
Suhyuk contacted Prof. Han immediately. Fortunately he answered the phone quickly.
“Professor Han. The transferred patient. She has terminal myocardiopathy.”
“Terminal? So what?”
“I think we need to perform a heart transplant.”
“Are you in the intensive care unit? Let me come to you right away.”
Han soon arrived, and checked the shots, images and the examination chart with a long sigh.
The mitral valve and tricuspid valve of the heart were damaged, and various complications were present. Therefore, the operation of the artificial heart besides the artificial valve could not be considered. Left untreated, she could not live more than one year.
“What is her blood type?”
Watching the chart and shaking his head, Han murmured, “it’ll take a long, long time…”
Because it was none other than the heart organ, it was like picking a star from the sky to find someone who was willing to donate the heart.
It was only possible to get a donation from a patient in a state of brain death, suspected of having clear medical death due to an accident or brain disease. Needless to say, one had to get the donation paper signed by the patients who had fallen into the disease or the consent from their picky guardians.
"I will contact the organ donation center,” said Suhyuk.
He faxed the patient information to the center after calling them.
It would take time to find the right organ compatible with the patient, but his name recognition would help speed up the process.
He got a reply from the center that they would get back to him the next morning.
A nurse came to him, who just finished the call, saying,
“Sir, Kim’s guardian came.”
“Where are they?”
“She’s in the intensive care unit.”
A woman in her late 40s was sitting on a bench in the hallway.
She hurried to the hospital after she was informed that her daughter had been transferred to a different hospital.
Wrapping her face with her hands, she stood up feebly, and asked,
“Then, can my daughter survive if she receives a heart transplant?”
“I already informed the organ donation center about this. They said that they would reply by tomorrow. So stay with your daughter until then.”
“What if there is no heart compatible with hers? Then what happens to my daughter?”
There was some silence between them.
“Then we have to find another heart donor.”
At his reply she clenched her teeth.
“We’ll do our best to find the right donor.”
Nodding her head, she went into the intensive care unit.
She stroked her daughter’s hair cautiously.
“Mom, Dr. Lee Suhyuk told me that he could treat me. The nurse also says that he’s a famous doctor...”
She was almost choked to tears, but cleared her throat, nodding her head.
“Really? Don’t worry about anything, okay? Got it?”
“You’re going through so much hardship because of me, mom… If I get well, let’s go out for the noodles that you like…”
“Sure, sure. And for the clam noodle soup that you like…”
Suhyuk soon turned his back after watching them.
The next day.
Suhyuk was talking to the organ donation center.
“Unfortunately we could not find a heart compatible with patient Kim Suji. Hello?”
“Can you contact outside the country?”
“We can, but it will take some time. 6 months at the latest…”
Suhyuk knitted his brows. Six months would be too long.
There was limit to controlling a patient’s life span by using all kinds of medical methods.
“I look forward to your best possible help.”
Suhyuk tried his best to find a donor other than the organ donation center.
Whenever he found any available time, he took to the phone to find a possible donor.
But there was no tangible outcome.
Suhyuk let out a long sigh after putting down the phone, just looking at it quietly.
Soon he was heading for the intensive care unit to check her condition.
While he was walking down the hallway, he overhead some nurses talking to each other.
“You know patient Kim Suji, who has terminal myocardiopathy. I hear she needs to receive a heart transplant… Too bad.”
“Was it three years ago? A patient died after he failed to get a heart transplant while waiting for one.”
Suhyuk, whose face was hardening, made up his mind that Kim would not tread the same path.
He went into the ICU and ran into the patient’s mother.
“Doctor, I have something to tell you…”
They moved to a break area.
Offering a cup of coffee to her, Suhyuk took a seat.
“The heart compatible with my daughter… do you think it will take some time to find…”
Suhyuk did not hide anything because she need to know about the exact situation.
“I’m currently checking outside the country. So, a compatible donor can appear quite soon.”
Was she listening to him?
Sipping cold coffee, she looked at Suhyuk, and said,
“Don’t you think that a heart from a family member has a higher chance of compatibility with her?”
“Well, that is statistically right. But examination is necessary for an accurate diagnosis…”
Suhyuk opened his eyes wide while talking to her.
Was she thinking of donating her own heart?
All sorts of thoughts came to his mind.
“Don’t think about weird stuff. There is a certain standard for a patient who can receive a heart transplant. Above all, there is a clause that says, ‘the patient can get psychological protection from their family.’”
In that respect, she is not the right person to get a heart transplant from.
His face hardened, Suhyuk came out of the break area.
At that moment, she stopped him and said,
“Her daddy is in the hospital right now, in a vegetative state.”
Tears flowed from her cheek.
Suhyuk was on the elevator at a different hospital with Suji’s mother.
They soon arrived at the 3rd floor, and moved to the patient’s room.
There was a middle-aged man in his late 40s in there.
He stayed put there in the bed, with an oxygen respirator on his mouth.
He was none other than Suji’s father and her husband.
“Honey, I’m here.”
She came up to him, and grabbed his hands, saying,
“Sorry. I couldn’t come yesterday as I was too busy. Were you bored?”
Suhyuk came to her side.
“He is two years younger than me.”
They met at college as a junior and a senior.
The memories of him giving her flowers or tying up the loose laces on her sneakers on bent knees were still vivid in her mind. And their pleasant walks during the summer night.
Holding his hands gently, she opened her mouth,
“Honey, our daughter Suji is very sick… Boohoo… very, very sick. So… boohoo...”
Suhyuk slipped out of the room.
Suhyuk met his physician and asked him to check the compatibility.
“As I am not busy, I can check it out quickly.”
Having said that, the physician left the place, and Suhyuk sat on the bench in the hallway.
About two hours passed.
The physician came back to Suhyuk. He nodded his head to Suhyuk who rose from the seat.
Then Suhyuk went back to the room. In front of the door he heard her sobbing quietly.
She was holding his hands as if she was praying.
Suhyuk cautiously opened his mouth,
Hearing that, she sobbed louder, which filled the room.
Suhyuk was leaning against the wall.
It would be a tough surgery.