September 15, 2020

ER 7.2, Sand and Water: Law and Disorder

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

This is her happy face, apparently

Summary: Elizabeth is having a bad morning: She had to run out of Mark’s apartment in her robe, her hair still wet from the shower, to try to stop a traffic cop from writing her a ticket. She’s upset that Mark’s building doesn’t have guest parking, and she refuses to take his spot, because it’s much more fun to complain. Also, he drank all the milk and put the empty carton back in the fridge. Mark should probably stop joking around; she’s not in the mood.

He offers to pay the ticket, since he paid the others. Elizabeth can’t believe he never mentioned that she’s gotten tickets before. She tells him she’s not staying there anymore. It’s not just the parking – things leak, and there are things scurrying around in the walls. Does Mark know what kind of creatures scurry around in walls? “Bunnies?” Mark suggests. To cap it all off, Elizabeth’s hair dryer blows out the electricity. Womp womp.

Carter attends an AA meeting and is surprised to see a familiar face: Abby. Later, he returns to the hospital for the first time since rehab and congratulates Benton on being made an attending. Reese is with Benton, and he’s as cute as ever, as well as bigger. Mark and Weaver discuss whether Carter’s really ready to come back to work, especially since County is where he started using. Weaver is ready to throw him back into ER work, but Mark thinks it’s a bad idea.

A woman named Regina comes to the ER yelling about being in labor at 22 weeks pregnant. Chen thinks it’s false labor, but the contractions are coming every three minutes. Abby’s also dealing with a pregnant patient; now that she has to wait to continue her med-school training, she’s working as an OB nurse again. She gets called to the ER to help with Regina.

Luka examines a woman named Glenda who’s been receiving 24-hour home care after a stroke. He tells the woman who brought her in, Judy, that Glenda might not be able to make her own medical decisions anymore. Abby joins Chen to try to help stop Regina’s labor, but they quickly realize that they may have to deliver the baby.

Carter looks over all the terms of his reemployment, like submitting to random drug tests and attending 90 AA or NA meetings in the first 90 days of his return. He, Mark, and Weaver will meet regularly to make sure he’s handling things well. Carter also has to take a medication that would block the effects of narcotics if he were to use them. They ask him to take the first dose in front of them. Carter smarmily shows them his empty mouth after he takes it, then apologizes. Mark accepts that things will be tough in the beginning.

Regina’s husband, Joseph, joins her in the ER as Chen and Abby realize that the medication they’ve been giving her for the baby is harming her. They need to deliver right away. Mark and Weaver arrive in time to help, which is good because Chen can’t handle it and has to run out of the trauma room.

When Weaver checks on her later, she’s sympathetic to Chen’s difficulty with the case but tells her she needs to keep taking care of Regina. She’s being considered for chief resident next year, so she needs to show that she’s a good leader. Chen announces that she’s pregnant – 22 weeks along, just like Regina. She’s worried about how her parents will react to the news. Weaver tells her to take the rest of the day off.

Cleo wants to pass off Mr. Fletcher (the patient who teased Benton about Cleo acting like his wife in the last episode) to Benton, but he resists, since the guy’s a jerk. Yeah, well, him yelling into your stethoscope is nothing compared to him groping Cleo, so I have to side with her here – Benton should take him.

Regina is still in the trauma room, holding the baby, who’s not going to survive (and apparently they’re not going to bother to do anything to keep him alive). She tells Abby that her husband is looking for a priest to baptize the baby. The couple tried for a baby for years before they gave up, then unexpectedly got pregnant. Regina thinks he looks perfect, just a little small. She thinks he could survive – maybe he’s a miracle. Abby doesn’t want to have to tell her that she’s wrong.

Judy asks Luka about Glenda’s condition, but Luka isn’t sure he should discuss it with someone who’s not a family member. He thought Judy was Glenda’s nurse, but she’s actually Glenda’s partner. Mark asks Elizabeth to move up their scheduled Friday date to that night, since he has a surprise planned.

Luka tells Judy that Glenda most likely won’t recover from this latest stroke. Weaver joins the case and asks Judy if Glenda has a DNR. Judy doesn’t know, but she doesn’t think Glenda would want to be kept alive if she has no quality of life. Weaver tells her that without instructions from a family member or someone with Glenda’s power of attorney, they have to keep her alive. Judy can’t make medical decisions for Glenda since they’re not legally married.

There are no priests available, so Abby tells Randi to start calling parishes around the city to find one. Can’t Luka just fake it again? A woman named Maureen comes from the financial department to tell Benton that he can’t admit Fletcher to County. He sold his Medicare to a bankrupt HMO and has run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in dialysis charges. Romano won’t allow him to be admitted after he’s stabilized in the ER. Benton won’t accept her instructions for treating a patient since she’s not a doctor. She tells him to take it up with Romano.

Joseph laments to Abby that Regina was super-prepared and diligent in her pregnancy. She spots a neonatologist and a group of med students in with the baby. She blasts the neonatologist for using the baby as a show-and-tell exhibit. He argues that he’s supposed to examine every baby born with genetic anomalies. Abby tells him that the baby’s father is outside the room and believes the group is doing something to save the baby. The neonatologist tells Abby to transfer the baby to the OB floor, but Abby insists on letting him stay in the ER. Dave complains about needing the room, but Abby’s not going to listen to him, either.

Benton brings Fletcher’s case to Romano, who tells him to push back against the financial department for not admitting him. When Benton mentions that they’re following Romano’s orders, Romano reviews the chart and agrees with…well, himself. Fletcher has been treated numerous times before and doesn’t have an emergency, so they should discharge him. Benton tells him that’s a violation of EMTALA, the law regarding emergency treatment.

Romano goes to examine Fletcher himself and asks why he skipped his last dialysis appointment, which led to his condition. Fletcher doesn’t like Romano, as if anyone does. Romano tells Benton to send Fletcher away. He knew the consequences of skipping his appointment, and he’s abusing the system. Romano gives Benton money to buy Fletcher a bus ticket to Wisconsin so he can bug the doctors there instead.

Judy tries to get in touch with Glenda’s brother, who lives out of town, so he can make medical decisions for her. Once Luka learns that the couple has been together for 27 years, he says that’s enough to qualify Judy as someone who can make decisions for her partner. Weaver thinks they can stabilize Glenda; without a next of kin, they’re required to save her. Luka thinks Judy should be considered Glenda’s next of kin. Weaver admits that she agrees, but they have to follow the law. Luka tells her to manage the case herself, if that’s what she’s going to decide.

Regina and Joseph decide to give the baby the name they’d already decided on, Julian. Joseph asks how much longer he’ll live. Abby isn’t sure; it could be minutes or hours. Joseph wants to take him outside so he doesn’t have to die in the hospital. Regina reminds him that they’re waiting for a priest. Coburn pulls Abby out of the room to chastise her for not coming back to her patient in OB. She needs to be on the OB floor, not the ER. Mark steps in and says he asked Abby to stay. Coburn has to back down.

Benton tries to sneak Fletcher into an OR, but Romano has warned Shirley that Benton would try this and barred her from allowing it. Romano spots them from the OR where he’s operating and wags his finger at Benton. Abby finally gets hold of a priest five hours after Julian’s birth. She tells Luka that Regina might be right about the baby being a miracle. Luka says that in ten years or so, medicine will have progressed enough for babies like Julian to be saved. Abby wants to try more to help him, but Luka tells her that his time is almost over. All they can do is make that time good.

Weaver gives Glenda some breathing support, then talks with Judy about Glenda’s relationship with her brother. They disagreed about how to take care of their father when he was hospitalized with cancer. After Glenda’s first stroke, she asked Judy to make sure she didn’t die like her father, hooked up to machines. Weaver says they’ll do everything they can to reach Glenda’s brother. Judy replies that he doesn’t know Glenda like she does. Judy doesn’t want to lose Glenda, but she knows what Glenda wants.

Julian has stopped breathing, but just as Luka is about to allow Abby to declare his time of death, he starts breathing again. Weaver finally reaches Glenda’s brother on the phone and tries to get him to understand that there’s very little chance that Glenda will recover. She invites him to talk to Judy about Glenda’s wishes, but he’d rather keep his sister alive (the sister he hasn’t spoken to in years, by the way).

Romano asks Dave if he’s seen an investigator he’s heard is snooping around to look into the hospital’s Medicare compliance. Said investigator, Sandy, is questioning Fletcher about his day at County. Romano swoops in and pretends they were just about to take Fletcher up for surgery. Sandy says there was an anonymous tip that Romano was violating EMTALA and kicking Fletcher out. She tells Romano she’ll be auditing every patient he’s had transferred out of County in the past month. Benton tries to explain himself, but Romano tells him to hush. I hope Benton’s already spent the money Romano gave him for Fletcher’s bus ticket.

Mark takes Elizabeth to her surprise – a house. She loves it. He urges her to check out the fridge, since she’s complained that his doesn’t keep things cold enough. He tells her to check out the special feature in the ice-maker. Elizabeth opens the freezer, then immediately closes it. Inside is an engagement ring. Mark proposes and she accepts.

Over a music montage set to Beth Nielsen Chapman’s “Sand and Water” (gotta get that episode title in the episode somehow), a priest baptizes Julian on the roof of the hospital while Weaver reluctantly puts Glenda on the machines she didn’t want to be put on. Between the dead baby, the lesbian couple without legal rights, and Romano’s general jerkiness, this isn’t a cheery episode.

After watching the baptism, Abby goes to Doc Magoo’s and runs into Carter. She tells him about her ex’s failure to pay her tuition, which landed her back in nursing. He invites her to sit with him, wanting to make up for being a jerk to her when she turned him in to Mark. He now knows that by telling Mark that Carter was using drugs, she might have saved him. They share a cigarette as Abby tells him about her horrible day looking after a dying baby.

She asks if Carter is curious about why she was at the AA meeting that morning. Carter says he was going to be patient until she shared at a future meeting. Abby says she’s an alcoholic and has been sober for five years. Carter asks her to be his sponsor, which she thinks is a ridiculous idea. She’s barely keeping her own life together right now. Carter would like to have a sponsor he knows through work, even though men and women aren’t supposed to sponsor each other. Abby eventually agrees to work the steps with him until he finds a permanent sponsor. Her first instruction as his mentor is that he has to eat a hot fudge sundae with her.

Thoughts: I’m impressed that Chen got to 22 weeks without anyone realizing she was pregnant.

The robot baby in this episode is so creepy. It looks like something out of The X-Files.

Oh, good, we’ve reached the part of the series where Elizabeth becomes really annoying for no apparent reason.

Mark and Elizabeth’s engagement feels fast, even though they’ve been together for more than a year. We don’t see them in a lot of romantic scenes, so it’s hard to think of them as a couple ready to take this step. Maybe what I’m really saying is that there’s no chemistry there, so it doesn’t feel like they’re a couple at all.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    That Beth Nielsen Chapman song is such a tearjerker for me. Perfect usage of it too.

    Carter’s attitude about his recovery is pretty obnoxious. They didn’t have to facilitate his return to work at all and could have let legal handle it somehow. He’s acting very spoiled in these episodes and if he truly felt like the hospital was somehow responsible for his addiction problems due to their lax security, he should have tried to sue them for the injury in the first place.

    Agreed on Mark and Elizabeth lacking chemistry! From a cerebral standpoint I completely get why they’re together and they make sense, but there’s no passion there.

    Abby looks great with the short choppy hairstyle.

    What was Benton thinking, going against Romano over a guy who clearly doesn’t care about his own health anyway? Mr. Fletcher is definitely not the hill he should have died on. There wasn’t anything wrong with Romano’s logic in this case because clearly Mr. Fletcher isn’t interested in maintaining his health, so why should County continue to subsidize his demise?

    The Judy/Glenda storyline was progressive for its time. I can’t believe it still took another 15ish years for gay marriage to become legalized. Though it was a good reminder that everybody should have an Advanced Directive regardless of their orientation.

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