Chapter Twenty

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Two Weeks Ago

Nanotechnology? Nanomedicine? Nanorobotics?

And all of it somehow related to the operating room Scott’s father had died in.

It didn’t make sense.

Or, at least, it didn’t seem to make sense.

Scott started at the computer screen, trying to figure out what, exactly, he’d been looking at.

Scott had spent some time, when he’d initially been exploring investing his father’s death, looking at every single person who had been on the chart for being in the operating room during the shift that his father had died, but, often finding nothing of value, had left them aside after a cursory glimpse into his life

Tracking the surgeon himself, Dr. Citino, had revealed the mysterious death which ended up consuming most of Scott’s focus. And so, after that, he had pretty much abandoned looking at everyone else who had been there.

After all, Citino had been the one in charge and had also been the one who, like Scott’s father, had died under mysterious circumstances.

So there’d had to be something further there.

Scott started exploring the hospital itself, looking for any sort of connection the hospital might have with Ottawa, and he’d been following as many trails as he could. But it wasn’t until he started looking further into some of the other staff in the operating room that he found an intriguing yet small connection between Citino and the anesthesiologist, a Dr. Mike Nottoff.

Nottoff had been a research assistant at the Ottawa school where Citino had TA’d.

Deep digging revealed that the two could have possibly met, because Nottoff had taken a course in which Citino had been one of the two team leaders. So, while the records of which TA headed which half of the class, there was at least a fifty-fifty chance that the two of them had met more than once.

It was worth Scott pursuing Nottoff a bit deeper.

He’d found an intriguing series of articles that Nottoff had been a key researcher in.

Several of them had to do with nanotechnology.

In one, research was being done on an area that had been worked on by a team of researchers from Australia and the US, of a nanorobots – the engineering and design of designing devices constructed of molecular components in the scale of a nanometer – searching out and identifying certain proteins and delivering targeted drug delivery. 

In another, Nottoff had been a principle investigator in a series of “suicide switch” nanotherapeutic examinations targeting cancer cells – the goal was modeled on the body’s own immune system, where white blood cells patrol the bloodstream, and, when detecting specific cells in distress, are able to bind to them and transmit specific signals allowing them to self-destruct.

Scott became fascinated with the detailed research that Nottoff had been a part of, and followed a series of his published papers, despite the challenge he had of properly being able to understand much about it.

Although, when he extrapolated the nanotechnology techniques, particularly the ones in which the nanorobotic device was programmed to seek out particular types of cells and target specific actions on them, it was similar to the manner by which hacking a computer program in order to seek out particular user actions or subroutines might trigger a particular pre-programmed hacked response.

The concepts behind nanotechnology and its use in medicine intrigued Scott.

And Nottoff, who had been a key researcher into that technology, had written or been a key player in the development of no less than half a dozen similar research projects while he was in Ottawa.  When he left Ottawa, Nottoff spent a year at University of Alberta’s NINT (National Institute for Nanotechnology) before making his way to Laurentian as an anaesthesiologist.

It appeared that he had been involved in some sort of research project involving use of nanomedicine in both relaxing and calming techniques as well as in anaesthesia.  Nottoff had been particularly concerned with producing an anaesthetic that would produce no side-effects, such as the nausea or vomiting that was a common result in as many as thirty percent of patients.  Nottoff had a single reprimand on his record for engaging in research that involved testing in lab animals that had not been approved by CCAC, the Canadian Council on Animal Care. It was six months after that in which he transferred over to Laurentian.

Scott sat in front of the computer for a long time, considering what he had been looking at.

Had Nottoff used some sort of experimental nanotechnology on Lionel Desmond?

Had it been some sort of experimental anaesthetic nanotechnology? Had it been the use of the cancer-cell targeting nanorobots Scott had read about?

In either case, something had gone horribly wrong.

And Scott needed to find out.

He needed to learn more about Nottoff and where, exactly he was now.

He needed to speak with him.

And get to the bottom of this.

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