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Sweeping the Floor

(2007)
Modern medicine has many practitioners who do more than necessary to cover all the bases.

But sometimes the best just isn’t enough and the doctor’s luck runs out with that of his patients.

an excerpt from this contemporary short story …

Nurse Addison opened the door and waved a clipboard at Doctor Skaven.

“The patient in room C is ready for you, doctor. Here’s his chart.”

The physician leaned back from his desk and took the information proffered. He pulled his glasses down from his brow, did a quick read through and said, “This guy’s forty-four and checked himself in with the self-diagnosis of a heart attack? Where’d he get a medical license?”

“I know, doctor,” she replied with the sigh of an exasperated school teacher. “The man looks physically fit, but that’s what he complained of: chest pain.”

Skaven knocked politely with two taps before he pushed the door open. He extended his hand, introduced himself, said, “You are Evan Burgess?” When the response was affirmative, Dr. Skaven gave a hearty smile. “Good, Mr. Burgess. I always like to confirm that before we do anything. Wouldn’t want to be treating the wrong patient now, would we?”

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Burgess had removed his shirt as the nurse requested and Skaven was aware of the man’s physique which was excellent for a middle aged adult male. His posture was good, his skin clear, his complexion ruddy which was to be expected from the outdoorsman type he appeared to be. Skaven had already convinced himself the man’s heart was not an issue here. However, before the patient could say anything in reply, Skaven continued: “You don’t smoke? Have diabetes? You look fit. What kind of work do you do?”

“Forest ranger is the best way to describe it,” Burgess said obviously brightening to the topic. “I mostly walk around the forests of Marin, Mount Tam. That’s where I was

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