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Panda Project

Panda Project

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Published by Sandy Sessler

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Published by: Sandy Sessler on Jun 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/26/2010

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THE PANDA PROJECTAs Medical Director and chief of staff of the New Hope neonatology department,Emile Raskin was able to come and go as he pleased. And he was pleased to let himself into the genetics lab early that Sunday morning. Being that it was Sunday, there was nomedical staff in the lab and that left Emile free to rummage through the files for theinformation that would be so critical to his new project. The Panda Project was what hesecretly called it.Secret, indeed. There was no-one who knew (or ever would know) about Panda, noteven Gemma, his wife. Dr. Gemma Raskin, head of high-risk obstetrics, was a brilliant,sensitive, doctor who was top in her field. She was also infertile and unable to bear achild of her own. How tragic; a woman who was able to grant the wishes of hundreds of women and provide baby after baby to each of them, to every patient, except herself.Every attempt she and Emile tried, from artificial insemination to in vitro fertilization,had failed. All the standard medical treatments and avenues had failed. So, GemmaRaskin gave up and totally, turned her attentions to those women she
could 
help.Emile found the files he wanted and locked the lab, as he left. Then, he walked to theend of the isolated hallway to an old closed-off lab; closed off, since outside funding haddried up for the project that the lab housed. Making sure there was still no-one around,
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Emile let himself into the room.Dr. Raskin flipped on the overhead light and the room was bathed in bright fluorescentlight. What was supposed to be an empty lab was filled with equipment that he had beensquirreling away, little by little. Emile ran his hand over the slightly out-dated respirator and a two year old isolette.It will do nicely, he thought to himself, as he looked around and made a mental note of the few items that he still needed to obtain. Everything’s in place. Now…it’s just a matter of time.He tucked the stolen files into his inside lab-coat pocket, turned off the lights and leftfor home. Gemma would be waiting. Her wait was…almost over, he smiled.It had been a long night; two deliveries, back to back. One of them was a rough C-section for a breech birth. Close call, but mother and baby were doing fine. Gemma brushed her long chestnut hair into a metal clip that held it confined neatly at her neck.She slipped into her jeans and favorite sweatshirt and went down into the kitchen to pour herself a
very
strong cup of coffee. She knew Emile would be home from his jog anyminute and she wanted to be at least a little more coherent. Gemma was used to being on-call and her sleep cycles were like wild roller coaster rides. She never knew if she wasgoing to be on the up or down, but her body had learned how to adapt and she could cat-nap at a moments notice, waking up refreshed and ready to go another round or two.When Gemma heard the front door open, she took down another coffee mug to pour her husband a cup of French roast. Unlike most joggers who quenched their thirst withcold water, Emile liked a cup of coffee first and then downed a large glass of orange
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 juice. He’s an odd duck, she thought, fondly, as she handed him the mug.“Hi sweetheart,” he said, as he kissed her forehead and took a sip of his coffee.“Well, you didn’t work too hard,” she laughed, as she noticed that he had hardly broken a sweat.“Oh…I got a cramp and had to walk the last couple of miles back,” he made up. Hewatched Gemma’s face and saw that she bought it. No need to worry.“Want some breakfast?” she asked.“No, thanks. I’m gonna hit the shower, love,” he answered, as he slipped his armsaround her waist and pulled her tight. She looked up and brushed her lips against hischeek.She’s going to make a great mother, he thought and went to take his shower.“Well, are you ready for this?” Gemma asked Alicia McDaniel.“I think so,” Alicia said, nervously, as the surgical nurse swabbed the cold Betadineover her swollen belly.“Well, before you know it, you and Jeff will have two healthy little girls and you’renot going to have another good nights sleep again for a long,
long 
time,” Gemmalaughed.“Okay, Dr. Raskin,” Alicia tried to smile. This was her first C-section and her first setof twins; her first baby was a boy and an uncomplicated vaginal birth.“Marta, I think you can go get Jeff,” Gemma told the nurse.“Sure, Dr. Raskin,” Marta said, and left to bring Jeff into the OR.“Mr. McDaniel, sit right here, behind the drape” the anesthesiologist told Jeffrey
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