Because this was the former Yugoslavia, the white U.N. ambulance bore Red Cross and Red Crescent markings. The guards at the entrance to the Saudi Arabian field hospital stopped it anyway.
After an exchange in Arabic with the guards, the driver turned to the back of the ambulance. “They say they have to open the doors.”
“Let them,” Mai Fisher said.
The sight of a young Bosnian woman in obvious labor made the guards close the doors with haste, and Mai almost laughed at the absurdity of it. The ambulance headed for a tent set well away from the other, large shelters.
When Mai and the driver rolled the gurney into the smaller tent, a woman met them. Maybe thirty, she wore a cream-colored shalwar, a black hijab, and a long, white doctor’s coat. Her dark brown eyes narrowed at Mai but shifted to the groaning woman on the gurney, who twisted and turned in pain.
“What have we here?” the doctor asked, in English, as she rubbed the pregnant woman’s arm and cooed to her.
“A midwife at the EuroEnterprises clinic said the baby is breech. We don’t have the facilities for a Caesarian Section,” Mai said.
“Ah, yes. I’m aware of that clinic. We’ve taken patients from there before.” The Saudi woman’s hands palpated the pregnant woman’s stomach. “Yes. There’s much distress here. Let’s take her to an examining room. He,” she said, pointing to the driver, “cannot come further in.”
“Wait for me in the ambulance,” Mai said. He nodded to her and left.
“Are you a peacekeeper?” the Saudi woman asked Mai.
“No. I operate EuroEnterprises.”
“Ah,” the Saudi woman said. Her smile showed very white teeth. “The Angel of Bosnia, of whom everyone here speaks.”
“Not very angelic, I’m afraid.”
“I’m Dr. Khalilah Bousaid.”
“Katherine Burke,” Mai said, using an alias.
“Do you have any medical training?”
“I have no nurses, and I need extra hands. Also, I don’t speak Serbian, and our mother-to-be is quite attached to you.”
The young woman had taken hold of Mai’s jacket sleeve and hadn’t let go.
The doctor and Mai managed to get the pregnant woman onto the examination table, and Dr. Bousaid pulled on nitrile exam gloves.
“What is her name?” Dr. Bousaid asked.
“Will you translate for me?”
Vesna grabbed Mai’s hand and squeezed it during the examination, even tighter when a contraction came.
“The baby is still breech, and labor is advanced. Explain to her about the C-Section, please,” Bousaid said. “Let’s get her in the operating room.”
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