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It wasn't until Devon left the med-tent, taking Uly with her, that Julia felt like she could safely let her guard down. Her legs promptly folded underneath her, but somehow, she managed to make it to a camp stool before she fell.
Tetanus boosters were normal procedure for puncture wounds. They had been for over a century.
She hadn't even thought twice about giving the shot to Uly after he'd crashed into the side of the Trans Rover while playing with True, gouging out a deep wound on his arm. G889 was a safe place, yes, but it wasn't exactly sterile, and there was no way the battered, metal surface of the vehicle didn't potentially harbor bacteria. A prophylactic dose had definitely been indicated, and she'd administered one as soon as she finished closing the gash.
Devon had agreed until Uly turned pale and collapsed two hours later. They'd rushed back into the med-tent and a test had shown a sky-high white blood cell count. It had taken nearly an hour before they'd finally figured out that he was reacting to the tetanus shot. Apparently, it had inhibited the healing properties associated with whatever the Terrians had done to his DNA.
Well, Devon had said. It makes sense that Uly's connection to the planet would mean he'd react differently.
It hadn't exactly been an accusation, but the guilt had raged through her anyway.
She'd thrown wide-spectrum antibiotics and antihistamines into his system, and they'd seemed to do the trick well enough to let his changed body take over the rest. His white blood cell count was still high and he was exhausted, but he'd been conscious and lucid enough that she felt comfortable discharging him.
Taking a deep breath, she clenched and unclenched her fists several times until her hands felt steady enough to reach for the medical logs. Her face twisted in a grimace as she entered the diagnosis code for this latest event. Iatrogenic anaphylaxis. An allergic reaction caused by something a doctor had done.
"Julia," said Yale.
She hadn't even heard him come in.
"You must not blame yourself for this," he continued. "There was no way you could have known."
"Couldn't I? For all we know, tetanus doesn't even exist on G889. I didn't think twice before I —"
"Chose to use long-established protocols for treating puncture-type wounds? Practiced medicine the way you've studied and been taught for years? Even Devon understands that there was no way this could have been anticipated."
She thought about the forced softness in Devon's voice, and wondered how he could be so sure.
"She knows," answered Yale, as if she'd asked the question out loud. "She's just upset. And she got used to being hyper-vigilant about his medical care when he had the Syndrome."
"When he was symptomatic," she corrected absently. "He still has it. It's just been rendered harmless."
"Then it could easily be something related to that, couldn't it? Were you aware of any Syndrome children ever receiving tetanus shots?"
"No," she answered slowly. "We avoided giving them routine vaccinations for fear of triggering a reaction, and they were never healthy enough for anything that might give them a puncture wound."
"Then," he pointed out, "it was perfectly appropriate to use the standard protocols. You didn't do anything wrong."
Iatrogenic anaphylaxis. With her name down as the healer that caused it. She took a sharp breath, meaning to keep arguing, but let it out again when she realized that he was right. She might be at fault, but she hadn't done anything wrong.
Yale took the log chip out of her hand. "Come over to the dome," he said. "You can do that later. Right now, it's time to finish your interrupted dinner. It wouldn't be good if you collapsed from lack of sustenance."
Despite herself, Julia chuckled. "Physician, heal thyself?"
"Something like that, yes." He was smiling too.
She still wasn't completely sure, but her legs were working again and her breathing had evened out. Standing up, she followed him out the door.