I arrived at the hospital fifteen minutes later, trying my best to look like an expectant father when I asked where the maternity ward was. I guess I passed, marginally, since the woman at the desk told me, after saying, "You don't know?" in a disbelieving voice.
I went up there, suspecting my chances of finding anyone who would, or could, talk to me about the time Ms Engel had been there were slim to none. Among other things, most of the nurses I saw bustling around were my age—thirty—or younger. Then I spotted an older one coming out of one of the rooms. Since she wasn't carrying a baby, I figured I could approach her without her thinking I was a kidnapper or some such.
"Miss"—I checked her name tag—"Franklin, could I speak to you for a moment?" I showed her my private investigator's ID.
She studied me then nodded. "Depending what it's about. I've got a ten minute break and"—she smiled dryly—"for once, I don't have to use the restroom. I'm heading down to grab something quick to munch on. We can talk while I do."
"Thank you. This might only take a minute anyway. I'm trying to find a nurse who would have been working the maternity ward in nineteen ninety-one."
"Oh my. That could be difficult. Who is she?"
"Not a specific one. Just someone who would have been here then."
"Why?" she asked warily as we got on the elevator.
"Long story short, I've been hired by a baby's mother to find out what happened to him."
"He died while he was here? In that case you'll have to take it up with our lawyers."
"No. He was given to an adoption agency and the mother doesn't remember the name."
"If she doesn't, why would a nurse?"
"Good question. I guess I should have figured that out for myself," I replied with a self-deprecating chuckle.
"If I were you, I'd find out what agencies were in business back then and go from there."
"That was my next step, if I didn't find someone here who knew firsthand which one the mother had used."
She nodded then said, "I wasn't working the maternity ward then and I really don't know who was. I could find out, but I doubt it would do you any good. Even if one of the nurses still works here, she wouldn't be allowed to give out that sort of information."
"All right. I figured as much but it was worth a try. Thank you for your help."
She chuckled. "Or lack thereof."
We were on the ground floor by then and I took off, heading back to work.