Chapter 1 Summary
Friday, April 8
A helicopter lands at the hospital in Goteborg during a raging storm. It is carrying two patients: an injured man and a younger woman. Dr. Jonasson meets the emergency team when it arrives. The other doctor on duty takes the old man with a bandage around his face, and Jonasson is left with the girl. She appears to be a young teenager, bloody and dirty and severely wounded. She has duct tape on her hip and shoulder; it is a clever way to keep the blood in and the germs out. A bullet has passed through her hip, damaging the muscle tissue. The bullet wound on the back of her shoulder has no exit wound. She is fortunate the bullet did not puncture her lung. Jonasson is appalled when he removes the girl’s head bandage. She has been shot in the head, and there is no exit wound. He hears the nurse telling him who the girl is: Lisbeth Salander, wanted for three murders in Stockholm. Jonasson sees she is correct, but his job is to save his patient’s life, murderer or not.
Salander is in critical condition. Jonasson has never had a patient with a bullet in her skull. He has theoretical knowledge but has never performed brain surgery. Fortuitously, one of his friends, a brain surgeon, is in town to give a lecture on brain research. He calls Dr. Frank Ellis. Jonasson describes the injury and Ellis is hopeful—anyone who has a bullet in her head and is still alive gives him hope. Ellis agrees to come supervise his friend and make sure he does not do “anything stupid.”
Brain injuries are always puzzling, and how patients will respond and recover—if they recover—is still a mystery to Ellis. Jonasson will extract the bullet through the same route it entered, through Salander’s temple. It is lodged against the lateral ventricle and needs to be removed. Ellis is more worried about the many bone fragments around the entry wound; he sees at least a dozen that are several millimeters long. Some are embedded in her brain tissue, and these could kill her. Jonasson comments that the area in particular danger from the bone fragments is the part of the brain associated with numbers and mathematical capacity.
It is 3:00 a.m. and Mikael Blomkvist is handcuffed,...
(The entire section is 912 words.)