Dead or Alive?


Nurse Brenda Holloway (Katherine McRae) decides to do some investigating of her own on Shortland Street this week.

Recently Brenda has noticed that there have been a series of near fatal cardiac arrests occurring in seemingly stable patients at the hospital. Sensing that there is more to the arrests than meets the eye, Brenda starts to do some super-sleuthing of her own in the hope that she will uncover some evidence.

“Brenda is looking into these strange cases of respiratory and cardiac arrest. People who shouldn’t be arresting, and have shown no prior indicators are starting to arrest,” Katherine McRae says. “She finds an unlabeled syringe in a ward and gets it tested and finds out it’s suxamethonium – a powerful drug used only in emergency departments and operating theatres. That’s when she really realises that there is something really sinister going on.”

Trying to fast track her investigation, Brenda asks long time friend and clinic administrator Yvonne Jeffries (Alison Quigan) to procure some personnel files for her. Torn between her loyalty to Brenda, and staff confidentiality, Yvonne refuses her request.

“Brenda is never one to back off when she has the bit between her teeth,” McRae comments. “Even when Scotty tells her not to continue with the investigation, and Yvonne warns her against it, Brenda, being Brenda she feels that lives are at risk and she just can’t let it go.”

When new Doctor Gavin Capper (Tim Schijf) is delayed in helping with a patient resuscitation, Brenda takes it upon herself to question his lateness – and her suspicions of him are intensified when he immediately becomes defensive. But he isn’t her only potential suspect. “Brenda also questions Joey about his movements within the hospital,” says McRae. “And Dr. Durville also feels accused when she asks him about how the suxamethonium gets into the ward”.

Despite that fact that staff are becoming weary of Brenda’s motives and her constant questioning, she ploughs on with her investigation, choosing to risk her own job and further damage her reputation.

Instead of attending the Halloween party, the persistent Brenda decides to remain at work to do some more investigating and quickly realises that she may have found a pivotal piece of evidence when looking through staff rosters. However, her plans to reveal all to management and the police team are thwarted when nursing manager James ‘Scotty’ Scott finds out what Brenda has done and he suspends her on the spot.

“She looks through the rosters because she’s trying to find out a staff member who’s there at every one of these strange arrests,” McRae says. “But just as she thinks she is onto something Scotty catches her in a restricted area and puts a stop to it. There is no love lost between Scotty and Brenda so you can imagine that he is pretty quick to lay down the law and get her out of there.”

As Brenda’s detective efforts proceed, she comes across some stunning information in the files. By cross-checking rosters and shift request changes, she comes up with the name of one person who seems to have been present at nearly every suspicious incident. She calls Chris and arranges a meeting to spill the beans, but before they can meet she is called to another emergency on the wards. There, the Ferndale killer is lurking in a cubicle and when Brenda confronts him/her, she is injected in the neck with a syringe. Is Brenda dead or alive? Can she survive to give the police her crucial information?

I know she died, but this press release is still an interesting read.

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About the author

Kyle Wadsworth

Kyle Wadsworth is a trained multimedia journalist with a passion for film and television - notably Westside and Outrageous Fortune! Also known as TuiKiwi (the name of which has also featured on Outrageous Fortune as a guest-starring beer brand).
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