"Hey," he said soothingly, "there's no doubt in my mind that you did everything you could. No harm, no foul."
"No harm no foul?" She queried.
"One of Ethan's archaic expressions. He loves them. Basically it means 'don't worry about it'. So I'm guessing at this point we don't have any other options than the hospital. I forgot to mention it earlier but it looks like he's lost a lot of weight.
"I think so as well. I'll call for an ambulance and while we're waiting for it, I'll call the hospital and make arrangements for a private room."
"You don't need to call an ambulance. I'll drive him."
Dorothy shook her head. "No. As unlikely as it seems, he could suddenly become violent. The paramedics can sedate him if necessary."
Chris looked crestfallen. "Can I at least ride in the ambulance with my brother?"
"Again, no. Same reason. You can ride behind the ambulance, and once he's settled in a room, I'm sure they'll let you see him," Dorothy assured him.
"Do you think Ethan will be put on some kind of suicide watch?"
"Well, I need your honest opinion. Do you think he needs to be?"
Chris' answer was slow in coming. Shaking his head slowly, he sadly responded, "I honestly don't know. Do you think he does?"
Dorothy paused, trying to think of a way to give him the answer she knew he didn't want to hear. "It's a possibility." Chris decided to examine the floor. "Since he's completely withdrawn and there's no evidence of self-inflicted injuries, I don't think they would. At this point he's not a threat to himself, but given everything he's been through, that could change."
Chris let out a deep sigh. "God I hope you're right." Please, God, let Ethan be okay. I love my baby brother. Chris prayed as he heard a knock on the door, guessing correctly that it was the paramedics. He opened the door and quietly waved them inside, pointing to the room currently occupied by Ethan.
"What have we got here?" Juan, the paramedic wanted to know.
Dorothy introduced herself and Chris then explained what was going on with Ethan."
"He seems pretty out of it," Juan said, waving a hand in front of his face. Old-fashioned but still effective painful stimulation when tried elicited no response. "Well, I don't see the need for sedation or restraints other than the standard safety straps. Once we get him settled in the ambulance, we’ll hook him up to an IV and start giving him fluids. He severely dehydrated.” He turned to his partner, “okay, let’s load him up. I think we can walk him out.”
The paramedics got on each side of Ethan, got him on his feet and slowly walked him out the door and into the ambulance. They whisked him off to the hospital, Chris close behind. By the time they got to the hospital, Alicia, Troy and Jordan were waiting to meet Chris.
“God, I wish we didn’t have to do this, but I didn’t know what else I could do to help him.” Alicia and Troy both hugged him. Jordan just sat there, tears flowing down his face over his best friend.
“What happened to him? Are they going to put him in a mental ward?” Jordan asked.
Chris explained how they found out the gang-rape video was put up on the telecommunicator network. “We got it taken down, but God knows how many people have seen it. Ethan was totally shocked as we all were. He shook so hard his entire body vibrated with fear. Ever since then all he did was sit in a chair and stare out the window, only getting up to go to the bathroom. He completely stopped taking care of himself.
“He wouldn’t eat, take a shower, shave, change his clothes, nothing. I doubt he’s even sleeping, or if he is, he’s not getting much sleep.”
“Omigod.” Jordan paused before continuing. “Is-is-is he suicidal?”
“His therapist doesn’t think so. She’s the one who called the ambulance. He’s completely withdrawn.”
Jordan sunk down into a nearby chair, his mind filled with images of the happy-go-lucky Ethan. He sat there with his head in his hands. As hard as it was for him, he couldn’t even imagine what his brothers and sister were going through.
Alison sat on one side of him, Chris on the other. Troy sat next to Alison. She put her arm around Jordan and whispered comforting words to him. I wish he was gay. He and Ethan would have made an awesome couple. After what happened with that slime ball Patrick, he needs someone in his life like Jordan. She told herself, wishing for something that was never going to happen.
They all sat around in silence, each lost in their own thoughts when a doctor came into the waiting room. “Is there a family member for Ethan Evans here?” They all stood. “He’s severely malnourished and dehydrated. We’re giving him intravenous fluids and nutrients. Routine blood tests are all normal, as is his brain scan. His therapist gave me as many details about what happened as she felt was needed.
“We’re going to get him cleaned up and into hospital pajamas. Shortly we’ll be taking him up to the mental ward for observation over the next 48 hours.”
“Is he going to be put on suicide watch?” Troy asked the question everyone wanted to, but were afraid to ask.
“His therapist doesn’t think it’s necessary. We’ve examined him very closely and there’s no evidence of self-harm. We’re going to put him into one of the suicide watch rooms so we can keep an eye on him, but we’re not going to restrain him. If he’s not suicidal, and wakes up alone in a room restrained, it could cause psychological damage. The hospital psychiatrist is going to see him later today.”
“How long will he be in the psyche ward?” Dorothy asked, coming into the waiting room.