Prof. Lee and Prof. Kim wore a satisfactory smile.
The conference was quiet, but Kim broke the silence first,
“This is an intern assigned to the emergency medical department. These days I hear that he’s treating patients directly. Even the resident in charge has shown surprise at his skills.”
At his praise, Suhyuk made an embarrassed expression.
At that moment another professor asked, “Did you ever volunteer yourself for medical activities?”
It was a totally unexpected question. The topic suddenly changed from disease to volunteer activities. Suhyuk suddenly recalled his volunteer activities involving deliveries of briquette.
The memories of his taking care of the old men and women’s wounds were so vivid to him as if he did it just yesterday. Suhyuk opened his mouth,
“I did many other things, but not volunteer activities.”
Actually his briquette delivery was not volunteer activities. The faculty nodded their heads.
“Okay, go and do your work.”
At the professor’s words, Suhyuk was a bit embarrassed. They called for and questioned him, and now let him go. Well, there was nothing he could do to resist. He had to go as he was told to do so. Though he was curious about the reason they called for him, he bowed his head to say goodbye. Then Prof. Kim, smiling softly, said, “Can you wait a bit outside?”
So out Suhyuk went and the professors stayed in the room.
“I think I’ve met a smart boy for the first time in a long time. And he is bold enough. Did he say he can take care of fasciotomy? Hahaha…”
At his feigned laugh, Prof. Kim said calmly, “He really could do so. He’s a very capable guy.”
“As Prof. Kim said so about him, I think he could do it,” a professor said.
Though he answered like that, the professor did not believe it in his heart. How can an intern do the surgery? Even a resident would laugh it away. Nonetheless, he’s smart and he’s got good sense. He correctly understood compartment syndrome, and he could figure out the exact condition of the patient. That was a bit surprising. His surprise was only brief because he might have answered it correctly by sheer luck. How can any doctor infer vital signs from the history and symptom of the patient’s disease?
“I think Mr. Lee Suhyuk is the right candidate.”
Everybody nodded at Prof. Lee’s statement. It was proved from the situation a moment ago that Suhyuk was much better than other interns. Now they had only one thing to do.
Who among the professors would agree to participate?
“Let me go,” Kim said.
Then, Prof. Lee spoke too, “You are an emergency room guy. And busy too. Let me go.”
“As I told you yesterday, I have two smart fellows at the department.”
Then, the professor who threw the question to Suhyuk, added, “Let me go this time, because the hospital director said it directly to me…”
Momentarily Lee and Kim frowned their eyes, If that’s true, the reason why they called for Suhyuk to come here was just meaningless. They could not change the assigned professor just because they recommended Suhyuk as the right candidate.
“Alright,” said, Prof. Kim as he rose from the seat feebly. So did Prof. Lee.
Going outside, the two professors could see Suhyuk sitting on the bench.
He cautiously asked them, “Why did you call for me?’’
Frowning his face, Prof. Kim said, “After lunch today, you’re supposed to go for volunteer activities. The hospital director, professor and you, all three.”
Once a year the hospital director went out for volunteer activity, and it was the same with other hospitals. They met at the same place at the same time for the activities.
Hospital director, professor, intern and a nurse. Only these four went, because sending a lot of medical staff can be a burden to the hospital. And it was very unusual for several professors to gather like today and select an intern for the volunteer activity. The reason was simple.
One year ago the hospital director fell into disgrace because an intern who went out for the volunteer activity made a big trouble. So, they decided to take an intern with some more medical knowledge to the activity.
Even though they had such a trouble last year, a resident or more experienced medical staffer could not accompany the hospital director because other hospital directors would bring an intern to the activity. In other words, it was a matter of pride for them.
Prof. Lee, looking at Suhyuk quietly, soon opened his mouth,
“The professor you’re going with is Prof. Lee Sukki. He is very wicked, and puts money before the patient. So let what he says goes in one ear and out the other.”
Who knows if he would decide to snatch away a golden boy like Suhyuk? So, Prof. Lee wanted him not to trust Prof. Lee Sukki. Prof. Kim agreed.
“Did you hear Prof. Lee? I don’t know him well, but I hear some bad rumors about him.”
Suhyuk just nodded his head.
‘Even though he is weird, I would have no trouble if I just do what I’m asked to do.”
“Is there anything I need to prepare?”
At his asking, the two professors said at the same time, “Cellphone.”
Suhyuk went to see resident Oh Byungchul who was in charge of him, and told him about the volunteer activity. He patted him on the shoulder, wishing him well, and thought to himself,
‘I’m going to be busy today.’
That’s true. Suhyuk’s response to treating patients was speedy. Presenting his own opinion about emergency patients and handing them over to the relevant medical team was a very quick process for him, like a flash of lightning. And now, he would be going out for a volunteer activity all day long today.
Suhyuk had been doing his share until now, but he’s out for volunteering, which meant he might not be able to find time to sleep.
Unaware of Oh’s such concerns at all, Suhyuk went out of the back door of the emergency room. An ambulance was waiting, with its back door open wide. It was mobilized for the volunteer activity. Holding a first-aid box, Suhyuk moved to the back of the ambulance. At that moment his eyes met with a woman’s sitting inside the ambulance.
The surprised nurse opened her eyes wide. She was Han Binna.
The two said at the same time, pointing their fingers toward each other,
“Volunteer activity?” asked she.
Suhyuk smiled slightly, saying, “Yes, I was in…”
Suddenly, she scooted over to him and sat quickly. Suhyuk got in and sat next to her.
Binna held the first-aid box tightly.
‘If I had known I would see him like this, I should have put some makeup on my face.’
She was hectically busy with taking care of her morning work, so she was all sweaty over her body.
She began to move to the side a bit. She wanted to sit a bit of a distance away from him for fear her body would smell of sweat.
“Are you uncomfortable?”
She shook her head at his asking.
“Are you really okay? Your face is reddish, and looks like you have some temperature.”
“Ah, it looks like it’s too hot today.”
Suhyuk nodded his head. It’s fine weather today.
The ambulance left after about 10 minutes.
Come to think of it, he did not know the destination. All he heard was it would take him about one hour to get there. He wondered if his feelings now might be the same as if when being kidnapped comfortably.
“Do you happen to know the destination?”
“I only heard we’re going out for a volunteer activity… I’m sorry.”
‘What is she sorry about?’
“We’ll know when we get there. By the way, the lunch you made really tasted good. Really delicious. Next time let me treat you.”
Come to think of it, he was always treated to a meal by her, ranging from pasta to now a lunch box.
Now it’s his turn to treat her back.
At his words, she waved her hands and said, “No... I just treated you because I wanted to.”
He smiled at her appearance. She was the type of woman whose inner heart was revealed to the outside naturally, and he felt it was warm.
The ambulance kept driving and finally arrived at the destination.
When he opened the door, Prof. Lee was exchanging greetings with some people. They were all in white gowns, apparently from other hospitals. They were divided into three groups.
When Suhyuk and Binna approached, Prof. Lee turned his head and said, “You’re here!”
That was it. He was busy again greeting other people.
Then a middle-aged man in a suit and gown approached him.
With a pot belly but generous impression, he was none other than the hospital director.
When Suhyuk and Binna said hello, he nodded his head and said, “I heard about you on the TV several times.”
He had seen on TV a few times that Suhyuk in his middle school days cut the cricothyroid membrane and found out the secret of a cadaver.
At his words, Suhyuk wore an awkward expression.
“I happened to be on news…”
The hospital director showed a good smile. When he watched the news at the time, his action seemed rather reckless on the one hand, and spectacular on the other.
He wished Suhyuk did not act recklessly today… Well, he could order him not to examine patients or have him do on an errand.
Then Prof. Lee came to him, saying “We have reporters here, sir.”
Then he spoke to Suhyuk and Binna,
“Stand beside me, and what’s your name nurse?”
“I’m Han Binna, sir”
“Okay. You stand beside the director.”
The four stood around the director in a row. Suhyuk turned back.
It was a shantytown on the brink of collapse.
They wanted to take a picture with it as the background.
A reporter lifted a camera to take the picture, saying,
“You are really great, given that there are not many people who take time out for a volunteer activity like this. Now, let me take a picture of you.”
Those staff from different hospitals were scattered, and visited one house after another to examine the people. Holding a notebook, each reporter followed each team.
“This way, director!”
Prof. Lee, walking ahead, guided the director. He skillfully moved his body as if he had been there before. Soon they arrived at the red gate of a house, and Lee knocked on the door.
“Is anybody in?”
“Who is it?”
A middle-aged man in slippers opened the door. Confirming who they were from their white gowns, he said,
“You doctors are here for an examination!”
At his words, Lee said, “Can we come in?”
“Of course, please. It’s rather shabby though.
The Daehan Hospital team went into the house.
The room was small, so Suhyuk and Binna decided to wait outside. Ironically, the reporter was brought in by Prof. Lee. The director examined the man. He touched on the man’s body with a stethoscope, and checked his blood pressure with a blood pressure device. On such occasions camera flashes went off.
“Do you happen to have high blood pressure?”
At his asking, the man nodded.
“It’s fluctuating in temperature these days. So those with high blood pressure should take more caution on cold days like this. Also stay away from food that contains natrium and red meat…”
The director’s explanation was simple. As he has high blood pressure, he has to avoid certain food and take certain food. That’s it. And then he moved to another house.
It was the same this time. Prof. Lee used a stethoscope, checked the blood pressure and said almost the same thing as the director, and then left.
Looking at their activities like that, Suhyuk frowned his face. Why did they ask him to follow when they were doing a half-hearted job like that. Just holding their baggage? That seemed true.
When the director and Prof. Lee went out, Suhyuk stepped aside and looked inside the room.
A grandfather with a bent back almost touching his navel. When he was trying to rise to see them off, Suhyuk said, “Don’t come out, sir.”
Suhyuk gently closed the door without hearing his reply.
Getting out the room, Suhyuk briefly saw them looking around leisurely.
Then he heard something, “Ooops…!”
A boy, who fell down, was stroking his knee with an expression as if about to cry.
“Does it hurt a lot?”
Going down on one knee, Suhyuk opened the first-aid box, and took out gauze and disinfection medicine.
“Who are you?”
Suhyuk smiled at the boy casting a watchful eye.
“I’m a doctor.”
The boy’s face hardened more at hearing the word ‘doctor’.
Rather he was more afraid of the disinfection medicine Suhyuk was holding.
When the boy raised his head, feeling a sting, Suhyuk was already done with disinfecting and put a bandage on it. He split the boy’s hair and said, “Next time hold your balance when you’re running around, okay?”
Then, Prof. Lee, walking ahead, called out to him, “What are you doing? Follow us quickly!”
After breathing out a sigh without realising, Suhyuk joined the team.
“When is the volunteer activity over, sir?”
At Suhyuk’s asking, Prof. Lee said, “It’ll be over pretty soon. So be patient even if it’s boring.”
“If we’re done, please let me go back home right away.”