A.N. – Fan fiction writers keep Doc Bergman very busy patching up the Five-O detectives after all manner of injuries and illnesses. But in the series, we only see Doc treating Steve after his car accident in "The 90 Second War" and Danny after his leap into the dump truck in "Journey Out of Limbo". Ever wonder when and why Bergman started doctoring Five-O detectives? This is my take on how it happened.
The center section of this story is an ATC of the season 4 episode "And I Want Some Candy and a Gun That Shoots". A few lines of dialogue are taken from that episode, so are not my own words.
Thanks to Tanith2011 for beta reading this story.
The present - December 7, 1973
Dr. Bergman sat at the desk in the small examination room, filling out the required information at the top of the form on his clipboard. He glanced up at the calendar for confirmation before writing the date: December 7th. No one on the island of Oahu could look at that date without being affected in some way, but for the aging coroner, hauntingly painful images he had long ago buried instantly resurfaced.
The attack on Pearl Harbor had violently brought the United States into the second World War. Bergman had served in a couple of different field hospitals in the Pacific for the duration of the war. What seemed like an endless assembly line of sailors and pilots torn apart by shrapnel and burned in explosions had honed the doctor's medical skills unlike anything in civilian life could. But it also began an inner battle in Bergman's soul. Men, too many of them just boys, screaming in pain, mortal fear in their eyes, the smell of mildew and infection; these were the everyday realities of wartime medicine. And Bergman had experienced them all over again in Korea.
It was in Korea that he had met a young Navy officer named Steve McGarrett. The two very different men formed a solid friendship based on shared characteristics of devotion to duty and personal integrity. Bergman respected McGarrett because he cared about the men under his command more so than most other officers. And McGarrett admired the fact that Bergman treated his patients as individual men and not just war casualty statistics. But for the kind hearted physician, there was a hard price to pay for that level of caring. Steve could see the terrible toll that the war was taking on Bergman first hand. He felt for his friend but was powerless to do anything about it.
After Korea, the doctor battled depression, vowing to leave the medical field for good, at least with live patients. Then some years later, a second chance meeting with the Navy officer, who was now head of the state police in Hawaii, had led to a solution in the form of a career change. The highly skilled doctor finally found a place to use his experience and knowledge, and also found peace, as the county medical examiner.
A knock at the door snapped his mind back to the present.
"Come in," Bergman called out.
"Hi Doc," greeted an energetic young man with bright blue eyes and short curly hair. He closed the door behind him after he entered the room.
"Take off your shirt and hop up on the table," Bergman gruffly directed, gesturing at the examination table with his pen before writing a few more notes on the form. Then rising from his desk, he draped his stethoscope around his neck and with hands on hips, met the gaze of the bare chested man seated on the examination table. "Ready, Danny?"
"Yeah, Doc, let's get this over with," Danny replied impatiently, drumming his fingers on the edge of the table.
"Where's the fire?" Bergman deadpanned as he positioned the diaphragm of the stethoscope against the center of the young man's chest and listened. "Breathe," Doc ordered. Danny breathed.
As he moved the instrument to Williams' upper right chest, Bergman couldn't help notice the neatly healed scar just below the detective's clavicle. It was a physical reminder of a day that had changed the doctor's life and given him back something he had lost. It was the day when a troubled, mentally ill young man decided to end it all and take down several cops with him.
The past - October 26, 1971
The deafening sound of rifle fire had ceased. Pungent traces of tear gas still lingered on the afternoon breeze. Moments ago, Steve McGarrett had anxiously scrambled over to a rocky ledge on the steep slope below the sniper's bunker; a ledge that should have protected his officer but didn't. He knew that Danny had been hit. They had already lost two good men to Bill Shem's high powered rifle that afternoon. Steve was terrified that his second-in-command would become the third. Finally reaching Williams and personally inspecting his bleeding shoulder provided some relief to McGarrett's anxiety. While both men agreed that the wound wasn't life threatening, Steve could well read the signs of pain that Danny was trying hard to hide. He knew that the young detective needed medical attention and soon. He grabbed his walkie-talkie and extended the antenna.
"Duke…Duke, get a doctor up here for Danno right away!"
McGarrett's barked order penetrated the radio static and sent a sudden chill through the silver haired HPD officer on the other end of the transmission. God, no! Not Danny, too! Duke Lukela quickly acknowledged the command as he glanced around the closed highway in search of Dr. Fernando, the only doctor on the scene. The bearded psychiatrist, who had once treated Bill Shem, had been on the scene in an attempt to talk the troubled sniper off the hill. It hadn't worked. Duke spotted Fernando close by and when his eyes met those of the psychiatrist, what he saw was a mixture of fear and sorrow.
"Doctor, we have an injured man up on that hill and he needs help right now!" Duke explained in a serious and authoritative tone, although he suspected that the psychiatrist had also heard Steve's urgent command. "We'll give you a hand getting up there!"
Dr. Fernando hesitated, a grim expression darkening his face. He genuinely wanted to help, but the whole day had turned into a deadly disaster. He couldn't help but feel partially responsible even though he knew in his head that wasn't true. The last wounded officer he had tried to help didn't make it. The pronouncement from the communications van echoed over again in his ears: 'Big Paul died on da way to da hospital.'
"Okay, let's go," the doctor finally replied, forcing down his reservations and choosing to remain faithful to his Hippocratic Oath. He hadn't treated bodies for decades. His specialty was the human mind. Today he felt like he had failed in that department, too.
Duke motioned to one of the uniformed officers under his command and the man quickly removed his flak gear then hurried over to his sergeant. "Kimo, Dan Williams was hit. Grab a first aid kit; we're going to get the doc up there and…" Lukela was interrupted when his walkie-talkie again sparked to life and a second message came through.
"Shem's dead. Call for a wagon." McGarrett's voice sounded tired and grim, almost sad.
"Already done, Steve," Duke replied. He had already summoned the coroner along with the rescue squad from the Honolulu Fire Department since they would need a basket stretcher to transport Shem's body off the hill. We'll probably have to use it for Danny first, Duke thought.
It had been a difficult climb. By the time they reached Williams, the portly Dr. Fernando was sweating profusely in the late afternoon sun. He pulled out his handkerchief and wiped his brow. The wounded detective was lying on his back amidst the rocks and brush; his rifle rested on the ground a few feet away. His eyes were closed and he seemed to be concentrating hard as he tried to control his breathing.
"Howzit, Danny?" Duke asked quietly after kneeling beside the man and nudging his arm.
Dan opened his eyes and met the gaze of the Hawaiian officer. "Duke…I've been better," he rasped.
"Hang on, we'll get you out of here," Lukela promised, giving Dan's arm a squeeze. "Where's Steve?"
"He went to check on Shem," Dan answered, nodding in the direction of the bunker.
With difficultly, Fernando also knelt down then opened William's jacket and shirt to expose the bleeding wound. He pulled a thick pad of gauze from the first aid kit and positioned it over the wound. "This is going to hurt," he warned the prone officer.
"Just do it," Dan whispered through gritted teeth, bracing himself for the pain. But he was not prepared for the level of agony that followed. As the psychiatrist pressed down hard on the wound he felt the bone beneath give way with a crack. Dan's eyes widened at the sudden assault and he screamed as if his shoulder had been set on fire, his heart-wrenching cry carried on the wind.
Duke swiftly grabbed Fernando's arm and pulled him away. "What happened?" he demanded sharply.
"I…I don't know," Fernando stammered, equally shocked and wanting to be anywhere except where he was. "I think his collarbone snapped."
Further explanation was interrupted by urgent shouts of "Danno!" from a frantic McGarrett who was charging toward them like a raging bull. When he reached the ledge, he sank to his knees beside his detective and firmly gripped Williams' arms, trying to calm him down. Dan was hyperventilating, desperately trying to control his reaction in front of his colleagues.
"Easy Danno," Steve soothed while taking in the trails of tears carved through the dirt on Dan's face and the blood soaking through gauze inside his shirt. "What the hell happened?" he barked at the others without taking his eyes off his second-in-command.
Trying to defuse a volatile situation, Duke kept his tone even. "Dr. Fernando tried to stop the bleeding, Steve. Direct pressure on the wound, that's standard protocol. He thinks that Danny's collar bone broke from the force. It wasn't his fault."
Kimo pulled Fernando aside, increasing the physical distance between the doctor and the head of Five-O. After the tragic events of the afternoon, McGarrett's opinion of the psychiatrist was not a favorable one, to say the least. The fact that the man had caused such agony to Steve's best friend likely meant that a shouting match was forthcoming, and the HPD officer wanted to spare the hapless doctor. But at the moment, Steve was more concerned with taking care of Dan than casting blame.
"Kimo, get him out of here! Take Danno's rifle with you," McGarrett ordered, keeping a lid on his temper.
"Yes, sir," the HPD officer replied. He picked up Williams' rifle and slung it over his shoulder, then took Fernando's arm and led him down the hill.
Steve looked down again at his protégé. Dan's breathing had become shallow and his eyes were closed. Damn! Could this day get any worse?
"Danno?" Steve called out, gently shaking the man's arms. "Stay with me, Danno."
Dan opened his eyes to see his boss's worried face, but his gaze suddenly diverted to his right arm, still in McGarrett's strong grip. Dan stared at Steve's hand for a few seconds then gasped, "Steve? Oh God…Steve…"
"What is it?" McGarrett almost shouted, feeling Danny starting to tremble.
"My arm… I can't feel my arm…it's…it's like it's dead…" Dan's voice shook with fear.
Steve heart sank and he held onto the frightened detective more tightly.
"Bergman here yet?" McGarrett asked tersely, looking up at Lukela.
"I'll find out," Duke responded, pulling out his walkie-talkie.
"Yo Duke!" Kono answered the incoming transmission.
"Kono, has Bergman arrived yet?" Lukela asked.
Kono stuck his head outside the communications van and scanned the area just as the coroner's wagon pulled up and parked on the side of the road. "Doc, over here!" Kono called out as soon as he saw Bergman exit the passenger side of the vehicle. Then he turned back to the radio. "He's here, Duke. How's Danny?"
"Not so good, Kono. You need to get the doc up here right away."
Lukela's message sent a chill down Kono's spine in spite of the warm air.
"Doc?" Kono sounded surprised, confused and worried. "Doc doesn't work on live people, Duke. Is Danny…?" The large Hawaiian couldn't bring forth the words to finish his thought.
"Danny's alive", Duke clarified quickly, "but Steve says to get Bergman up here, wiki-wiki, and he's in no mood for an argument, if you know what I mean!"
"I know what you mean, bruddah!" Kono agreed with a small sigh of relief. He was well acquainted with his boss's moods. "Don't worry; I'll get him up dere."
"Get who up where?" Bergman asked. Kono turned his head to see the crusty coroner, who was wearing a business suit and dress shoes, looking up at him.
"You, Doc, up dat hill."
"Oh no," the ME replied firmly, looking up the steep face of the slope then shaking his head. "I'll wait 'til the body is brought down here. They don't pay me to go mountain climbing."
"Not the sniper, Doc, it's Danny," Kono explained gravely. "He was hit!"
"Oh," Bergman replied in a solemn tone. His eyes dropped to the pavement and he was silent for a few seconds.
"Doc?" Kono drew the ME's attention back.
"I'm so sorry, Kono," Doc said respectfully. "I know that you and Dan were friends. Steve must be beside himself."
"No, Doc, Danny's still alive," Kono corrected quickly. "But he needs a doctor and Steve wants you."
Bergman's brow knitted in confusion and frustration. He had an uncomfortable feeling that he was about to be forced into doing something he didn't want to have any part of. "What about an ambulance? Or paramedics?"
"Ambulance is on da way, but da boss says Danny needs help right now, Doc," Kono replied. "Come on; I'll help you." He nodded toward Kimo, who had appeared after seeing Dr. Fernando to his car. "Kimo, take over here."
"Yes sir," the young officer responded.
Suddenly the speaker in the van sparked to life again. "Where's Bergman?" McGarrett's impatient growl fairly bit through the radio.
"On his way now, boss," Kono answered, eyeing the coroner with an expression that said 'I told you so.'
Danny's shoulder continued to throb unmercifully after the debilitating agony of jagged bone abruptly pressed into muscle. But he was far more concerned with the complete lack of feeling in his right arm. His mind was racing with its implications for his future.
Steve's eyes were locked onto his fallen detective and he could think of little else. Eventually, Shem's body would be retrieved and taken to the morgue. Wrecked vehicles would be towed, equipment repacked and transported away, the road would reopen and the flow of traffic would be restored. At the moment, Steve didn't care about any of that. His attention was only broken when he heard his Hawaiian detective call out his name from below the ledge.
He looked down the hill to see Kono pulling Bergman along the path. The coroner didn't look happy. He was sweating, red-faced and his suit jacket was dirty; it was clear that he had fallen, maybe more than once, on the way up the hill.
"Over here!" Steve answered back.
"Auwe, Danny!" slipped from Kono's lips when he laid eyes on his friend.
Bergman wasn't prepared for the sight that greeted them, either, nor for his own reaction. Williams was flat on his back in the rough terrain, his camouflage jacket damp with blood. His breathing was labored and an expression of pain and fear darkened his boyish face. The coroner froze. In that moment, images of war wounded young soldiers flashed before his eyes, bringing with them a cloud of despair from his past. Bergman shuddered.
"Doc?" Steve called out when he noticed Bergman's hesitation. Getting no response, Steve rose and grabbed the man's arm to get his attention. "Doc, please! Danno needs you. He can't feel his arm."
Suddenly, as if a switch had been turned on inside him, Bergman took a deep breath, dropped to his knees and began a preliminary examination of the injured detective. He felt Dan's right hand and arm then checked for a pulse in his wrist. The doctor reported his assessments while he continued to work. "Steve, he has a strong pulse and his hand is warm. There's no problem with his circulation. It could be a condition known as neurapraxia, a nerve blockage, but we won't know for sure until we get him to the hospital."
Bergman opened Danny's shirt to expose the bullet wound. The surrounding area was now bruised and misshapen from the fractured bone. As gently as he could, he ran his fingers over the area to feel the positions of the pieces of clavicle, visualizing in his mind the muscle and network of nerves beneath the skin that could have been damaged by the break. Then he spoke directly to the wounded detective, looking him in the eye.
"Listen to me, Danny. It looks like you have a nerve injury; that's why you can't feel your arm. But it's possible that it can be repaired, so keep the faith, okay?"
Doc's words sunk in and Williams calmed down. "Okay, Doc," Danny whispered then closed his eyes.
Steve was surprised and impressed by what he had just witnessed, but before he could say anything, Bergman started issuing orders while he rummaged through the first aid kit. "We need to immobilize that arm…can't risk any more damage." He pulled out a roll of Ace bandage and Steve helped him wrap it around Dan, securing his right arm to his torso. As they were finishing, four men from the HFD rescue squad arrived with a basket stretcher.
Kono helped the coroner-turned-physician down the hill while the firemen were strapping Danny into the basket stretcher. Bergman had an important phone call to make and he followed the large Hawaiian cop to the communications van.
"Kono, put a call through to Queen's and have them page Dr. Freeman. I need to speak with him right away," Doc directed.
"Done, Doc," Kono replied, grabbing the receiver. When the connection was made, he passed the handset to Bergman.
"Joe, it's Berg," Doc began. "Are you available for surgery in the next half hour?"
"Sure, I'm available. What's up?"
"There's a gunshot wound coming in by ambulance: thirty-three year old male, broken right clavicle, presenting with symptoms of nerve damage. Joe, I want you to work on him and I want to assist." Bergman had said it just as confidently as if he were present in the OR every day.
"You want to assist? Berg, you haven't…I mean…when was the last time…and you don't have clearance to operate at Queen's!"
"I know. But you're chief of surgery and I know that you have the authority to okay this. Please, Joe, I need to be in on this. I've had a lot of experience with this kind of nerve damage."
There was a short lull in the conversation while Dr. Freeman considered his options.
"Well?" Bergman barked in to the phone.
"Okay, Berg. I'll vouch for you and take care of the paperwork later. It will be interesting to watch you work, to say the least."
"Thanks, Joe. I mean it. I'll see you soon." Bergman handed the phone back to Kono.
The firemen made it down the hill with Dan on the stretcher, followed by Steve and Duke. McGarrett hovered close by while the patient was loaded into the waiting ambulance. Bergman touched Steve's arm to get his attention.
"Try not to worry, Steve," Doc said calmly. "Dr. Freeman will be doing the surgery. He's the best orthopedic surgeon on the island. Danny couldn't be in better hands." Then, just before the rear door of the ambulance closed, Bergman climbed into the back.
McGarrett paced the corridor outside the OR of Queen's hospital, both irritated and worried about the extended length of time his wounded detective had been in surgery. He had remained at the scene until most of the clean-up was completed. Then when he arrived at the hospital, he had checked on Tommy Ewa, who was one of Bill Shem's first victims that day. According to his own concept of time, Steve figured that Dr. Freeman had had plenty of time to remove a bullet and repair whatever damage had been done. But Steve wasn't a doctor.
The tall detective stopped his pacing and wearily leaned his back against the wall. He could feel his dress shirt clinging to his back with sweat. A long hot shower and a change of clothes would revive him, but that would have to wait until he knew about the condition of the man who was still on the operating table. He brought a hand to his head and massaged his temples in an attempt to calm his frayed nerves and ward off a developing headache. The sound of double doors swinging open and approaching footsteps drew his attention. He looked up to see a tall slim man clad in surgical garb. Creased eyes behind round wired rimmed glasses and curly grey hair beneath his cap put the doctor's age in his middle fifties. His green scrubs were damp with perspiration and his surgical mask still hung around his neck.
"Mr. McGarrett?" the surgeon asked, pulling off his scrub cap and using it to dab the sweat from his forehead.
"I'm McGarrett," Steve answered bluntly. The doctor's neutral expression bothered the detective. Steve instinctively read the surgeon's body language and he was getting no clear signs from this man either way.
"I'm Dr. Freeman," the man introduced himself. "Mr. Williams came through the surgery well," Freeman reported. "Let's go sit down so we can talk."
Steve was somewhat relieved, but still concerned. He followed the man to an empty waiting area and they both sat down. Steve leaned forward in his seat with his elbows resting on his knees and his fingers interlaced. "Well?" he asked impatiently.
"We removed the bullet. Mr. Williams' right clavicle was fractured, probably from the impact of the bullet. The fracture was displaced and this caused an infra-clavicular brachial plexus injury."
"Plain English, please, Doc," McGarrett replied, now more worried and slightly irritated.
"Sorry," Freeman said with an understanding smile. "The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that extends from the neck through the upper chest region behind the collar bone to the shoulder." The doctor traced the route on his own body to illustrate his explanation. "An injury to this nerve group can stop signals to and from the brain, causing a loss of feeling in the area supplied by the nerves, in this case the arm or hand."
At the surgeon's words, the shock that Steve had seen in Danny's face that afternoon flashed in his mind's eye and the young detective's panicked voice echoed in his ears: "I can't feel my arm…it's…it's like it's dead…" The future of Dan Williams' career as a cop hung on the answer to the next question. Steve swallowed hard then asked, "Were you able to repair the damage?"
Freeman nodded his head and continued. "The nerve bundle was compressed between the collar bone and the first rib. There was also swelling from muscle damage pressing on the structure, but Dr. Bergman was able to free up the nerves. Fortunately, no nerves were severed, so that's the good news. But nerves are tricky, Mr. McGarrett, and we won't know if there will be any residual effects from the injury until Mr. Williams is awake."
It was not the answer Steve wanted to hear, but it could have been worse. "Anything else?"
"I had to use a couple of steel pins to repair the clavicle. They will keep the bone in proper alignment so that it will heal in the correct position. He'll be in a sling for about a month while it heals. Then he'll need physical therapy to strengthen the muscles and improve motion." The doctor eyed the head of Five-O, watching him process the information. "Do you have any questions?"
"When can I see him?" Steve asked.
Freeman glanced at his watch. "He'll be in recovery for another forty minutes to an hour; then we'll move him to a room. When he's settled in his room, you'll be able to see him."
"Thanks, Doc," Steve replied.
"You're welcome," Freemen responded sincerely. He rose from his chair and shook Steve's hand. Then he stretched his back and turned to leave the room.
"Wait a minute," Steve suddenly said, causing the surgeon to stop in his tracks. "You said that Dr. Bergman assisted in the surgery? Bergman…the coroner?"
Freeman chucked. "Yes, and I'm as just surprised as you are. He insisted on scrubbing up; wanted to be in the OR. It was a good thing, too, since he has more experience with nerve injuries than I do. He had lots of practice during the war. But I never thought he'd work on live patients again."
"Oh, you know about that?" Steve asked, the look on his face relaying his astonishment. It was rare for men to share their feelings about what had happened to them during the war.
"Yes, Berg has told me all about it. Surprised?"
"I guess I am," Steve admitted.
"I've been playing poker with Berg every Thursday night for twelve years," Freeman explained, then added, "Sometimes poker night doubles as group therapy."
Steve nodded in understanding then asked, "Where's Bergman now?"
Dr. Freeman smiled. "He's in recovery with Williams. Insisted on staying with him until he wakes up…probably wants to check his nerve function as soon as he as much as twitches."
Freeman exited the room, leaving McGarrett alone. The detective pondered what he had heard, then shook his head in wonder. His thoughts drifted back to Korea where he had first met Bergman and their friendship had formed. He remembered how much Doc had cared for each of his military patients. He also recalled how each death and each life altering, permanent injury tore another small piece from his friend's heart until the man could no longer practice medicine. But now something had changed all that. Sure, Steve had essentially ordered Bergman to treat Danny on that hill. But instead of walking away and returning to the morgue after the injured detective had been secured on the stretcher, Doc had stayed with him in the ambulance, into the emergency room, throughout the surgery and now in the recovery room.
Steve was also aware that the feelings he normally experienced in the halls of a hospital, feelings of unease, mistrust, and lack of control, had all but disappeared. Just the thought of Bergman watching over Danno, using all his skill and knowledge to ensure that the detective received the best care possible gave McGarrett an unusual sense of calm. Wish Doc were always available like this, Steve mused. I trust him, which is more than I can say for most doctors. An idea started to take root.
McGarrett quietly opened the door to Danny's room and stepped inside. Danny wasn't alone. Doc Bergman, still in his OR scrubs, stood at the bedside of the sleeping detective, adjusting the IVs and checking the monitors. The sight brought a smile to Steve's face. It was obvious that the gruff coroner had jumped into this case with both feet. The man who had once sworn off working on live patients did not want to leave the side of this particular patient.
Bergman rubbed Williams' left arm and whispered, "Danny, you have a visitor."
Dan slowly opened his eyes and turned his head toward the door as Steve approached the bed then gripped the side rail. When he saw his boss, Williams' face lit up in a smile and he raised his sling-bound arm a couple of inches off his chest and flexed his fingers. "Steve, look!" Danny said proudly in a voice that was surprising strong given his pale face and tired eyes.
The dark haired detective was delighted and it showed. "That's great, Danno," Steve responded, his voice full of emotion. Seeing is believing; the nagging fear that this injury would end his friend's career had just vanished.
"Okay, you can stop showing off now," Bergman gently scolded, carefully pushing Dan's arm back down. "I'll be back later." The doctor nodded at McGarrett then headed toward the door. But before he left, he issued his own orders to the head of Five-O, "Only five minutes, Steve. He needs his rest."
When his five minutes were up, McGarrett left Dan's room and found Bergman seated in a nearby lounge area sipping a well-earned cup of coffee. The detective pulled over a chair so he could sit facing the coroner, who looked exhausted.
"Hell of a day," Steve began with a sigh.
Bergman stretched his sore back then slouched again, looking up into the detective's face. "My day isn't over yet. I still have that unfortunate kid over in the morgue."
"And I have to go speak to two officers' widows because of what that unfortunate kid did today," Steve countered a little too harshly.
After a moment, McGarrett reined in his temper, changed the subject and his tone. "Doc, I can't thank you enough for all you did today." It was not just a platitude, it was sincere and from his heart. Steve lowered his eyes and tried to find the right words. "Freeman said that it was lucky you were there to…to do the nerve work. Danno's career would be over if you hadn't been able to…if the damage had been permanent."
"Steve, I'm glad that it turned out the way it did," Doc said, sparing the head of Five-O further fumbling. "I know what Danny means to you. He's going to be fine."
McGarrett nodded gratefully then asked, "How are you doing?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, this is the first time you've…uh…since you got back from Korea."
Bergman smiled self-consciously. "You know, Steve, when I saw Danny on the ground, wounded like that, well…for an instant, the war came right back to me and I just froze. I don't know, maybe it was that camouflage jacket." The coroner sighed and scratched the back of his neck. "But then I saw his face. It wasn't just another casualty in a uniform, it was Danny. I just had to help him."
The two men sat in silence for a couple of minutes while Steve tried to decide how to pitch his proposal to the weary coroner. Maybe it was not the best time, but he wanted to try while the thought was fresh.
"Doc, I have a proposal that I want you to think about," Steve began.
"Let's just say it would be a part time job on the side. I'd like you to be available for medical assistance if I or one of my men were to be injured on the job. You'd serve as official physician for Five-O."
"No." Bergman's answer was quick, blunt and definite.
"You haven't even thought about it," Steve responded, matter-of-factly.
"Steve, do you have any idea how tired I am?" Bergman shot back. "Performing surgery is physically and mentally taxing, much more so than I remember." The doctor rubbed a hand over his face. "I just want to go home, have a stiff drink and go to bed."
"Doc, please think about it, later when you're rested."
"I've already thought about it. No. End of discussion." Bergman downed the rest of his coffee then got to his feet. "I'm going to go check on Danny again then I'm heading back to the morgue." At that, the doctor left the lounge.
No, it's not the end of the discussion, thought Steve. And he was used to getting his way.
Bergman chuckled, mostly to himself, at the memory of that long ago conversation.
"What?" Danny asked at the doctor's sudden mirth. The bare chested detective was still seated with his legs dangling off the examination table.
"Nothing," Doc replied flatly. "You can get dressed now."
Dan hopped off the table and retrieved his shirt and tie.
Bergman scribbled a few more notes on his clipboard then removed the form and placed it in Danny's medical file on his desk. At least during these annual physicals he got to see the Five-O detectives in a reasonably healthy state and not bleeding from some bullet wound, stabbing or worse. When Steve had finally talked him into this 'part time job on the side', he hadn't realized how attached he would become to these four brave men.
"What's the verdict, Doc?" Dan asked as he buttoned his shirt then tucked the tails into his slacks and retied his tie.
"You're fit enough for another year," Bergman replied gruffly. Then his attitude softened and he added, "Be careful out there, Danny. I don't need any extra work."
The young detective recognized the hidden sentiment in the physician's terse comment. "I will, Doc, thanks." He shouldered into his suit jacket and turned to leave.
"On your way out, tell Steve it's his turn. That is, if he hasn't found some excuse to leave, again," Bergman grumbled, any warmth now gone from his tone.