What happens in an ER when a patient presents with rash-like symptoms, and smallpox is thought to be the culprit? Two words -Total Chaos. Emergency Room staff and patients alike are faced with the terror of this biological nightmare; a nightmare that has plagued man for thousands of years, causing more deaths than perhaps any other illness. In fact, in the last century alone, it has touted to cause the deaths of some 500 million people. Summed up, total chaos.
Sci-Fi author, Dr. Paulo J. Reyes, an ER Doctor himself, vividly creates such a scenario in his fiction thriller, Sledgehammer, pauloreyes.com. Reyes takes readers inside an emergency room where one ER physician is faced with what he suspects to be the most lethal form of smallpox, Sledgehammer Smallpox. The plot thickens as the realization soon becomes apparent that the patient not only has smallpox, but is part of a terrorist plot to spread the deadly disease to sport arenas, malls, and airports. Quick action must be taken to stop this deadly spread. This page turning, stay-up-all-night to find out what happens next, thriller leaves readers questioning. Could it happen today? Could it happen in their local ER?
So what exactly is smallpox? Dr. Reyes offers the following smallpox facts:
• The diagnosis of small pox is not difficult if the classic skin lesion is present and most physicians would probably be able to make the diagnosis when they are presented such a rash. However, many patients will present an atypical rash that is more like a red-spotted rash. This is more difficult to diagnose and thus can be far more deadly as it can go untreated and spread quickly.
• The killer disease is spread from one person to another by infected saliva droplets. The vaccine can lessen the severity or even prevent smallpox in people exposed if treated within a few days.
• Smallpox’s initial symptoms include a severely high fever, fatigue, and headaches. A rash, most prominent on the face, arms, and legs, is sure to follow in a couple days.
• There is no proven treatment for smallpox, but there is treatment for many of its complications, including dehydration and the treatment of secondary bacterial infections with antibiotics.
Even though the topic of this book is frightening, the book itself is a magnificent read with plenty of suspense, action, and realistic characters that readers relate to and grow fond of. Sledgehammer has received numerous five-star reviews, including one from Joe Shea of the American Reporter. Shea writes, “Sledgehammer is a gripping, powerful portrait of an American emergency room physician encountering the ‘index’ case of a national bioterrorist attack by Islamic terrorists. It is probably the best bio-warfare thriller of the dozen-odd I've read in the past 10 years.”
Reyes’ medical career spanning 25 years as an ER Doctor and First Responder to disasters in Los Angeles allows him to bring the fictional tale to vivid life. Sledgehammer is available at Dr. Reyes’ website pauloreyes.com and at Amazon and leading online bookstores.