This is my version of what happened to Roy while he was at the hospital after the rattlesnake bit Johnny.  I always thought there was something missing in ‘Snakebite.’   How did Roy find out, anyway?

Here’s my answer to that missing section:


Disclaimer: Some of the dialogue in the story is borrowed from the original episode. No copyright infringement is intended.





Roy Gets the News

The missing link in ‘Snakebite’

By Jane L.



Dr. Brackett stepped up to Nurse McCall.  Resting his hand briefly on her arm, he asked the question uppermost in his mind.


“Any word on the seriousness of the bite?”


As Dixie shook her head in a negative response, Kel frowned in frustration.


“Well, I don’t like it.  If it’s a grade four, Johnny could be dead within minutes.”


Waiting impatiently for news on the injured paramedic’s condition, the two continued to worry over their friend.  Kel, especially, was well aware of how quickly a person could succumb to the venom of a rattlesnake. 


“This doesn’t sound good.   I just wish there was another paramedic on site.  Treating himself in the field won’t be easy.”


“Yes, Kel, but if anyone can do it, John Gage is the one I’d place my money on.”


“You’re right, Dix, but I still don’t like it.”


Turning from the base station, Dixie McCall froze in place as she realized the last bit of her conversation with Kel Brackett had been overheard.


“Dr. Brackett, Dixie?  What’s going on?”


The doctor and nurse stood rooted in place as they looked back and forth between themselves and the worried paramedic before them.  Neither wanted the unwelcome task of informing the man that his partner and best friend, was in serious danger.  But his blue eyes pierced theirs as Roy DeSoto continued to watch them closely.  He was the first to break the silence as he repeated his question.


“Has something happened to Johnny?”


The radio crackled as if in reply to Roy’s query, and he was surprised to hear Mike Stoker’s voice on the other end. 


“LA, Engine 51.  Cancel ambulance to our location.  We’ll transport the victim directly to Rampart Emergency.”


“10-4, Engine 51.”


"Doc, what's going on?  If Johnny’s hurt, you need to tell me.”


Roy’s voice no longer held any hint of restraint.   He demanded an answer and Kelly Brackett knew he couldn’t delay the inevitable.


“Yes, something’s happened to Johnny.  He was bit by a rattlesnake.”


Roy’s questions came now as firecracker demands as he struggled to come to grips with the shocking news.


“Rattlesnake?   When?   How?   Who’s treating him?”


“Settle down, Roy.   The fire department is relaying information to him.  The crew is right there and they’re getting ready to transport him now.”


Dixie grasped Roy’s arm for just a moment before the radio sprang to life again.  This time the three recognized Johnny’s voice on the other end.  He sounded almost breathless as he began to relay the information they’d been waiting for, and Roy realized he was holding his own breath as he listened to his partner.


“LA, Squad 51.  Vital signs are:  pulse 95, respirations 18, BP is 120 over 65.”


Kel quickly responded with instructions.


“LA, advise patient, commence IV with Ringers Lactate.”


Sam Lanier’s voice was heard relaying Brackett’s orders back to the injured man.


“51, Rampart advises IV with Ringers Lactate.”


“10-4, Rampart.”  Johnny replied.


Suddenly it seemed as if there was no strength left in Roy.  Leaning against the counter, Roy stared straight ahead, almost as if he were not standing in the hospital corridor, but rather at the side of his partner and friend, assisting with a situation that he knew needed his attention.


Kel, Dixie and Roy stared at each other in silence.  Roy thought back to the long drive they’d made earlier to the remote accident location.  He knew the time involved in transporting Johnny could be too long.   The chopper he’d just flown in with had already been sent on another call, which made him all the more thankful that Captain Stanley had opted to bring Gage in on Big Red.  At least they wouldn’t have the added wait time while an ambulance traveled to the site.


Minutes ticked by and there was no further information from the quiet radio.  Roy sat on the edge of the counter, his earlier fidgeting had dissolved into a type of stare daze that he couldn’t rouse himself from.  Kel and Dixie exchanged worried frowns as they witnessed their friend’s shock.  Finally, Brackett called on the fire department’s dispatcher for an update.


Within minutes they were listening in on Captain Stanley’s transmission.


“LA, Engine 51.  We are transporting snakebite victim to Rampart Emergency.  ETA is 30 minutes.”


“10-4, 51.  Rampart is requesting update on patient’s condition."


This time it was Johnny’s voice that echoed back through the radio.  Roy wasn’t the only one at the nurse’s station who was distressed at the sound of the man’s weak response.


“LA, this is Engine 51.  Patient is, uh . .experiencing numbness around the mouth . . and is some. . ."


The static on the radio interrupted any further communication.  Roy could hardly contain himself at the suspense.  What was Johnny going to say?  Was there some other important symptom he wanted to relay?  Gripping the edge of the counter, he watched the radio intently, as if willing it to give him the answers he needed.  Although it seemed like hours to the waiting group, it was only seconds before the dispatcher broke in.


“Engine 51, you’re breaking up.  Engine 51, you’re breaking up and unreadable.  Repeat.”


“LA, Engine 51 repeating.  Patient is experiencing numbness around the mouth, also drowsiness. 


“10-4, 51.”


Captain Stanley's voice had been the one to repeat the information.  Instead of the answers Roy need, his captain's response only increased the paramedic's level of concern.  Why couldn't Johnny answer?   Was his condition deteriorating that rapidly?  Realizing that Brackett was speaking, Roy struggled to bring his attention around to the conversation. 


" . . .effect awfully fast.  Some of it must’ve gotten into a vein. Time is a key factor now.”


“Three is all set up.”




Even though he knew that his duty had been to escort the accident victims to the hospital, Roy was unable to rid himself of the natural recriminations.  Although the busy nurse and doctor were working around him as they made the appropriate preparations, he sat stone faced, staring once more at the radio.  Only his mind continued to work full speed as he focused on his partner.  


Hang in there, Junior.  You've gotta hang in there just a little while longer.


Once again Captain Stanley's voice erupted over the radio, and Roy glanced briefly at his watch.  A lot of time had elapsed since the initial bite.  Would it be too long?  He was riddled with guilt as he realized that precious time may have been wasted as the injured man strove to treat himself. 


“LA, Engine 51.  Notify Rampart, our ETA is now 15 minutes.”


“10-4, 51.”


Still wearing his worried frown, Brackett's voice rang with authority as he spoke to Dixie.


"Get the orderlies and a gurney out to receiving.  I’ll be in three.”


Roy sat still for only a moment before jumping up to follow Dr. Brackett toward the treatment room.  His mind was racing with the possibilities of what might lie in store for his partner, and he was anxious to do his part to help care for him.  However, as he moved into room three and positioned himself next to the table, Roy stood unmoving, as if frozen in place.  Even Kel’s request to move a tray of instruments was lost on the worried man. 


“Roy.  Roy, you know we’re going to do everything we can for him.”


The only answer the doctor received was a brief nod.  Roy’s face seemed to be a blank slate, his eyes staring fixed on the examing table before him.  Brackett wasn’t sure which emotion was most evident on the paramedic’s face:  worry, guilt or grief.  A sudden flurry of activity at the doorway interrupted his train of thought as a crowd of men escorted Johnny into the treatment room.  The two ambulance attendants skillfully maneuvered the gurney into place with the help of Chet Kelly.   Captain Stanley stood at the door, his hands on his hips as he stared anxiously at the unconscious man.  Mike Stoker and Marco Lopez were also staring into the room, their worried gazes almost a mirror image of Roy’s.


Stepping quickly to his partner’s side, Roy helped move his friend onto the table, then stepped back out of the way.  Within seconds, the door had closed on the attendants and 51’s crew.  Only Chet remained at Johnny’s side.


Watching from across the room, Roy found that he couldn’t move closer.  It was almost as if his limbs were held in place by some invisible power.  His heart felt heavy in his chest as he watched the activity before him.  Dr. Brackett had quickly prepared the skin test and was explaining the procedure to Chet, even as it was administered.  But all the activity seemed to be in the background; dim noises from across a great expanse of nothingness. 


The only thing that seemed real was the fear he felt as he looked at Johnny’s face.  The young man was deathly still, the pale color of his face a stark contrast to the blue of his shirt.  A thin sheen of moisture covered Johnny's skin and the stethascope was still draped around his neck.  Roy couldn't help but stare at his friend, wishing fervently that the young paramedic would sit up and flash his crooked grin at them.  It was the end of Brackett’s explanation that finally caught Roy's attention.


“. . if he’s going to react, it’ll be within the next twenty minutes.”


Without realizing it, Roy echoed the doctors final words.


“Twenty minutes . . . ”


It was then that Dixie stepped in and took control.  Urging Roy out the door and into the hallway, she did her best to encourage him. 


Sitting in the doctor's lounge with the other men, a cup of coffee in his hands, Roy couldn't even recall the words she'd said in the hallway.  Something about Johnny having everything going for him, and Roy not being able to do any more for Johnny than he'd done for himself.  He knew the nurse's words were meant to comfort, but all he could think of were the 'what ifs?'   His mind plagued with frustration over the delay in treatment, Roy glanced again at his watch.  He didn't think there had ever been a slower twenty-minute interval in his entire life. 


Pushing himself from the table, Roy met Stanley's gaze.


"I've gotta go check on him, Cap."


"Of course, Roy.  Go ahead.  Just let us know as soon as you find out anything, okay?"


"Sure, Cap."


As he walked out the door, Roy could already overhear the conversation behind him.  Mike's worried voice was declaring his concern for both paramedics, and Roy was almost angry at the thought of anyone being worried for him.  After all, if he'd been there to help his partner as he should've been, Johnny wouldn't be in the shape he was now.


Stepping back into room three, Roy was relieved to see that Brackett had already returned.  Leaning over his patient, Kel checked carefully for any sign of reaction to the anti-venom, totally unaware of Roy's anxious gaze behind him.


Only Dixie was fully conscious of the senior paramedic's state of mind.  She watched him as carefully as Dr. Brackett watched Johnny.  Moments later, as they heard Brackett's statement of "no reaction," the sigh of relief she heard from Roy brought a renewed warmth to her heart.  Dixie would never admit how close she felt to these two paramedics, but then it was probably fairly obvious.


As Chet left the room, Dixie looked up at Roy, happy to see a wide grin on his face as she spoke to him.


"I didn't realize how fond he is of Johnny."


"I don't think Chet did either."


Roy turned to follow Chet into the hallway, but stopped for a moment at the door.  Turning to look again at his partner, Roy breathed a silent thank-you.  With confirmation of his friend's recovery, the pieces seemed to fall into place once more, and Roy knew that there was no guilt or regret that should be placed on his shoulders.  He realized that he'd known that all along, but the fear of losing his best friend had overshadowed any rational thoughts.  He watched Johnny another moment before rejoining the crew.


Take care, Junior.  I'll be back to check on you later.