Josh took several steps toward the road, toward the deli when his beeper went off. “Shoot.” He jogged back inside and met the EMTs as they wheeled a stretcher into the ER. “What do we got?” he asked.
“Young woman, early thirties, beaten unconscious, trauma to the head, stomach, and chest,” the EMT ticked off the woman’s injuries. “Possible broken ribs, too. Breathing is shallow.”
Josh pulled a tiny flashlight from his pocket and checked her eyes. They were reacting to light. That was a good sign. Unhooking his stethoscope from around his neck, he checked her heart. Slow, but steady. “Do we know her name?”
“Okay, Alessandra,” Josh said in a soft voice. “My name is Dr. Parker. You’re at Metro General Hospital. Can you hear me?”
On the stretcher, she groaned in pain. Tears fell from her bruised and swollen eyes. Dried blood coated her face. Dear God, she looked horrible, so scared and weak.
“We’re going to take care of you now. You’re safe.” Josh put his hand on her shoulder in an attempt to soothe her. It unsettled him to see this woman so shaken, perhaps more than it should. He kept his hand light on her but with enough pressure for her to register that he was there, that she wasn’t alone.