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Kid Docs
A novel for anyone who has ever wanted to be a doctor

Being a doctor isn’t easy, especially when you’re fourteen years old.

Connor became a doctor just two days ago—along with all of his friends. He and his friends are child prodigies who were hand-selected at just three years old to undergo intensive medical training as part of a controversial experiment, called Kid Docs.

KID DOCS tells the story of fourteen-year-old Connor Hansen's first days as an emergency room doctor. Connor experiences his first pangs of love (toward fifteen-year-old obstetrician, Cassie), deals with his explosive older brother (a sixteen-year-old heart surgeon), and tries to figure out why his friendship with fourteen-year-old fellow ER doctor Hannah has suddenly changed. At the same time, Connor learns to save lives and discovers that some lives cannot be saved.

KID DOCS is a coming-of-age novel perfect for ages eleven and up. Readers slip behind the scenes into a world that few people ever get to experience first-hand, the life of a physician in training. It is the perfect gift for future doctors, medical students, interns, residents, and anyone who has ever wondered what it's like to go to medical school. The book will appeal to similar audiences as ENDER'S GAME and THE GIVER and to fans of the television shows GREY'S ANATOMY, ER, and DOOGIE HOWSER, M.D.

Praise for KID DOCS:

"Loved every little bit of it! Couldn't stop reading!" -- Adam, Goodreads

"The hospital setting was rich and accurate, with enough medical details to pique the curiosity of kids who might be so inclined, or to feed the fascination of adults who like to watch medical shows. I always appreciate dramatic suspense in a novel, and this one had it. Plenty of plot points kept me reading: finding out how the kid docs will react to the pressure, the fate of the patients who come into the hospital, and even the fate of one of their own." -- Jennifer Donovan, 5 Minutes for Books

Author J.W. Lynne drew on personal experiences when writing KID DOCS: Lynne was once a kid and is now a doctor!

KID DOCS is available in Kindle ebook and in paperback.

Kindle Unlimited members: Read the KID DOCS ebook for FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle e-reader, Fire tablet, or Fire phone: Borrow the KID DOCS ebook for FREE from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

If you're planning to read any books by J.W. Lynne with your book club, please share the details about your book club with the author (tentative date of the meeting, city and state, and anything else you'd like the author to know), and J.W. Lynne will try to make your meeting extra special!


Kid Docs

Chapter One

Fourteen-year-old Connor Hansen raced at full speed through the shiny, sterile emergency room hallways of Westley Hospital. He was excited … and terrified. He was about to do what he had been training for almost his entire life. But if he failed, someone would die. Paramedics rushed toward him, pushing a bright‑yellow gurney that carried a bloodied, lifeless man whose heart had stopped beating. It was Connor’s job to get the man’s heart started again. Connor was a doctor.

One of the paramedics pushed down on the patient’s chest with both hands, again and again, attempting to pump blood through the man’s body. The other paramedic occasionally squeezed a balloon‑like breathing bag, filling the man’s lungs with oxygen.

As he ran up to the paramedics, Connor quietly took an uncertain breath and asked the question he’d been taught to ask, “What have we got?”

One of the paramedics responded with an answer that sounded like gibberish, “Forty-two-year-old male status post MVA. In v-fib at the scene. Converted to sinus rhythm after defibrillation. Went back into v-fib when we were pulling up to your door.”

Connor understood every word.

His patient had been in a car accident. When the paramedics arrived at the scene of the accident, the man’s heart was quivering helplessly, unable to pump blood to his body. The paramedics had sent a powerful jolt of electricity through the man’s chest that made his heart start beating again. But moments ago, in the ambulance, the heart had begun quivering again. The man’s heart was dying. Connor couldn’t let that happen.

The paramedics slid the man onto the skinny, padded table in the center of Trauma Room One. Connor took his place on the stepstool that was waiting for him. Although he was about to do a man’s job, he didn’t feel like a man. He didn’t look much like a man either. His muscles were still small and undeveloped, and he had only recently started his growth spurt.

Connor shouted out instructions to the doctors and nurses surrounding the table: blood and urine tests to perform, x-ray pictures to take. But that was where the easy part of his job ended. Now Connor had to get this man’s heart beating again. Every minute that passed made success less and less likely.

Connor had become a doctor just two days ago—along with all of his friends. They were hand‑selected at just three years old to undergo intensive medical training as part of a controversial experiment, called Kid Docs. In the past few years, the Kid Docs program had produced some of the best doctors in the entire country, if not the world. They had some of the lowest complication rates and the highest success rates, and they had developed innovative new procedures that saved lives that were previously unsalvageable. Connor hoped that he would be among the best doctors in the world someday. But right now, he was focused on only a single thing: saving this one man’s life.

As the paramedics ran toward the door with their empty gurney, Connor asked them, “What’s the patient’s name?”

“Peterson,” one of the paramedics responded. “Eric Peterson.”

Hearing that name made an awful feeling rise in Connor’s chest. His gaze fell to his patient’s bruised face, and then his gut twisted in horror. His hands became even sweatier inside his rubber gloves than they had been before.

He knew this man.

Connor tried to focus. He listened to Mr. Peterson’s lungs as Brandon—a plump, olive-skinned medical student who was two years younger than Connor—squeezed the breathing bag attached to the mask that was pressed against Mr. Peterson’s face. Connor touched his fingers to Mr. Peterson’s neck where he felt blood pulsing through an artery whenever Hannah—an ER doctor who was the same age as Connor—pumped blood through Mr. Peterson’s body by bearing down on his chest with her hands, over and over, using all of the force she could muster.

“Hold CPR for a rhythm check,” Connor ordered his team.

Hannah immediately followed Connor’s instructions, lifting her hands from Mr. Peterson’s chest. Brandon removed the mask from Mr. Peterson’s face and looked wide-eyed at Connor, awaiting further instructions. Connor avoided Brandon’s searching eyes. When he was Brandon’s age, Connor thought ER doctors were extremely mature and confident. Now that he was an ER doctor himself, he didn’t feel mature or confident at all, but it was his responsibility to make his team feel that they were in capable hands.

Connor placed his fingers back on Mr. Peterson’s neck. Since Hannah was no longer pressing on their patient’s chest, Connor no longer felt the reassuring pulsing of blood. His fingers detected no signs of life at all. The heart monitor connected to his patient showed a wild zigzagging line; Mr. Peterson’s heart was still quivering rather than beating.

Connor’s body tensed with concern. “V-fib. Resume CPR.”

Hannah began rhythmically pushing on Mr. Peterson’s chest again, her forehead wrinkled with exertion as she desperately tried to pump blood through their patient’s dying body.

Connor ordered the defibrillator machine to be readied, “Charge to two hundred.” He was going to send a jolt of electricity through Mr. Peterson’s body, just like the paramedics had done. He didn’t know if this would start the heart beating again, but it might. Connor involuntarily held his breath. He hoped this would work. He needed this to work. Mr. Peterson was running out of time.

“Charging,” Nurse Samantha said. She was one of the few adults on Connor’s team. She towered over the doctors and medical students, even though the doctors and medical students stood on stepstools. Her long brown hair was woven into two neat braids that fell down her back. She always wore her hair that way. It made her look like a grown-up-sized kid. Of all the nurses in the ER, Nurse Samantha was one of Connor’s favorites. She treated him with the kind of respect that most adults only show to other adults.

Nurse Samantha stood beside the defibrillator that sat atop the fire‑engine‑red medical supply cart next to Mr. Peterson’s bed. The defibrillator was emitting a long, loud, high-pitched, awful sound. Connor grabbed its paddles, and Nurse Samantha squirted some special green jelly onto them. Then Connor pressed their cold metal plates against Mr. Peterson’s bare chest.

“Clear,” Connor shouted, making his voice sound strong and steady, the exact opposite of what he was feeling inside. He pushed red buttons that had lightning‑bolt symbols on them, releasing the shock.

Mr. Peterson’s body jerked, as if he were a life-sized rag‑doll shook by an invisible giant. The line on the heart monitor shot up and then down … and then it started zigzagging again.

The shock hadn’t worked.

Everyone sprang back into action. Except Connor. He just stared at his patient, feeling hot and numb. He couldn’t think straight.

“Connor?” Hannah whispered.

Connor wondered whether she could tell that he was freaking out. He figured she probably could; Hannah and Connor had been best friends for so long that sometimes it seemed as if they were able to read each other’s minds.

Examine your patient, he could almost hear Hannah say inside his head as she stared at him with tough, determined eyes.

Connor did as she “told him” and checked Mr. Peterson’s belly, gently pressing against it with his trembling fingertips; it was rock hard.

“Abdomen’s rigid,” Connor reported. “He’s bleeding internally. We’re gonna need lots of blood?” He glanced around the room taking in the controlled chaos of nurses and doctors, all performing their tasks. “Shouldn’t trauma surgery be here by now?” he asked.

“Surgery’s on their way,” Nurse Samantha said, hanging a bulging bag of red-purple blood on an IV pole.

Connor moved his attention down to his patient’s splinted legs. Both thighs were swollen and misshapen. He didn’t need an x-ray to know that Mr. Peterson’s thighbones were broken; it takes a lot of force to break a femur.

Connor’s head felt foggy again. What if Mr. Peterson is too injured to survive? Connor’s heart pounded furiously against his ribcage. No! he told himself, pushing the negative thoughts from his brain. Mr. Peterson is going to be fine. He has to be.

“I’m gonna intubate,” Connor shouted over the voices of the other medical personnel. He kicked his stepstool closer to the head of the table and grabbed a laryngoscope—a metal flashlight with a long silver blade protruding from one end. Connor slid the laryngoscope blade deep into Mr. Peterson’s mouth. Muscling the patient’s heavy tongue and jaw out of his way, Connor slipped the tip of the blade all the way down into the man’s throat. Nurse Samantha placed a plastic breathing tube in Connor’s other hand. Carefully, he threaded the tube between vocal cords that looked like parted, pink curtains.

Brandon attached the breathing bag to the end of the tube and then squeezed the bag as Nurse Samantha listened to Mr. Peterson’s chest.

“Breath sounds equal,” Nurse Samantha said.

Hannah turned to Connor and smiled. “Great job, Connor!”

But there was no time for Connor to enjoy his success. As far as he knew, Mr. Peterson’s heart still wasn’t beating.

“Rhythm check,” Connor barked out.

Hannah stopped pressing on the patient’s chest, and Connor checked the heart monitor. The bad zigzagging line was still on its screen. Connor’s stomach sunk.

“V‑fib,” he said. “Give him epi and charge to three hundred.”

Nurse Samantha turned a dial on the defibrillator and pressed a button. The machine emitted its awful squeal.

Another nurse—a serious-looking woman wearing glasses—emptied two syringes full of clear liquid into Mr. Peterson’s IV tube, and then shouted, “Epi’s in.”

Connor placed the metal defibrillator paddles onto Mr. Peterson’s chest once again. “Clear.” He pressed the lightning bolt buttons, and Mr. Peterson’s body jerked unnaturally for an instant. On the heart monitor, the zigzagging line shot up and then down … and then it became flat.

Mr. Peterson’s heart wasn’t quivering anymore. It had completely stopped. Connor felt like his own heart might stop.

“Resume CPR,” Connor said through the lump in this throat.

But just before Hannah’s gloved hands touched Mr. Peterson’s chest, the heart monitor let out a soft bleep.

Then another bleep.

Then another bleep.

Connor’s gaze flew to the monitor. Little blips appeared in the line running across the screen.

“Sinus rhythm,” Connor said in thrilled disbelief.

Hannah placed her fingers on Mr. Peterson’s neck. “He’s got a pulse!” she announced, grinning with excitement.

Mr. Peterson’s heart was finally beating!

Applause broke out in a corner of the trauma room. A few adults emerged from the shadows led by a slim, blond‑haired man who looked like a much older version of Connor. He was Connor’s dad, Doctor Mark Hansen.

“Nice work, everyone!” Connor’s dad said. And then he leaned close to Connor and added, “Excellent job, Connor.”

Connor’s dad rarely smiled, but he was smiling right now. Connor could tell that his dad was really proud of him. But there was something about this patient that his dad didn’t know. Something Connor knew would change his dad’s pride to shame.

Nurse Mike—whose broad shoulders made him look like he belonged on a football field rather than in an ER—burst through the door. “Mr. Peterson’s wife is here. Want me to bring her in?”

Connor didn’t answer, even through it was obvious that Nurse Mike was speaking to him.

“I’ll go talk to her,” Hannah volunteered.

“Thanks,” Connor mumbled.

Hannah looked at him. “You all right?” she whispered.

“Yeah,” Connor lied, and then he turned his focus back to his still‑very‑ill patient.

* * *

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