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Prologue – Doogie Howser, M.D thirty years later

Doogie Howser glared at the reflection of himself in the photo of him and his ex-wife. They were happy, Karen rested her head on his shoulder. That was when she loved him. He picked up an almost empty bottle of whisky, alongside it a sticky glass. Papers lay scattered around his feet, the white shirt he wore busted open, a silk black tie dangled across the singlet that covered his torso. Amos Lee sang in the background, the lyrics of the misery tunes stinging as much as the whisky.

Why did you drive?

The veteran surgeon slammed down the bottle on to the wood of his desk, falling into a leather chair where he had slept in the past few nights. The once promising young doctor once had the world in hid grasp, a teenage genius doctor, an icon of 1990s medicine. Now in the next century, as he neared his middle forties he was respected, though no longer adored. Regrets, eat a man from the inside out. Like a poison, worse than any bottle of fermented liquid. Why did you drive?

He asked himself again as he had far too many times since that night. Karen and him had been arguing, over nothing really. Just his arrogant pride, he should have known better. She was pregnant after all with their child. Five months. He lost control! The other car swerved, in his inebriated state, the good doctor lost control. Karen and him survived, barely. Not their baby.

Not their baby.

Why did you drive?

Karen could never forgive him. Nor should she. He could not forgive himself either. That was eight years ago. He could have been a father to an eight year old. He had saved countless children that age, only to take his own. Karen had re-married. He had not heard from her since they divorced, he put up no fight. She could have what she wanted, he didn’t need anything. Only her, and he was losing her in the divorce anyhow.

From nowhere she rang. Mrs Karen Foster.

Regardless of what I think of you as a man, you’re still the best damned surgeon. I need you. I need you to save his life.”

Just another patient. Another case. A life to save. Even if it was her husbands. Doogie would do it for her. But since the phone call, he had re-lived that night over. Not even the bottle could wash it away.

Why did you drive?

His mind whispered one more time as it spiralled into the darkness of sleep, Mr Ben Fosters medical records across his lap…

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