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A Walk in the Woods

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Wing Chun: C | 1 USERS: A+
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A Walk in the Woods

Carter finds Mrs. Woodman waiting, with Miss Pre-School, in chairs. Mrs. Woodman leaps up as soon as she sees Carter, and asks, "How is he? They won't let me back there." Carter -- allowing the subtlest bit of judgment to creep into his voice -- tells her, "We had to move him to a room with a special ventilation system so that he doesn't contaminate the rest of the ER." Mrs. Woodman asks whether Zack's awake. Carter says that he's still unconscious: "He has pneumonia and, in all likelihood, encephalitis." Miss Pre-School, listening, gets up and stands by Mrs. Woodman, who asks what encephalitis is. Carter says that it's an inflammation around the brain, and asks Miss Pre-School whether she was able to get in touch with the pre-school. She says she did, and that all the children are still there. Mrs. Woodman crosses her arms. Carter tells Miss Pre-School, "You need to make sure that they've all been immunized -- their parents, their siblings, anyone that they've come into contact with." He directs her to the phone at the desk, and she books.

Carter sits down and invites Mrs. Woodman to sit next to him. "You have other children," Carter volleys. Mrs. Woodman confirms, "Yes, a daughter. I called my husband; he's coming with her." It should take a while, though, because her husband's polio makes it hard for him to drive, and it takes a while for her daughter to be loaded into the separate, hermetically sealed trailer required by her smallpox. Carter needles, "And she hasn't been immunized either." Mrs. Woodman admits, "No," and then, quickly, before a follow-up question may be posed, asks, "Is Zack going to be okay?" Carter snots, "Well, he's in grave condition, with a highly contagious disease." Mrs. Woodman snaps, "I'm not an irresponsible parent. I read all the literature on the internet, the parenting magazines, I discussed it with my pediatrician." Carter asks, "And he didn't recommend the MMR?" Mrs. Woodman, not answering the question posed, replies, "I breastfed! Zack's immune system could have been weakened by too many vaccinations!" Carter slowly informs her, "The immune system is strengthened by vaccines. Kids are exposed to foreign antigens every day." Mrs. Woodman curtly replies, "Vaccinations aren't completely safe." Carter starts to say -- as condescendingly as he possibly can -- that he doesn't want to get into a debate about it, and as he does, she shrills over him, "They aren't, and you know it! The connection between vaccinations and autism...?" Carter confidently declares, "There is no connection." Mrs. Woodman stares at him. Before she can make her case, Lisa -- also in new scrubs, just like Chen and Carter -- calls across the room that Zack's dropped his sats. Carter leaps up and follows Lisa; Mrs. Woodman follows Carter.

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