December 1, 2020

ER 7.13, Thy Will Be Done: Calculated Risks

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

Burke took out Mark’s bedside manner when he took out the tumor

Summary: Mark goes in for a radiation treatment before a shift and chats with the tech, who he’s gotten friendly with. He just has eight days of treatment left. Down in the ER, paramedics bring in a clown who accidentally ingested a balloon while working at a birthday party. Dave is freaked out by clowns and asks Carter to take the case. First, though, Carter has to talk to a drug user who was told she could exchange a used needle for a clean one in the ER.

Carter was supposed to go out with someone, but his unnamed date cancels on him. Chuny and Randi aren’t willing to be substitutes. Carter checks in with another patient before going to a trauma room to treat the clown. He casually asks Abby what she’s doing that night. She’s free, so he asks her to a benefit at the history museum. His grandparents are hosting it, so he has to go, and he’d appreciate if Abby would do him the favor of accompanying him. If anything, she’ll get a free meal out of it. The clown starts declining, so Abby goes to the hallway to summon Weaver: “This clown is crashing!” Excellent.

Unfortunately, the clown doesn’t make it, but Abby takes pity on Carter and agrees to go to the benefit. After all, “no one should be alone after killing a clown.” Dave freaks out some more. Janice, the woman who was bugging Carter about the needles, finds Mark, who told her previously that they could give her clean needles. Haleh is surprised that Mark is okay with this.

Bishop Stewart comes to the ER looking for Luka; he was visiting patients at County and thought he would come see how his new pet project is doing. He’d also like another prescription for steroids. He can’t rearrange his schedule to see his regular doctor, who often goes too far in keeping on top of Stewart’s health. Luka won’t agree to the prescription without a full workup.

Mark examines a man named Mr. Ramirez who thinks he has strep. Mark tells him he has a cold, and he’s not going to get antibiotics. Ramirez insists on the antibiotics anyway. Abby calls Mark away to treat a woman who collapsed in her nursing home. He doesn’t see the point in trying to save her, since she hasn’t responded to any attempts yet and isn’t going to. He wishes the family hadn’t insisted on her being taken to the hospital – she could have died in her own bed.

Luka tells Abby about a singer she likes who’s performing at a hotel that night. She tells him she’s already agreed to go to the benefit with Carter. Luka doesn’t seem concerned that his girlfriend is going out with another guy. Haleh brings Stewart’s test results to Luka; they show that Stewart has some kidney problems.

Carter tells a patient, Jeff, that he has mono but will recover. Jeff asks questions about his blood test that indicate he’s familiar with blood counts for people with HIV. He tested negative five months ago but has had unprotected sex with an infected partner since then. Carter tells him to, you know, not do that anymore.

Luka tells Stewart that his blood sugar is way too high, and he may also have lupus. Stewart reveals that he does have it and is already on medication for it. Luka is upset that Stewart never said anything – the steroids he gave Stewart could have harmed him. Stewart thinks it was worth it because the steroids allow him to work. Luka argues that they raise his blood sugar, and he’s not going to be able to work very much if his diabetes gets worse. He wants to do a more extensive workup, but Stewart won’t stay.

Luka says Stewart owes him, since he left out info that could have led to Luka making him worse. Stewart is aware of the risks and his fate. He agrees to the workup after all, and while Luka is examining him, he asks about Luka’s religious practices. He doesn’t have a church in Chicago and doesn’t plan to find one. Stewart asks why he doesn’t attend anymore. “I don’t remember,” Luka lies.

Chuny pulls Luka away to tend to a teenager named Nick who has congestive heart failure. He had a heart transplant six years ago and may need another one. Nick tells Luka he doesn’t want a second transplant. Mark tries to stop Dave from giving a patient antibiotics for what he thinks is bronchitis but what Mark says could be the flu. The patient insisted on antibiotics, so Dave is just giving in. Dude, come on. You’re the one who went to medical school, not her.

Carter tries to hand Jeff off to Weaver as he wraps up his shift, but Weaver tells him to let Dave handle the case. Carter balks, saying the case is delicate and requires tact. Dave thinks he can be tactful. Carter and I both disagree. Luka asks Carter to suture a patient, then remembers that he’s leaving for the fundraiser. Carter tries to downplay the date-like nature of the situation, but Luka still doesn’t seem to care about him going with Abby.

Dave tries that whole tact thing when he meets Jeff and his partner, Sean. Jeff is HIV-negative, but he’s not happy about the news. It turns out that Jeff is trying to contract HIV. Dave tries very hard not to tell Jeff what an idiot he is. Sean wants him to run another test to try to detect the virus in Jeff’s system. Stewart is now experiencing some heart problems and could be at risk for a heart attack. Luka wants to admit him for observation, but Stewart won’t agree. He doesn’t want to die in a hospital. Even when Luka promises he won’t die today, Stewart refuses.

Nick’s parents arrive and Luka learns that Nick has actually had two heart transplants and is on the list for a third. He’s told his parents that he doesn’t want it, but they think that’s just his depression talking. He takes tons of medications and has had additional procedures, so it’s no wonder he doesn’t want more surgery. But since Nick is a minor, his parents get to make the decision.

Cleo has a patient with the flu who insists on antibiotics, so she goes to Mark for help talking sense into the woman. The woman thinks Mark is turning her down because she’s poor. Mark tries to explain antibiotic resistance to her, but she won’t listen. Mark takes her to the waiting room and takes a poll of the people there to find out who has flu-like symptoms. He tells them all that they won’t be getting antibiotics, so if they’re waiting around for them, they might want to leave. Cleo thinks he’s violating medical regulations, but Mark notes that he didn’t discharge anyone.

Romano confronts Mark over his new needle-exchange program, which is illegal. Mark says there’s a public health emergency, so it’s allowed. Romano asks how much of his brain was removed along with his tumor. Mark guesses that Romano doesn’t really care about the benefits of a needle-exchange program, which helps curb HIV and…he loses the word he’s looking for, hepatitis. Romano mocks him and tells him to shut down the exchange.

Abby gets ready for the benefit, which she doesn’t realize is super-formal until Carter comes to pick her up in a tux. She’s not sure she has an appropriate dress (or any dress at all), so he offers to take her shopping. Back at County, Luka tells Nick that his parents are talking to Elizabeth about surgery. Nick knows he’ll die without a transplant and is ready for that. The difficulties of living with his condition aren’t worth it.

Elizabeth tells Nick’s parents that he shouldn’t have to wait too long for a new heart. Luka thinks they should listen to his reasons for not wanting it. They’re not about to just sit by and let their son die, so they won’t even discuss the topic. Romano tells Weaver that Mark is acting out and causing trouble, not to mention losing words. Weaver says it’s a mild side effect of his treatments and is just temporary. Romano thinks his personality changes are something to be aware of.

Carter and Abby talk about dry flowers while she changes clothes. I don’t know. She’s found an old bridesmaid’s dress that’s pink and strapless and probably not right for a benefit, but it’s her best option. She and Carter take a limo to the benefit. Mark and Elizabeth discuss their wedding, which has been moved to 5:00 on their chosen day because of another booking. Mark struggles with his words again, and Elizabeth assures him that he’s getting better.

Nick’s heart is failing, and though Luka and Elizabeth are able to stabilize him, he doesn’t regain consciousness. Luka spots Stewart watching him through a window. Abby and Carter discuss Luka in the limo, then realize they don’t know what else to say to each other. He tells her the benefit won’t be a big deal; there won’t be that many people there. He’s definitely lying. He promises they can leave in half an hour if Abby wants.

Dave tells Jeff that, after a viral test, he’s officially HIV-negative. He asks if Sean is worth dying for. Jeff thinks he’ll get HIV sooner or later. When he uses a condom, he worries that Sean feels like he’s contaminated. He knows a lot of people who live with HIV, and it doesn’t seem that bad to him. Dave reminds him that, since he’s only 23, he has a good 50 or 60 years ahead of him, and those years will be a lot easier if he doesn’t have HIV. Jeff says Sean is the only person he has, so what does it matter? Dave tells him he has himself.

Carter introduces Abby to John I, who’s surprised that Carter didn’t bring his date from a previous event. Looks like Carter goes to a lot of these charity events. He invites Abby to dance, which makes her feel like she’s at prom. She went to hers with a guy whose friend she had a crush on. She went out to smoke with the friend, and they never went back inside. Luka, did you hear this story? Luka? Luka! Pay attention!

Stewart praises Luka for the way he was able to save Nick. He’s surprised that Nick doesn’t want a transplant that will save his life. Luka notes that Nick and Stewart are both refusing treatments that could save them. Stewart says he doesn’t want to die, but he can’t accept a treatment that will keep him from doing everything his job requires. He wishes he were as brave as Nick. Luka tells Stewart that he’s been brave enough. Stewart wanted to set a good example and continue doing God’s work as long as possible before going to Heaven. But sometimes he gets overwhelmed. He gets emotional and admits that he gets scared.

Dave keeps trying to help Jeff even as he’s leaving County with Sean. Jeff says he might start protecting himself, but he probably won’t. Haleh takes a radio call from a paramedic who’s with a man who had a heart attack at home. Mark doesn’t think the patient can be saved, so there’s no point in transporting him to the hospital. Since the man saw his cardiologist a few days ago, that doctor can sign the death certificate. Weaver overhears the end of Mark’s instructions, which are to pronounce the patient dead and say everything was done under a doctor’s supervision.

Abby spots a familiar face at the benefit – her ex-husband, Richard. He’s there with a woman named Alexis who is way younger than he is. He also recognizes Abby’s dress from his sister’s wedding. Stewart’s doctor, Frost, chastises Luka for prescribing Stewart steroids that could make his health conditions worse. Of course, Luka didn’t know about those health conditions at the time. Frost says Stewart is drug-seeking.

The paramedics called back while Mark was away from the radio, and they’re bringing in the patient Mark already pronounced dead. He refuses to let them unload the patient. Weaver overrides him and tells Cleo to work on him. Mark taunts Weaver as she makes them run through their normal procedures, which do nothing. Yes, it’s always a good idea to antagonize your boss when people are already complaining about your attitude.

Abby takes a smoke break in the limo, complaining to Carter about Alexis. They’re driving around the parking lot, looking for Richard’s car. Carter notes that they could have come in Alexis’ car, then makes a Lexus/Alexis joke that only he laughs at. Abby finds the car and lets the air out of a couple of tires. She slips and smacks into the car, setting off the alarm. She and Carter crack up and run back to their getaway limo.

Romano is taking over Nick’s care and is going to recommend that he have another transplant. Nick is now awake and on a respirator, and his eyes plead with Luka to stop that from happening. Luka tells Romano that Nick doesn’t want the surgery, but Romano agrees with the parents’ decision to pursue it. Teenagers don’t know anything about life anyway. Nick will thank them in a few years.

Weaver tries to talk to Mark about his behavioral changes, but he says he’s just being realistic about things. Weaver doesn’t think it’s safe for him to work in the ER while he’s having trouble with language. What if he forgets the name of a drug he needs for a patient who’s dying? Mark refuses to take time off. Frost is taking over Stewart’s care, but Stewart appreciates Luka’s care and attention. He asks if Nick should be able to choose whether he lives or dies. Luka says yes, and Stewart replies that he should get to make the same decision about whether he can work. Luka gives in and gives him the steroids.

Richard doesn’t appear to have roadside service, so he has to get his car towed. Abby’s gleeful that she ruined his evening. She thinks she ruined her and Carter’s night, too, but he had a good time. Definitely not having a good time: Weaver, who calls someone about evaluating a doctor who might be cognitively impaired.

Thoughts: Nick is played by Josh Peck.

I kind of want Mark to yell at anti-maskers now. And I want Jeanie to yell at Jeff.

Where is Legaspi to talk to all of these patients who clearly need psychiatric help?

’00s music alert: Lifehouse’s “Hanging By a Moment.” Wow, that song really was everywhere in the early 2000s.

1 Comment »

  1. Nick Rivers said,

    I thought Mark’s behavior in this one was pretty appalling. Clearly everyone else did too. Why was Weaver even giving him the option of taking some time off? Why not mandate it?

    Carter and Abby… ugh. I didn’t care for them together so I don’t like this flirty interlude. Of course he’s going to catch a look at her in her bra. But I like that Luka isn’t jealous and trusts her. For now, anyway.

    I thought Dr. Dave did a great job with this patient! I don’t know that Carter would have done much better with him.

    I’m a little surprised that Nick didn’t just tell his parents if he gets the heart transplant he’ll kill himself anyway so it will go to waste. That might have given them pause. Or increased the helicopter behavior. I know there’s no way they would have let him die if they had any way to control the outcome, but damn, listen to your kid’s struggles.


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