May 29, 2018

ER 1.19, Love’s Labor Lost: To Live and Die in Chicago

Posted in TV tagged , , at 4:57 pm by Jenn

Go ahead and start crying now, it’s okay

Summary: Mark and Doug are tossing around a football outside the hospital when a car speeds up and a man is tossed out. As Mark tends to him, Benton is overseeing treatment of his mother. Mark quizzes Carter and Chen on what to do with his patient, but they’re too slow to answer, and the nurses are smarter than they are anyway. Haleh realizes that Mae doesn’t want to be undressed in front of her son, so she kicks Benton out of her trauma room.

Mark’s patient has a gunshot wound, and they send him to surgery once he’s stable. A doctor named Wilson is annoyed that Benton paged him to the ER, and even more annoyed when Benton tries to invite himself into the OR to observe his mother’s operation. Mark and Carter examine a man who tried to sand off one of his tattoos. He’ll need a skin graft to repair the damage, but that means replacing the tattoo with part of another. Carter congratulates Mark on becoming an attending, and Mark compares working in the ER to joining the circus.

As Benton waits impatiently for news about his mother’s condition, Mark meets Sean and Jodi O’Brien, a couple about to welcome their first child. Jodi appears to have a bladder infection but no other medical problems. Carter examines a man’s face, asking him to do things like track Carter’s finger with his eyes and press his face against Carter’s hand. He misunderstands when Carter says to show him his teeth, and ends up offering Carter his dentures.

Jackie and her kids come to the hospital to wait with Benton, who knows his sister’s angry with him for not taking better care of Mae. A man brings in his son, who he thinks is under the influence of something. His son was visiting him at the greenhouse where he works. Mark shares Jodi’s case with Carter and Chen, who confirm that she has a bladder infection. She just needs antibiotics. A woman asks Mark, Carter, and Doug to sign a get-well card for her, which I guess is supposed to be funny.

The boy from the greenhouse gets worse, and Mark realizes that his condition is related to the nursery where his father works – he has insecticide poisoning. Let’s hope his father apologizes for thinking he was drunk or high. Chen complains to Carter that everyone they see is sick and old, so I guess when she applied to medical school, she thought she would end up working at Cute and Fuzzy Bunny General Hospital. As they’re hoping that the rest of their shift will be calm, Sean runs in calling for help – Jodi passed out in the car.

Benton goes to Mae’s OR and tries to talk his way into scrubbing in. Wilson angrily kicks him out. Mark determines that Jodi has eclampsia, so she’ll need to be admitted. She starts seizing, and Sean watches helplessly as Mark and other doctors and nurses stabilize her. Fortunately, the baby seems fine. Mark tells Sean that eclampsia causes blood vessels to spasm, which leads to a lack of oxygen to the brain. They need to deliver the baby soon. Mark’s shift is supposed to be over, so Susan offers to take over Jodi’s case, but Mark feels bad about letting her go earlier and wants to see things through.

An ultrasound shows that the baby’s okay, and Sean and a now-conscious Jodi start discussing names. Mark talks Carter through how they evaluate unborn babies and determine how healthy they are. The baby’s heart rate is 140, exactly in the middle of the healthy range of 120 to 160. Mark calls Janet Coburn, the head of obstetrics, to fill her in; she’s at another hospital and won’t be at County for another hour. Mark tells her he’s comfortable delivering Jodi’s baby.

He then tells the O’Briens that everything is good, and he thinks they should do a trial of labor. Jodi agrees, wanting to deliver naturally rather than undergo a C-section. The OB resident, Drake, has to go back to his floor, but Mark still feels good about delivering the baby. A few hours later, Jodi’s dilated five centimeters and is in good spirits. Jodi and Sean have made lists of potential names, and when Mark sees that Jared is on both lists, he suggests that they agree to it.

Just as Mark is about to call OB to find out when Jodi can go up, Sean comes to tell him that the baby’s heart rate is down to 90. Mae is out of surgery, and the staff continues to treat Benton as her family member instead of a doctor. Jackie thinks that something like this was going to happen sooner or later. Jodi has reached the part of labor where she’s annoyed with her husband and just wants drugs. She feels much better after getting an epidural. She’s now eight centimeters dilated and getting much closer to delivering.

45 minutes later, OB still hasn’t come to take Jodi upstairs. Mark decides they’ll have to deliver the baby in the ER. The epidural is wearing off, so Jodi’s yelling at Sean again. She labors for a while and doesn’t make any progress, so Mark sends Carter to OB to drag someone down to the ER. Everyone in the department is busy, so it’s on Mark again, with help from Susan, Carter, Carol, Chen, and Lydia.

The baby’s shoulders won’t come out, and Sean, frustrated by how long the delivery is taking, snaps at Mark. Eventually, Mark announces that they’ll have to push the baby back in and perform a C-section. Sean isn’t convinced that Mark knows what he’s doing, but Mark tells him they don’t have time to wait for another doctor. They move Jodi to a trauma room, making Sean stay outside.

Jodi starts seizing again, so they intubate her. Things get hectic, but Mark calms the room by telling everyone to take a deep breath. He calmly gives instructions and orders a nurse to get someone from OB. Then he performs the C-section, trying to remember how to do it. Jodi begins bleeding as the baby is delivered, unbreathing. Sean watches from outside the room, both his wife and his son’s lives at risk.

Mark puts Carter in charge of stabilizing Jodi’s aorta as he helps Susan, Carol, and Lydia resuscitate the baby. The whole room is tense, but finally the baby starts to improve. Coburn finally arrives, and Mark tells her all the steps he took to help Jodi and the baby. She’s upset that his surgical methods were so sloppy. She complains that he didn’t tell her he was in over his head, as if he didn’t call OB 15 times and send two people to get help.

Poor Sean is still outside the trauma room, waiting for news, when the baby is taken to the neonatal ICU. Coburn takes charge of Jodi’s care, sending Mark to talk to Sean once her bleeding is under control. Mark tells Sean that the baby will probably be okay, and that Jodi is stable. He sends Sean off with the baby, since there’s nothing he can do for Jodi.

Coburn continues to blast Mark for his mistakes, including but not limited to missing Jodi’s preeclampsia, underestimating the baby’s weight, and missing a blood clot and placental abruption. Mark points out that the situation was a mess, so he had a lot to take care of. If it wasn’t for him, Jodi would be dead and the baby would have suffered brain damage. Susan tries to calm Mark, saying that Coburn’s just trying to cover for her own missteps. But Mark blames himself for everything that went wrong.

Still more is going wrong, as Jodi is deteriorating. Mark wears himself out trying to save her, but Coburn decides there’s nothing they can do, and she declares Jodi dead. Mark continues chest compressions, determined to save Jodi, until Susan silently convinces him that Coburn’s right. Mark goes straight to the nursery, and we see but don’t hear him giving Sean the bad news.

Mark goes back to the ER and stands over Jodi’s body before it’s taken away. Carter tells him that he thinks what he did was heroic. It’s morning when Susan and Mark leave the hospital; she tries to convince him to go get breakfast, but he tells her he has a bunch of things to do. He gets on an El train alone and lets himself cry.

Thoughts: Sean is played by Bradley Whitford. Jodi is played by Colleen Flynn, who also played Colleen in “All Things.”

Whitford and Flynn do a great job of making you believe they’re a couple who’ve been together for years. It must be difficult for actors to fake that with someone they’ve just met. Here, their performances make Jodi’s death even more devastating.

Chen does nothing in this episode. I don’t even know why she’s in it.

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1 Comment »

  1. Ciara said,

    Mark should blame himself. Pre-eclampsia is pretty difficult to miss, & if Jodi was having full-on seizures, she needed a Cesarean that second. Letting her labor led directly to her death. WTF were the people in obstetrics doing that was more important than a literal life-&-death obstetrics emergency? This hospital suuuuuuuucks. (Pre-eclampsia mom here. My baby was born at 32 weeks via emergency Cesarean even though I was NOT yet having seizures. She’s a healthy, noisy five-year-old now!)


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