Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #319

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #319

…As a direct result of leaving the care of A.O. Campbell, Audrie Franich infects, reacts to an antibiotic treatment from another doc and her frail body gives up the ghost…

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Give up the Ghost by Vincent Xeus

“But…” Ifs and buts may as well be candy and nuts. The Franich girl is quickly becoming a victim of yet another misjudgment. First, she gets pregnant by her merchant marine husband, who goes out to sea and leaves her alone. Secondly, she goes to a white Jacksonville doctor, who makes a lame attempt at an illegal medical procedure; abortion without getting your hands dirty… plain lazy. Then, to correct the second misstep, Doc Campbell is compelled to restore a pre-pregnancy state for young Audrie, the lesser of the previous evils, but it now leads to the final wrong in an error-packed 5 months.

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In the intervening month, Audrie Franich, the young mother of two children, dies. As a direct result of leaving the care of A.O. Campbell, she infects, reacts to an antibiotic treatment from another doc and her frail body gives up the ghost. Mother of Audrie, Mary Gray will be at the deathbed, convinced that her daughter is telling her that it is Doctor Alpha Omega Campbell who performed an abortion on her. Not a doctor in Jacksonville or another at Havana.

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All this time, A.O. has been drawing unwanted attention to himself. Despite repeated warnings by his legal counsel, Campbell receives other young white women with different, yet similar conditions as Audrie Franich.

One such is seventeen and unmarried. Her future husband insists that she have an abortion. He will pay for it for now, and then they can marry. Are they getting things backwards? Yes of course, but in 1955, women do not have children out of wedlock, at least the respectable ones. The baby delivers anyway, but lives just two days.

Another woman, who cannot keep straight who she is married to and when, needs an abortion to align her life properly. She cannot have the child of the man she is divorcing, because her new husband would not approve. This picture is so convoluted that the doc is unable to separate out the facts from the fiction. What does he do? Yes of course, he tries to help, even though this patient ingested large doses of quinine in a “do-it-yourself” attempt.


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Episode #319


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #317

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #317

…The fact that A.O. was not considering his dealings with Audrie Franish as an abortion has distracted him…

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As Audrie is taken to the second floor room, where numerous hand-sized lives have been taken, without having had the chance to fulfill God’s intended purpose. This beleaguered doctor, assailed by both needs and the needy, has forever wrestled with the moral aspect of this one small corner of his business. Just what does his Maker and God, looking down from above, see? Is He sorely disappointed with the man, born Alfrey Campbell, or does He gaze with compassion and grace? A devout servant and worshiper has a single soiled corner in an otherwise spotless house.Image result for medical symbol

Alpha Campbell, the doctor, speaks with a new desk nurse named Edwina Stephens. “When I’m done packin’ the girl, make sure that Miss Franich comes back for two more days of packin’ of the uterus. It’s a damn shame I can’t keep her here. What would be the harm in it?”

“Yes, sir, Dr. Campbell, three days,” Edwina is new and nervous. So new, that she is making the worst possible of innocent mistakes. One of her duties is the appointment book. She was not around in 1954. Had she been, the woman she has replaced, Lettie Golden, would be having a coronary, as would Attorney Sinclair Clavitt. Back then, there were but a scant 15 minutes between that appointment book and infamy.

The fact that A.O. was not considering his dealings with Audrie Franish as an abortion has distracted him. More lessons not learned.

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“I want to be there with my baby!” mother Mary cries out.

“This needs to be a complete sterile area, Mrs. Gray. Please wait in the hall.” Head nurse, Lillie Chevis, is a skilled doctor’s right hand. She has been with Dr. Campbell since he opened his hospital in 1947. She had left Florida A&M Hospital because she shared A.O.’s vision. But only her height exceeds her employer, nursing skills notwithstanding.Image result for sterile

“Thank you Lillie…

A.O. has been packing her cervix with sterile gauze, when after two or three more times the uterus would reject the dead fetus.

It is important that she does not miss a packing, lest infection set in. It is a gradual process, but a known way of encouraging the womb to empty itself. No need for invasive surgery.

Image result for concord florida“We will repeat this packin’ until you go into labor. Then you come a callin’ in a big hurry and we will be done.”

For young Audrie it is a tedious process, traveling back and forth from her Daddy’s house at Concord, Florida is not her idea of solving her problem. Concord is no more than a speck in the Panhandle; map makers have ignored it with unsettling regularity. Daniel Boone would have had a difficult time finding it, with directions, a compass and a local Seminole Indian companion.

“Yes, Doc Campbell, I just want this whole thing over.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

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“Daniel Boone – The Home Seeker – Cumberland Valley” c. 1940 by N.C. Wyeth

Episode #317


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #308

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #308

…As soon as the nosey attorney’s car is down the street, Clavitt heads straight for LBMH, to rectify two small details concerning this case…

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All Mixed Up by Donna Bentley

“What do you mean you’re suing the doctor because his daughter can’t have children?” Campbell Attorney Sinclair Clavitt, an associate of R. Worth Moore, reacts to his first conversation with the attorney representing the Sanders family. Missy Sanders was a patient of Doc Campbell two years ago. “There is no record of your client being a patient of A.O. Campbell and all the way from Jacksonville you say… please? You insult my intelligence, sir.”

“She is married now and her obstetrician claims that she had an abortion and that whoever did it appointment-book2damaged one of her Fallopian tubes. The odds of her conceiving a child is so slim that her doctor says any baby would be a miracle baby.”

          “I am truly sorry for the girl, but my client has no record of a Missy Hart as a patient.”

          “Missy Sanders.”

He is corrected. “Yes, that’s who I meant, Missy Sanders.” Clavitt is beginning to secretly panic. Campbell is getting his patients confused, thereby confusing his legal counsel, which is not a good thing. “I’ll give you some advice; tell the Sanders’ that they are wasting their time and yours.”

          “I’m about to get a warrant to see Doctor Campbell’s appointment book from 1952.”

“We have nothing to hide. Good day.” It is an abrupt separation.

As soon as the antagonist’s car is down the street, Clavitt heads straight for LBMH, to rectify two small details concerning this case. He had previously supervised the erasure of the wrong patient in the wrong year.

After breaking every speed limit by more than ten miles per hour, he explodes into the lobby of Campbell’s clinic. “It wasn’t Milicent Hart, A.O., it was Missy Sanders!”

“I get those young girls mixed up, don’t like knowin’ their names — can’t remember their faces.”

“That’s all fine, but if we don’t erase the Sanders name from your appointment book, you can bet that a very angry grand-childless father will cause you to lose you medical license, maybe worse.”


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Episode #308


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #303

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #303

“Curtis, is that you? What did you see?” Curtis did not answer the doctor’s question because he did not know what he saw…

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It is not long before Curtis pulls up on Virginia Street. Rather than trying to raise the older woman to her feet, he runs to the front entrance, but he finds the door locked. He peers through the only window that does not have a drawn shade. There is no one at the front desk. There is always someone at the front desk.

“Don’t you be fretting’ Miss Edwina, I’ll go around back.” Curtis knows these grounds like the back of his hand and he knows Doc never locks the back door while somebody is in the building. He happens upon nurse Lilly, who is wrapping something in a small bag. Doc Campbell pokes his head out of the door.

lbmh3-001 “Put that in the cooler with the others fetuses. We’ll take care of them tomorrow.” He is startled by a glimpse of his driver, just ten feet away. “Curtis, is that you? What did you see?”

“Miss Edwina Stevens is out front, she hurt her leg bad.” Curtis did not answer the doctor’s question because he did not know what he saw.

“I’ll be out there quick.” A.O. turns to whisper to Lilly, “You finish packing Missy, oh and unlock the front door.” He then runs to the front of the clinic, bloodstained white lab coat and all.

“Help me get her a wheel chair, Curtis; it looks like her ankle is broke.”

“The door is locked, Doc,” he says while A.O. proves him wrong.ball-chain-001

“Take her Room 2, Curtis; she will be spendin’ the night.” He turns edgily toward his wife’s friend, whose brittle old bones are giving out one after another.  “I will be in to put a splint on your ankle in a minute, Edwina. Take two of these for now.”

The doctor heads down the hall toward the back. His other patient is waiting for the final touches to the procedure that ended her baby’s short life. The grief she is beginning to feel, will shift to unwelcome baggage, uncomfortable feelings that she will carry around, like a ball and chain for the rest of her life.


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Episode #303


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #301

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #301

…The white father shakes A.O.’s hand like it is covered with slime, offering the doc only a limp and halfhearted appendage. “No one can find out about this, you understand?…

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braceT LFT“Oh, my dear, sweet, glorious Lord, have mercy on this ol’ man. You have given us so much, blessed us ‘seedinly, but it still ain’t enough. I have to help out those poor young girls that is wit child and no accounts for boyfriends or husbands. An’ there’s some bad ones out there callin’ theyselves doctors that’ll be butcherin’ them girls. They be best off wit someone who can care proper for ‘em.

“Now I ain’t askin’ for any trouble. I’ma goin’ to need your devine pretectin’. There is folks that would love to visit me in jail.”

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It had been a long day at the hospital for Alpha Campbell. There has been a big run of the flu making it rounds through Tallahassee’s 1952 growing population. It isn’t the killer variety that killed millions back in 1918, but it transmits very well, too well and he has all he can do to make it back in time to meet a late night patient at his clinic. He is tired and hungry, but there is an extremely anxious father in his waiting room, with an equally nervous daughter, soundly pregnant, in tow.

“I don’t want to lose my baby, daddy. Can’t I raise it at home?  Okay, I’ll get a job then and findmy_little_girl1 a place of my own.”

          “You are goin’ to graduate high school, Missy and that’s that. There ain’t a man, well a good one anyhow, in Duval County who’d marry a whore with a baby.”

That last phrase was uncalled for. There are many girls in the South who do not complete their secondary education; most of the time, people of the town neither notice nor care. Women stay home, raise a family, while their husbands go out and win the bacon.

At least that was what it was like before the Second World War. ‘It is hard to keep them in the home, once they’ve built a battleship’. Missy’s mother was one of those women in the shipyards of Jacksonville. Missy’s father, having lived through that, will not have his little girl doomed to factory work. She is going to have an abortion, finish high school and hopefully marry a good man who will take care of her, so she can raise him handfuls of grandchildren… someday.

“I’ll need to keep Milicent four days.”

“It’s Missy, doctor.” He is getting names mixed up. Milicent was the name of his first abortion patient, years ago.

“Oh yes, Missy. So, come back on Thursday, you can take her home then.”

“Thank you, doctor.” The white father shakes A.O.’s hand like it is covered with slime, offering the doc only a limp and halfhearted appendage. “No one can find out about this, you understand?

The common threads that tie every one of these illegal procedures together: ‘No one can find http://www.dreamstime.com/-image2615801about this.’ ‘Bring your affairs to Doc Campbell in Tallahassee and he will keep things private.’ Sure, that claim is not exclusive to abortion, not with venereal disease and mastectomies out there, but when a white girl shows up at the back door of LBMH, odds are that she is pregnant, though not for long.

“Oh, yessir, you can count on that.” A.O. has no intentions sharing nature of his less-than-legal sideline with anyone, including family. Only his nurses, like Lilly Chevis, know the extent of the doctor’s circumnavigation of the laws of the state of Florida and she is none too comfortable with her involvement. She and Lettie Golden will continue to help out, driven by their loyalty to a truly good man.


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Episode #301


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #285

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #285

…A.O. takes a closer look at the pretty high-schooler, likely with a good husband and a big house, full of children, in her future…

The American Dream  by Kay Crain

The American Dream by Kay Crain

What are the long term ramifications in the world of Dr. A.O. Campbell? For months since his hospital opened, the vultures have been circling above Virginia Street, no, not an impatient banker waiting for his money, but a threat of a different nature. Regrettably, by feeding these persistent vultures, it serves a master, the needy or the needful. Up until recently, the doctor has resisted the temptation of the most controversial operation that is performed, yesterday, today or tomorrow.

“I’ll pay you anything you want, Campbell. We were told that you are the one doctor in the Panhandle we could trust to keep our affairs private.” A white man, probably in his late forties, has come all the way from Jacksonville… unsolicited. He has a young woman with him. She is trembling.

          “You’re askin’ me to do somethin’ that ain’t legal here in Florida.” A.O. is standing firm on this issue. “My job as a doctor is to preserve life, not end it.”

          “My girl was knocked up by any one of three sailors, ain’t seen any of ‘em since. What do you think people are going to say? My Millicent is no whore, sir and I am a descendant of Isaiah Hart, for crying out loud!”

“Huh?” A.O.  does not know Isaiah Hart from the Queen of Hearts.

          “The Hart family built Jacksonville and I can’t have my first grandchild being some bastard without a father.”

          “All children are made in the image of God, Mr. Hart.” Campbell has delivered every manner of baby over his 35-year career, fully 50% without clear parentage.

          “Look, we have driven all night to get here,” he fumbles through his suit coat for his money clip, “here’s four hundred dollars.”

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American Dream by Luis Cruz Azaceta

He takes a closer look at the pretty high-schooler, likely with a good husband and a big house, full of children, in her future. She is sobbing uncontrollably, with a look that is calling out, ‘I just want to get this whole mess over with!’

“Forgive me, Lord,” entreats the doctor. He motions to his head nurse, “Get Miss Millicent settled on the second floor, Lilly, and get the delivery room ready.”

Like a lamb to the slaughter, Millicent Hart lambwill be the first white person treated at LBMH. It will not exactly be an occasion to celebrate.

“I will need to keep her four days, Mr. Hart, have to make sure infection does not set in. You’re welcome to stay in the hospital if you would like. Your daughter should not be alone.”

“Four days? How am I going to explain that to my wife?”

“How do I make accounts to the Almighty?” This is not the first illegal abortion performed in Tallahassee. The techniques are widely known and $400 goes a long way. Whether it is right or wrong will be left to a judge higher than man.


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CONSTANCE CARAWAY P.I. ~ Episode 129

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Forever Mastadon ~ Episode 129

 …Fanny finishes her fortuitous forensic foray in Florida…

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The object of Eddie Dombroski’s admiration has zoomed through her investigation with amazing speed and skill. Fanny Renwick has delivered critical damning evidence that Dr. Sapp in Havana Florida routinely shuffles potential abortion candidates over to Alpha Omega Campbell. The Tallahassee doctor needs to be rescued from his own self, particularly when it comes to the extra cash generated by illegal abortions. Yes he has a mortgage for his own clinic, Laura Bell Memorial Hospital, but even more burdensome is his wife; used to having the best… of everything.

 

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R. Worth Moore is delighted to have the ammunition to shoot a bad doc out of the water. With Fanny as his birddog, he will now be able to exercise local control over his well-meaning client. A.O. always contended that if a girl has her mind set on aborting her baby, she is going to find someone to do it, or even worse try it herself. The immorality issue aside, this old country doctor believes that he can counsel the troubled (mostly) teens, all the time recommending inclusion of the father. It’s when the male counterpart is unknown, or in places unknown, that this argument is ineffective and moot.

The absolute kick in the pants is when another doctor has started a failed abortion method and the woman is hung out to dry, unable to assign blame; it is just as illegal to seek an abortion as it is to perform one. Again, a new doctor to the case has to see the pregnancy to its end, but at whose risk? Doc Campbell has taken that risk too many times, only to be bailed out by his firecracker attorney. But longtime barrister James Ferrell’s life is at the end of its fuse and that entire forensic fortress will crumble upon his eminent passing; no Ferrell, no luck.


 

CONSTANCE CARAWAY P.I.

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 Episode 129


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