Bryson City Tales — The Showdown (Part 3)

This is from the thirtieth chapter from my best-selling book,Bryson City TalesI hope that you’ll enjoy going back to Bryson City with me each week, and that if you do, you’ll be sure to invite your friends and family to join us.


Two weeks later, Rick and I sat before the medical staff as they heard our case.

After testifying, we were dismissed from the meeting.

We walked back across the street to my house. Barb, Rick, and I waited. We were, of course, concerned—but at the same time we had a sense of peace. We knew that we were practicing good medicine.

To us this whole mess felt like a witch-hunt instigated by men seeking to protect their practice and their ways—both of which they wrongly assumed were threatened by our being there.

I wondered to myself, Would I, in the same circumstances, respond the same way? I hoped not!

We found out later that several others were also called into the room as witnesses. The parents of the slapped child testified for over a half hour. Several of the nurses who did the home bilirubin therapy were called in for brief questioning.

After a couple of hours, we heard a knock on the screen door. It was Ray. We stood as he entered the dining room.


“Have a seat,” he gestured. We all sat down.

He sighed. “Well, good news, folks. Bacon voted with us.” There was a collective sigh of relief in the room.

He continued, “Two of the doctors voted against you. But the decision of the majority of the medical staff is that you all’s actions were justified. There will be no disciplinary action of any kind. Nothing to blacken your record. Furthermore, there will be no report or complaint made to the state.”

He was quiet for a moment, then continued. “When Bacon voted for you guys, Nordling grew pretty quiet. You know, he’s been renting office space from Bacon. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him leaving that situation. Mathieson blew up and just stormed out of the meeting.”

He drew in a deep breath and then slowly let it out. “Walt, let me encourage you to try to avoid slapping patients in the future. OK?”

I nodded.

“Rick, if you want to do home therapy in the future, I’ll need you to coordinate that with me. OK?”

Rick nodded.

“This event has shaken up the medical community a bit. But I think the shaking was needed.” He looked at us. “Are you all going to be OK?”

“I think so, Ray. Are you?” asked Rick.

Ray nodded. “Gotta tell you two, you’re two of the best things that have happened here—especially for me. If you left, I wouldn’t be far behind. I’m glad you’re here.”

The next week, Dr. Nordling’s office was empty. I never saw him again and was told that he had left town. Dr. Mathieson stayed in town, but also stayed away from us. For months he wouldn’t speak to me—and he’d speak to Ray only if he needed surgical backup and Mitch wasn’t available. He wouldn’t acknowledge Rick or me at medical staff meetings and would often turn and go the other way when he saw us in the hall.


Later that spring I was walking down the hospital corridor. Ken Mathieson was walking toward me. He smiled and kept coming toward me. I froze as he walked up. “Walt, I saw Amber today in the office. She’s doing great. Her parents mentioned to me what you did for her that night. For some reason I’d always thought Dr. Bacon had saved her life. I didn’t know it was actually you.

“Anyway, Mrs. Mathieson, who’s my office nurse, recommended that I properly thank you. So . . . ,” he paused and tried to swallow, gulping in the process as he glanced away from me, looking very uncomfortable. “So . . . thank you.” Then suddenly he turned on his heels and continued to walk down the hall.

In stunned disbelief I watched him go. And then, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He was whistling!

From that day on Dr. Mathieson treated Rick and me as colleagues. I have no idea what turned him around. Was it Mrs. Mathieson? Was it the fact that we started using lots of injectable penicillin? Was it something Amber’s mom and dad said about a prayer from a scared-to-death physician over a nearly dead little girl?

I don’t know.

But it was nice to have peace—at least for the time being—among our Bryson City medical staff members.



  1. The Murder (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  2. The Arrival (Part 1)(Part 2)
  3. The Hemlock Inn (Part 1)(Part 2)
  4. The Grand Tour (Part 1)(Part 2)
  5. The Interview (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  6. Settling In (Part 1)(Part 2)
  7. First-Day Jitters (Part 1)(Part 2)
  8. Emergency (Part 1)(Part 2)
  9. The Delivery (Part 1)(Part 2)
  10. The “Expert” (Part 1)(Part 2)
  11. The Trial (Part 1)(Part 2)
  12. Shiitake Sam (Part 1)(Part 2)
  13. Wet Behind the Ears (Part 1)(Part 2)(Part 3)
  14. Lessons in Daily Practice (Part 1) — Anal Angina(Part 2)(Part 3)(Part 4)
  15. White Lies
  16. The Epiphany (Part 1)(Part 2)
  17. Becoming Part of the Team (Part 1)(Part 2)
  18. Monuments (Part 1)(Part 2)
  19. My First Home Victory (Part 1)(Part 2)
  20. Fisher of Men (Part 1)(Part 2)
  21. Fly-Fishing (Part 1); (Part 2)
  22. Something Fishy (Part 1)(Part 2)
  23. A Good Day at the Office
  24. An Evening to Remember
  25. Another New Doc Comes to Town
  26. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Part 1)(Part 2)
  27. A Surprising Gift
  28. The New Year (Part 1)(Part 2)
  29. The Home Birth (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)
  30. The Showdown (Part1)(Part 2); (Part 3)

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2017. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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