First Do No Harm - Part 4
Location: Sickbay - BS Solaria
Timeline: MD 15 - 21:15
Dr Callahan had spent about an hour the previous evening going through the entire Fleet's manifest looking for a lawyer, and had been surprised not to come across any Colonial Fleet legal officers - yet. As suggested by the CMO, the medical department would be at a better position to defend their obligation to treat 16 year-old Taron, likely against the wishes of his surviving parent, if they had some legal advice. With the father currently unaware of the boy's location, they had a slight upper hand at preparing for any challenges ahead.
With little time to trawl through the list again, she settled on someone by the name of Adam Kendrick. There was no file to read through, no website to browse his profile on, no way to verify the man's credentials as a legal practitioner. And so she sent the word out for him to meet her face-to-face.
"Come in," she said immediately after someone had knocked the door leading into her small office. She had just gone through a busy morning ward round and had a heap of other jobs to do, nearly forgetting about the appointment she'd arranged.
"Doctor Callahan?" Adam asked, stepping into the office.
She tidied up her desk, putting files and papers away, and stood up to greet the man. "Hello. Please come in. Take a seat," she offered, pulling a chair out.
"I'm Adam Kendrick. You asked to see me?" he said, a bit confused as to why the doctor had requested him.
"Yes, I did," she said, as they settled in. "I apologies if I've interfered with your schedule. I was hoping to, on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer and the rest of our department, ask for some legal advice on a particular issue we're facing."
"It's fine, I really haven't been doing much," he admitted, taking a seat. "What exactly is the issue you need advice on?" he asked, wondering if that was related to the 'hypothetical' situation he had spoken to the young medic about.
She took a pause. "We have... a minor under our medical care at the moment," the doctor began. "He hails from Sagittaron, and unfortunately comes from a family that doesn't seem to appreciate modern medical science. He has essentially escaped, with his father currently unaware of his whereabouts. The child is sixteen, and was transported to here from one of the civilian ships in the fleet. He's requesting medical treatment, and doesn't want his father to know. I have a feeling his father will find out soon enough."
"Well, that's a predicament. I may have heard something akin to this situation recently. If we were on the colonies it would depend where you were, if you were on Sagittaron, or Gemenon or some of our more, 'spiritual' colonies, you'd be obligated to defer to the parents course of treatment, the right to refuse medical treatment on religious ground is law there. On Virgon though, you're obligated to render life saving medical aid, even if it's against the parents' wishes. Normally I would recommend the teen in question file for emancipation. Which would require us to have a functioning judicial system which we don't at the moment," Adam said to the doctor.
Something had caught the doctor's attention. "I'm sorry, you said you've heard something about this case? From who did you hear about this, may I ask?"
"Just scuttlebutt, I believe is the term you military folks use for it." Adam said, not wanting to get the young medic in trouble.
The doctor gave a stern look, and wouldn't budge. "Who did you hear it from?"
Adam looked to the Doctor. "I've heard a great many things for many people over the past few days. What is left of our civilization is trying to figure out our existence. There have been a lot of questions about how our civilian laws and liberties fit in what is in essence a military dictatorship." The lawyer rose to his feet. "Now, if you require legal advice on something I'm happy to lend my services. If not, I believe I will be leaving now."
"The reason I ask," the doctor began, "Is because we're trying to keep this quiet. I'm concerned about the ramifications that may occur if word of this potentially infectious patient spreads. It's without a doubt that his father will eventually find him, but we're hoping for some time to get ourselves ready for any legal process we may find ourselves in. That's why I need our staff to keep this confidential. And if one of them has spoken to you about this patient, I'd simply like to remind him or her of their responsibilities."
"If I speak to my client again, I will have them have speak to you." Adam said, "Now, is there further legal advice you'd like?"
The doctor gave a confused look, frowning. She didn't understand why a staffer within the medical department would seek legal advice from Mr Kendricks on their own. Unless they had already done something wrong or questionable, and neither she nor the CMO knew about it.
She paused. "Fine. Let's just get back to where we were... So you mentioned emancipation and the requirement of a functioning judicial system. Seeing as we don't have one - nor a system of government for that matter - would we have to presume that the fleet now operates under martial law? And that such matters are to be decided upon by the CO?"
"All right, then," she nodded. "I'll be in touch with the CMO. I believe he will discuss the matter with the Commander." She still wanted to know who may have leaked information about Taron's presence on the Solaria, but that would have to be sorted out later. "Thank you, Mr Kendrick."
The lawyer nodded and rose to his feet. "I'll send you my bill," he said with a smirk before walking out. He made his way out of sickbay and along the main corridor back to the civilian 'holding-area' of the ship.
And that was when he bumped Jamie Perth - the young medic having been preoccupied by reading off a stack of papers at hand, not paying attention to where he was going.
"Oh, hey, sorry," the medic said upon looking up. And then a quick frown, after recognising it was the lawyer he'd met earlier at the mess hall, just before condition one had been called. "What... brings you to sickbay?" he asked.
"Your boss had some questions about a less than hypothetical legal situation," Adam said. "You should check in with Dr Callahan."
Lt Ashley Callahan
Spc Jamie Perth
Critical Care Paramedic