The poor little thing looked terrified. Every beep of the monitors and rustle in the hallway made her jump with terror. She clung to the detective's harm for comfort and protection. The look in the detective's eyes told how much he wanted to capture the people who did this to her. I was able to coax her into letting me listen to heart and lungs. When I lifted her shirt to listen to her lungs I was in shock of what I found. Down her back were more bruises and cigarette burns. The detective must have seen the look of shock on my face. He brought himself to look at her back, when he saw the bruises and burns his face filled with even more anger than before.
The detective stayed by her side as I finished examining her and patching up her cuts. There was nothing majorly wrong with her except for being malnourished, her cuts, bruises, and sprained ankle. "I have to go back to work now sweetie," the detective said to her. She looked panicked and grabbed his arm tighter. "No please don't go, what if they find me?" she pleaded. "Hannah right now I'm going to go out to try to find your parents so I can put them in jail. If you get scared Dr. Alan will be here but if you need me just tell Dr. Alan and I'll be back here as quick as lightening." She looked at me and I smiled at her and told her "I promise I won't let anything bad happen to you." She slowly let go of his arm, the detective smiled at her again and walked out.
Given what she had gone through I wanted to get her evaluated by one of our psychiatrists. I called my colleague Leon who was one of the lead psychiatrists at the hospital. He came down to the ER quickly when he found out about the girl. She looked scared when she saw him and tried to push herself more in the corner of the bed than she already was. "It's okay sweetie, this is my friend Dr. Leon. Would it be okay if you talked to him for a second?" She looked a little hesitant and scared. "Hannah I'll be right outside the door the whole time. Dr Leon is very nice, you'll be safe with him," I told her. " Promise you'll come back in if I call you?" she replied. "Yes Hannah I promise." "Okay," she replied.
Hannah and Leon talked for what seemed liked forever. After an eternity, Leon walked out. "So how is she?" I ask him. "She's not the textbook little." he said. "What do you mean?" I asked him. "Her regression is involuntary. It's a response to the ongoing trauma she experienced. Her mind went back to a safer time to try to cope with that was happening around her. I'd say right now she's regressed to about four or five years old," he told me. "Will she ever recover?" I asked him. "It's unlikely. She's been in this state too long and experienced too much trauma. Right now the best hope for her is to be in a home that is suitable to meet her needs," he told me bluntly. After I left I walked back into Hannah's room to see how she was doing. "Honey how was your talk with Dr. Leon?" I asked her. "It was okay, he was really nice but he made me talk about the scary things that happened to me," she said. "Well you don't have to talk about those things anymore for a while okay." I comforted her. "Hannah, you must be hungry. How about we find you some dinner?" I asked her. She looked at me with a confused and scared look and said, "do I have permission?" "Hannah, what do you mean sweet girl?" I asked her stunned at what she just said. "I need permission to eat, otherwise I'll get punished," she replied. Those words broke me. "Hannah, I promise you, you will never ever get punished for eating anymore."
After getting her some dinner I stayed with her in her room. Little by little she started to open up to me. "Do you know if Eliot put my parents in jail yet?" she asked me. "I don't honey but I'll tell you what. Tomorrow I can give him a call and find out. How does that sound?" I replied. She nodded her head seeming somewhat satisfied with my answer.
It was time for her to go to bed so I tucked her in and told her goodnight. When I tried to walk out of the room she grabbed my hand. "Where are you going? Don't leave me what if they find me?" she said in a panic. "Okay honey, I'll stay right here with you." I comforted her. "Now close your eyes." I texted my husband and told him that I wouldn't be home until morning and that I would explain later. I sat with her until she dozed off. She was beautiful to look at. I couldn't wrap my mind around how someone could hurt a creature as innocent as she was. I was scared for what was going to happen to her. Where would she end up? What challenges will she face? Will anyone be up for the challenge of caring for her?