February 19, 2019

ER 3.10, Homeless for the Holidays: Employee X

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 4:54 pm by Jenn

It’s Doug’s best day ever!

Summary: Jeanie meets up with Weaver at Doc Magoo’s after a meeting with her doctor. Her viral load is now undetectable on her new medication, and she thinks County might now be okay with her continuing to work there. Weaver is less hopeful, but she’s also upset that Jeanie’s been sidelined with administrative tasks instead of seeing patients. Whatever happens, however, at least Jeanie’s health is good.

Randi criticizes Mark’s choice of Christmas presents for Rachel, a sled. Gant likes it, but his judgment might be compromised, since he’s been working for about 24 hours. Things get even worse for him when his girlfriend, Monique, calls to cancel their holiday plans.

Weaver meets with Mark and Anspaugh to discuss Jeanie. She can’t be fired because she’s HIV-positive, but it’s legal to make her life miserable, basically. Anspaugh tells Weaver and Mark to come up with a fair policy they can apply to any staff member with HIV. This means the two feuding doctors will have to work together.

Gant still has ten more hours to go before he gets a holiday break, part of which he’ll be spending with Carter’s family (but not Monique). Doug’s trying to buy his mom some last-minute flowers, but Carol hangs up the phone while he’s on hold to force him to see patients. She doesn’t want to hear his holiday complaints, since her mother started her prep for their traditional Ukrainian Christmas celebration at 5 a.m.

Doug asks Mark what his meeting with Anspaugh was about. Mark says they’re working on a departmental policy on HIV-positive workers, which makes Doug think there’s someone in the ER with HIV. Weaver and Carol treat a drag queen, Miss Understood, who had a fight with her boyfriend over who was cooking their Christmas goose and now has chest pains. She’s still clutching the goose and refuses to give it up, but Carol out-stubborns her.

Rumors are now circulating that someone in the hospital has HIV. Jeanie overhears Connie and Randi talking about it but keeps a poker face. Carol tries to get her to stitch up a patient, but Jeanie says she’s doing triage again. As Charlie arrives with Ahmed, the baby Doug has been trying to get into the hospital. Doyle tends to a woman named Beth who has some bad facial injuries and a possibly broken jaw. Doyle sees in her chart that she’s been there before multiple times and angrily guesses that Beth’s husband is abusive.

Mark and Weaver get to work on the policy, trying to balance federal law with state regulations. Mark argues that he’s concerned, not a bigot, and no one wants to fire Jeanie. They just need to remember their responsibility to their patients. Weaver notes that they also have a responsibility to Jeanie, who’s a good employee. If they reveal her personal information, they could get sued. Mark says this is bigger than Weaver’s loyalty to a friend.

Doug’s treating a baby who snacked on mistletoe when he notices Charlie and Ahmed. She’s worried that Ahmed’s mother, Gloria will realize that Charlie brought him there and will be upset. Doug doesn’t care, telling Charlie to get Gloria to the hospital. Paramedics bring in a homeless man, Collins, who has burns and a yappy dog named Nick. Collins makes Mark promise not to send the dog to a kennel.

Doug determines that Ahmed has a mass in his abdomen and will probably need surgery. Gloria hasn’t arrived yet and there are no other adult relatives, so there’s no one to give consent. Charlie wishes she’d brought him in sooner, since Ahmed’s tumor is affecting his kidney function, but Doug praises her for getting the child medical treatment.

Keaton, Benton, and Carter operate on Ahmed while Carol tries to get a history from a woman who was found dancing with elves at Marshall Fields. She’ll only speak through a reindeer hand puppet and will only give her name as Blitzen, “the most overlooked of all the reindeer.” Carol decides to write Blitzen down as the woman’s name.

Doyle’s telling Beth about a shelter she can go to when her husband, Mr. Lang, arrives. He pretends that she was hurt when she fell down some stairs. Doyle coolly sends him back to the waiting area, saying they still have some things to do. Mark tries to find Nick something he’ll eat, but the dog is picky. Also, Collins’ condition is declining. As Carol’s trying to get “Blitzen” a psych consult, a man arrives looking for her.

Nick finally gets some food, finding Miss Understood’s goose. Ahmed comes through surgery fine, but he’ll need to stay in the hospital for a while. Doug tells Charlie that he has to call Social Services, since Gloria didn’t do anything when Ahmed got sick. Charlie’s worried that Gloria will throw her out. Doug agrees to give Gloria a chance to explain herself.

Keaton wants to make last-minute Christmas Eve plans with Carter, so he says he’ll try to get out of things with Gant and his family. Doug treats Charlie to lunch and tries to get her to open up about her family life. She ran away from home in Cleveland because her mom had a string of bad boyfriends who often turned their attention to Charlie. She hasn’t talked to her mother since.

After 34 hours of work, Gant is ready to party with the rich people. Carter says he might not make it to his family’s party, because there’s a “girl” he wants to go see. Gant understands, but Carter feels bad. Not bad enough to give up Keaton, of course.

Weaver and Mark keep discussing their policy, overhearing Lily and Chuny as they gossip about the employee who might have HIV. Mark decides to address this head-on, but this leads to a debate among the nurses. Chuny doesn’t think a worker with HIV should be involved in a bloody trauma. Carol doesn’t see the problem as long as the person wears gloves.

Connie asks if the worker, whom Mark is calling Employee X, got HIV from a needle stick. Doyle doesn’t see why it matters. Haleh says that universal precautions are supposed to prevent transmission, and Lydia notes that they work on HIV-positive patients using those precautions. As Jeanie comes by, Mark says they’re trying to determine whether patients have the right to know that their doctor or nurse or whoever has HIV.

Chuny asks if there’s an actual Employee X, or if this is all hypothetical. Weaver says they’re just discussing policies for now. Employee X could be anyone. Tired of being talked about, Jeanie steps forward and says, “Would everyone stop calling me Employee X? I am HIV-positive.”

Weaver and Mark continue their discussion in the lounge, now with Jeanie present. Mark would be uncomfortable with letting Jeanie participate in a trauma involving deep, penetrating wounds, but Jeanie says she wouldn’t be comfortable with that either. She’s been more careful since she got her diagnosis, and she would never want to harm a patient. Mark knows this, but they need to reconcile state and federal policies.

Jeanie wants to continue helping people, which is why she hasn’t quit her job. She asks what else Mark is concerned about. He notes that dementia can be a sign of full-blown AIDS, and would obviously put patients at risk. Jeanie says that some hospitals have someone monitor employees with HIV to keep an eye on their health. Weaver volunteers to do that for Jeanie. Coming out of the meeting, Jeanie realizes that her co-workers are now looking at her differently. Carol says she wishes she’d known about Jeanie’s HIV, obviously implying that she would have been nicer if she had.

Doyle and Malik tell Mr. Lang that Beth will probably have to stay overnight for observation. They send him back to the waiting area as they wheel a covered gurney outside. Beth is on the gurney, sneaking out to go to the bus station. Doyle even gives her money for her bus ticket and food. Then she tells Malik the money was really his, as he won the employees’ bowl game pool.

Mark looks for an animal shelter that will take Nick, ignoring Chuny when she reminds him that he told the now-dead Collins he wouldn’t send the dog away. Mark’s mad that he had to pay Miss Understood $50 for the goose Nick ate. Chuny guilts him into changing his mind by telling him the shelter will kill the dog if they can’t find him a home. But hey, now Rachel might have a better Christmas present.

Gloria comes to the hospital, furious that no one will give her Ahmed. Doug can tell she’s high, which certainly isn’t going to make him hand over the kid. Charlie’s mad when Doug threatens again to call Social Services. She though he was different from every other adult she’s met with any kind of power.

Mark bathes Nick in the lounge sink and tells Doug he’s giving the dog to Rachel. Doug offers to help with the bath if Mark gives him $20 (he lost his wallet). It’s a good thing he doesn’t pay up front, because the dog escapes. Mark slips and hits his head, staying behind while Doug chases down the dog. Needing stitches, Mark turns to Jeanie for help, extending an olive branch.

Carter and Keaton are exchanging Christmas presents when Benton comes by Keaton’s office. Carter hides under her desk. Benton wants to do another pediatric rotation and hopes Keaton will give her replacement a recommendation (she’s going to Pakistan, remember). Keaton says Benton is a great surgeon, but it’s not enough for pediatrics. He only took the rotation to challenge himself; he doesn’t have a passion for pediatrics. Benton leaves without a recommendation for another specialty, saying he doesn’t want to waste any more of Keaton’s time.

While Jeanie stitches him up, Mark tells her she’s an asset to the ER. He wants her to stay. However, she’ll have to work within the limits they’re setting up, and Jeanie knows Mark wouldn’t be comfortable with her, say, giving Rachel stitches. Doug brings the dog back, then heads off to spend Christmas Eve alone.

Jeanie tells Mark she’s sorry she lied about her health. After he leaves, Carol comes into the lounge and tries to relate to what Jeanie’s going through now that the news about her health is out. When she came back to work after attempting suicide, she felt like everyone was staring at her. Carol hopes the two of them can become friends.

Charlie’s waiting for Doug at his place, having gotten his address from his wallet, which she stole. She has no place to go since, as suspected, Gloria kicked her out. Al visits Jeanie at the hospital and gives her some Christmas cards that were sent to them as a couple. He also has the star they used to put at the top of their Christmas tree. They reminisce about the early days of their marriage.

Carter goes looking for Gant, who fell asleep finishing his charts. Since Gant is doing his scut work, Benton has time to visit Carla and give her a gas station poinsettia. Apparently her standards are low because she lets him come in. At Carol’s, where she’s hosting Ukrainian Christmas, her mother chastises her for not having an extra chair for an unexpected visitor. It’s tradition, but also a necessity when Doug shows up with Charlie, wanting Carol to take her in for the night.

Mark takes both the dog and the sled to Jen’s house, but sees that Rachel has already gotten two puppies for Christmas. Jen’s new husband, Craig, spots him as he’s leaving and notes how coincidental it is that Mark brought a dog. Rachel doesn’t seem to care that Nick is scraggly and not as young or cute as her puppies. Mark pretends the dog is his and can barely hide his glee when Nick bites Craig. Charlie enjoys herself with Carol’s family, and Carol agrees to let her spend the night. Carter and Keaton spend the evening in bed, discussing her move to Pakistan. They recite “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Okay, leave already.

Mr. Lang falls asleep waiting for his wife at the hospital, and Doyle just lets him stay there. She tells Jeanie that the tree in the waiting area is missing something. She thinks Jeanie was gutsy for coming forward as Employee X. Jeanie realizes that she has the one thing that will make the tree look complete – the star Al brought her. Doyle says that since the star is from Jeanie’s first Christmas with Al, it’s an heirloom and should go on her family tree. But Jeanie says that’s exactly where it is.

Thoughts: Miss Understood’s drag cabaret act is the Mighty Morphin Gender Changers. That is BRILLIANT.

34 hours of work should be illegal.

I’ve always liked how much Weaver fights for Jeanie. I think it stems from having a disability – she’s most likely been mistreated at work, so she wants to stand up for someone else who’s being mistreated.

Apparently escaping from your abusive husband is just that easy.

When Benton comes by, Keaton tells him she was just “reviewing some anatomy.” Cough.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: