The Flatliner

Do the dead think?

A fallen medical researcher becomes obsessed with a single question: Do the dead think?

The Flatliner

A Tale of the Bloody Scalpel.

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About the Book

A fallen medical researcher becomes obsessed with a single question: Do the dead think?

The Flatliner

A Tale of the Bloody Scalpel.

Dr. Ephraim Tews watched the woman go rigid, then raced out of the room to the observation port behind the mirror opposite the bed. He watched the blips on her heart monitor first speed up, then become irregular. The pattern it traced changed from the regular peaks and valleys to useless random noise. These rapid, irregular strokes gradually broadened out to flatness as her heart fibrillated from lack of oxygen.

“Flatline,” he said, and made a note in his journal with the exact time. He needn’t have done that, the instruments recorded everything, but it was habit.

He looked at the renal monitor. Although the blood circulation had stopped, he knew the beans—ha ha, his own private joke; the kidneys in more proper medical lingo—would continue to function for an hour or more. They’d squeeze every last ounce of water out of the blood pooled in them, making urine for another hour or two. It fascinated him how the chemical composition of that urine changed as the minutes passed. His machines collected the urine minute by minute.

The dead liver was more difficult to evaluate, and apparently more sensitive to death, but a microscopic tube through the right side of the abdomen would collect post mortem bile for the thirty minutes or so the organ continued to work. Dr. Tews had still not figured out how to sample the liver as a whole, which would be of enormous interest considering the thousand or so different substances the liver produced in life. Ephraim could not help but wonder how death affected that production.

The lungs were of only passing interest. Easy to sample the post-mortem gases, but once the airbags collapsed and involuted, as they did almost immediately without the bellows affect of air moving in and out, there wasn’t much of interest in that gas.

The brain, of course, was another matter entirely. Although death might still its outward manifestations, such as the movement of limbs or turning the head, his studies had taught him the brain was a busy place in the minutes after death. And sometimes, minutes could become hours. The wires taped to his subjects’ heads had shown that. A machine in the corner of the room worked briskly as the twenty or so pens attached to those electrodes inked her brain activity on paper. But what did these squiggles mean? Ephraim had spent hours trying to decipher them, with nothing more than eye strain to show for it.

And therein lie the mystery. Ephraim wasn’t so much concerned with the moment of death itself, which he considered mundane. What interested him more, much more, was the moment and minutes after death.

Details
Author:
Series: Tales of the Bloody Scalpel, Book 11
Genres: Fiction, Thriller
Tags: from the mind of Edison McDaniels, Supernatural Medical Thrillers
Format: eBook
Length: short story
ASIN: B083LG1FQK
eBook Price: 0.99
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The Flatliner
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About the Author
Edison McDaniels

A brain surgeon with 20+ years and over 8,000 cases under his belt, Edison McDaniels spends as much time as possible writing fiction these days. He is the author of the acclaimed TALES OF THE BLOODY SCALPEL series of medical thrillers, as well as the THE GETTYSBURG TRILOGY, a series of intense novels depicting the battlefield surgeons at Gettysburg.
He lives in the upper midwest, does not have a dog, but can often be found at Minnesota Twins baseball games. He is not squeamish.

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