November 19, 2019

ER 5.3, They Treat Horses, Don’t They?: In Case You Didn’t Know, Insurance Companies Are Awful

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:58 pm by Jenn

I mean…just…sigh

Summary: The ER is being painted, and for some reason, the painters are starting in the copy room. Weaver disapproves. Mark tries to make conversation with Rachel, who’s showing signs of the teenager she’ll later become. She makes bare-minimum conversation with her father, then gushes to her mother when she calls. Weaver learns that her title has changed from acting chief to interim chief. Anspaugh tells her they’re forming a committee to look for a permanent chief. She gives him an evaluation she did of Doug.

Carter has gone from living in a mansion to living in an okay apartment to living in a dorm and having to share a bathroom with a bunch of guys. Poor Carter, slumming it with the middle class. Having to fix a clogged toilet and losing your toothbrush down it in the process isn’t fun, but his beard may be worse. When he gets to work, Randi says he’s starting to look “mythic.”

Weaver asks Mark if he thinks “interim chief” sounds better than “acting chief.” He tells her Anspaugh asked him to serve on the committee to find a replacement. She hopes he can remain unbiased since she’s one of the candidates. He decides to pass on the opportunity. Jeanie returns from a music camp in the wilderness and meets Lynette. She isn’t working until noon, so she volunteers to help out at the clinic. Her first patient is a boy who has roundworms, which is definitely worse than losing your toothbrush while unclogging a toilet.

Benton meets with a doctor who confirms the audiologist’s findings: Reese has hearing loss. Benton has looked into cochlear implants, but the doctor isn’t a fan, since they require destroying the patient’s residual hearing. Plus, Reese isn’t a candidate right now. He should use hearing aids right now and get into speech therapy. Benton asks about sign language, but the doctor thinks that will just limit him.

Doug wants to take Carol and Mark to lunch, but he won’t tell them what the special occasion is. A painter finds some papers in the copier and gives them to Jerry, who sees Doug’s name on them and tells Randi to put them in his box. Roxanne comes by to talk to a nurse about insurance and asks Carter to examine her healing toe. He’s a little more interested in her than he was the last time he saw her.

It’s Elizabeth’s last day as a fellow before becoming an intern again. Benton is distracted as they scrub in together, and she’s worried that he thinks she made the wrong choice. He says he just can’t imagine being an intern again. Anspaugh lets Benton know that the patient they were about to operate on just died.

Mark, Lucy, and Carol get a patient named Rodney who took a carving knife to the forehead. He’s drunk and combative, so Lucy helps tie restraints around his arms. She doesn’t tie hers properly, so he flails and sends her flying. Carol is quickly getting fed up with the inept student. Doug’s new patient is a 15-year-old named Dana who broke her leg while playing soccer. However, she didn’t fall or have a collision, which means she probably has a tumor.

Doug finds the papers in his box and is confused about why they’re there. Benton fights with someone with his insurance company in his attempts to get hearing aids for Reese. Dwight tells Mark that a call came in about a hostage situation and shootout; he’s welcome to tag along with the paramedics if he’d like. Mark is hesitant but decides to accept.

Lucy uses Rodney’s unconscious body to practice inserting an IV. She fails and Malik has to redo it. She admits to Carter that she asked him for help, which Carter encourages her to do, since they can teach her a lot. Mark and Dwight meet up with a bomb squad, since the person who took hostages has explosives. He’s also been taken down by the cops and needs medical attention. Dwight is up for the job, but the guy running the show wants Mark to go since he’s a doctor.

Doug tells Jeanie, who was helping him with Dana, that she may have Ewing’s sarcoma. He gives Jeanie the chance to bow out and see other patients, but Jeanie wants to stay on the case. Paramedics bring in an elderly woman named Emily whose neighbor found her unconscious. Carter stabilizes her, telling the neighbor that it’s not clear if she’ll live. The neighbor doesn’t care about Emily, per se; she just wants to know if her apartment will become available, since her sister’s looking for a place.

Doug and Jeanie tell Dana’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis, that she may have cancer. Dana hasn’t been told anything yet. Mark works with a bomb squad guy, Clark, to try to treat the bomber without, you know, blowing anything up. (Clark calls the bomber Boris; I have no idea if that’s actually his name, but I’ll go with it.) Back at County, Benton tells Carla what he’s learned about Reese’s hearing. She thinks everything will turn out fine. Benton’s insurance is awful, especially for a doctor, and he doesn’t have much in the bank, but Carla can chip in. Elizabeth spots the three of them together.

A woman named Margo introduces herself to Carter as a representative from Emily’s HMO. She reveals that Emily has a DNR, so all the work Carter did to stabilize her was for nothing. Margo won’t approve her admission to the hospital; she can’t justify spending money on a woman who shouldn’t be alive. Carter argues that she’s on a ventilator, so she has to be admitted. Margo disagrees.

Mark and Dwight bring in Boris after he’s been separated from the explosives. Benton helps tend to him in the ER and discovers a box that might be a detonator. Clark says that as long as they don’t mess with it, it should be fine. Good thing Clark is here to reassure the staff. Hey, everyone! It “should be fine”! A guy from the bomb squad says so!

Boris has wrapped chicken wire around himself and the detonator, which will have to removed in the OR. Jeanie pours saline on it, which shorts out the electricity. Clark yells that everyone has about five seconds to get out. As the others run for cover, Benton stays behind, counting. He cuts out the detonator, tosses it in the corner, and covers himself. After it goes off, he checks out the minimal damage, then goes right back to work.

Having run out of time to go out for lunch because of Mark’s heroics, Doug buys pizza for him and Carol. Before he tells them why he wanted to have the meal together, he gives a dramatic reading of the papers in the copier – it’s his evaluation from Weaver. Shockingly, it’s negative. Doug then announces that the evaluation doesn’t matter. A friend on a committee told him he’s already been approved to become a pediatric ER attending. Carol’s thrilled, and though Mark had doubts, he’s happy for his friend.

Weaver interrupts the celebration to tell Mark that Rachel’s there. Somehow, she came across a horse with colic and promised its owner or handler or whoever that Mark can help. Mark points out that he’s a people doctor, not a veterinarian, but there are no vets close by who can help. Mark is obviously going to help Cherry Blossom, because how else will he get his daughter to pay attention to him again?

Roxanne is still hanging around the hospital, and when she spots Carter again, she asks to get together sometime to talk about…investing. Sexy. She gives him a free guest pass to a health club and tells him she’s there every night around 7. Woo-hoo, Carter’s gonna sauna and talk about interest rates! At least it’s better than fighting 30 guys for a shower.

Weaver treats a man who’s having trouble breathing. They paralyze him to intubate him, but they don’t have a big enough blade for the procedure. Randi may have a solution, since she’s gotten her hands on the knife extracted from Rodney’s forehead and would like to keep it. Mark goes in to help Weaver, who feels like she’s being pushed aside. Then she learns from a painter that the copy room’s being painted because it’s being turned into an exam room for the new pediatric attending.

Carter tries to get Weaver’s advice on Emily, but Weaver’s not in the mood. She tells him that if he wants to be chief resident, he needs to start making big decisions on his own. Elizabeth tracks down Benton, thinking he’s going back to Carla, and asks him to let her know if she’s about to be dumped. He assures her that that’s not what’s going on. He snaps that he’s not avoiding her, then reveals that he’s dealing with Reese’s hearing problems. He didn’t want to tell her because it’s private.

So…Mark treats the horse. Jerry reluctantly helps give Cherry Blossom an enema, not wanting to get too close to his hindquarters. Doug visits Dana, who’s heard that she needs to see an oncologist and is smart enough to know what oncologists treat. She overheard him talking to her parents and mentioning possible amputation. Doug tells her that the doctor will go over all her options, but Dana just wants a straight answer.

He tells her that amputation may be her best option. Dana’s adamantly opposed to that, though her survival isn’t guaranteed either way. Doug says that if she were his daughter, he’d opt for amputation. Dana asks if the doctor amputates even if she says she doesn’t want that. He tells her they’ll go over all the facts and options before any decisions are made.

Carter calls the person who holds Emily’s power of attorney; he has more than 700 clients and hasn’t met any of them. Yet he’s allowed to make their medical decisions. Carter fills Mark in, trying to figure out what he should do. Mark reminds him that Emily has a DNR, so they need to let her go. Carter goes back to her trauma room and starts the steps to do so. When he takes her off the ventilator, she starts breathing on her own. Jerry goes out to check on Cherry Blossom, who hasn’t shown signs of the enema working yet. He helps get Cherry Blossom out of his trailer so he can walk around a little. As a result, he gets crapped on. Womp womp.

Weaver pulls Mark into the lounge to ask if he knew that Doug got the attending position. She’s annoyed that no one kept her in the loop. Mark tells her to accept it and move on. Weaver’s annoyed that Mark told her he didn’t support Doug getting the position, then celebrated when he got it. Mark says they have to live with the hospital’s decision. He thinks she’s really just mad that she hasn’t been made the permanent chief. She needs to decide if she wants to be a doctor or an administrator.

On her way out for the day, Lucy stops by to see Carter, who’s sitting with Emily. She’s now declining again, and Lucy’s surprised that Carter doesn’t do anything to save her. He tells her this is what Emily wanted, and she’s not suffering. As soon as she’s died, Carter starts signing the charts Lucy needs him to sign.

The Ellises are upset that Doug talked to Dana about her treatment. While he told her that amputation is her best chance at survival, he also offered some alternative treatments. Doug says he wants her accept that amputation might be what’s best for her, rather than being forced to comply with a treatment she doesn’t want. Mr. Ellis say it’s their decision, not Dana’s. He tells Doug to stay away from her. Doug says Dana needs to feel like her parents are on her side, not working against her.

Mark has changed his mind and wants to be on the search committee to find a new chief after all. Roxanne helps Carter hook up a new sound system in his room, then slow dances with him. And…that’s it? That’s the end? Whatever.

Thoughts: Clark is played by Dean Norris. Dana is played by Ashley Johnson. Mrs. Ellis is played by Ann Gillespie.

Benton with the bomb has to be his coolest moment in the whole series.

Do you think Carter and Benton ever talked about how they both like jazz? …Yeah, probably not.

3 Comments »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I couldn’t figure out for the life of me where I’d seen Dana’s mother before until I realized it was Kelly Taylor’s mother!

    This episode was personally interesting to me since I went through something similar to Emily’s case recently. My father was intubated even though he had a DNR, so that was awkward for everybody and the nurse I spoke to about it was pretty pissed that they’d been told otherwise by the care facility. It was nice for me to see Emily passing peacefully as I was told that was also how my father passed (though it wasn’t his cause of death, COVID-19 has made a lot of hospitalization things pretty messy). It was also nice to see Carter treating the situation with respect, and Lucy not being a total busybody and trying to resuscitate her. And that it affected Carter for awhile after. But what was the deal with the guy who had POA for 700 people?! Is that seriously a business?

    • Jenn said,

      I guess if you don’t have any family, you just write out your end-of-life wishes and let some impartial third party sign off on whatever needs to be done or not done. That seems so depressing.

      I’m so sorry about your father.

      • Nick Rivers said,

        Thank you so much for the condolences. I really appreciate it.

        I just looked it up, the POA thing, and the technical term is “professional fiduciary”. And honestly, the more I read about it, the less depressing it is, because in my googling to get to the point where I learned what the technical term is for a non-family POA, I had to wade through some posts about “my family member screamed at me for naming him my POA” and that sort of thing. So having an impartial non-family professional bonded expert actually doesn’t sound so bad after all!

        https://www.agingcare.com/articles/what-is-a-professional-fiduciary-153522.htm


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