August 17, 2021

ER 9.6, One Can Only Hope: Nothing Personal

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

Somewhere, Millicent is freaking out about Carter being here

Summary: Elizabeth is talking to one of her patients, a man who has cancer she wasn’t able to remove in surgery. He probably won’t live more than a few more years. As Elizabeth flees the room before she gets too emotional, she overhears Romano on the phone, yelling at his insurance provider because they won’t let him have all the therapy he needs to get his arm where he wants it to be. They think he’s permanently disabled, though Romano argues that he’s not, since he’s still working.

After the insurance agent hangs up on him, Romano tells Elizabeth that Nathan has complained that she won’t put him on call. Romano agrees with Nathan that he should get a chance to show that he can do 36-hour shifts even with Parkinson’s. Elizabeth says it’s bad enough that Nathan has to treat patients. Romano accuses her of having something against doctors with disabilities. He doesn’t want trouble from the ACLU, so he tells Elizabeth to give Nathan what he wants (as long as he doesn’t kill anyone).

A teenager named Sara has been brought into the ER by a police officer after she was found unconscious on an El train. Abby helps Harkins examine her, then gets summoned to help with a trauma case. Jerry tells Abby that Weaver has scheduled a meeting with her and HR to talk about the nurses’ petition. Abby has no idea what he’s talking about.

Eric surprises Abby in the ER, having brought in his sick girlfriend, Jody. Eric rented a small plane for a few days, and the two have stopped in Chicago while on a long trip. He thinks Jody might have food poisoning. She throws up on Abby’s shoes, which is definitely a great way to make a memorable impression on your new boyfriend’s sister. Meanwhile, a man comes in with a gunshot wound. He objects to having an Asian doctor and Black nurse. Guess you should have gotten shot in an all-white community, man.

Abby asks Eric how he and Jody met. He says she works at a bookstore on his Air Force base. Abby asks if Jody’s in school, since she’s a lot younger than Eric. He says she’s “21, almost.” This is like how Rena was going to be 20 in September. Abby’s surprised that Eric is able to afford renting a plane so he and his girlfriend can go on vacation.

The racist patient asks for an American doctor. Elizabeth informs him that Chen is an American doctor. As Abby arrives to help, Harkins comes through, looking for a missing Sara. The racist patient makes more racist comments, which is a big mistake when your Asian doctor is holding a giant needle. He finally passes out, which makes everyone happy. Harkins bugs Abby to help her find Sara, but Abby has more important things going on right now, even if that thing is treating a racist.

Once that guy’s stable, Nathan brings Elizabeth next door to help Carter with a woman named Alison who collapsed in a crosswalk. Elizabeth finds signs that she’s had lung and liver surgery. Plus, she carries oxygen around with her. Elizabeth tells Nathan that if he has issues with his rotation, he needs to talk to her, not Romano, since Elizabeth is the one evaluating his work. Nathan notes that he did tell her his concerns.

Alison tells Carter that she has a genetic disorder that affects her liver and lungs. Nathan is obviously affected by dealing with a patient with a chronic disease. Carter wants to intubate Alison, but she objects. Nathan suggests a special mask that will help her breathe better instead.

Next door, Abby asks Haleh if she’s heard about a petition from the nurses. Haleh says they all signed it. Pratt comes in, annoyed that no one told him there was a patient with gunshot wounds. Chen gleefully calls him a trauma queen. Heh. Malik tells Abby that the petition has to do with Luka. The racist wakes up and complains that the doctors cut through his tattoo to insert a chest tube. He calls Chen a racial slur and threatens to cut her up, too. She’s shaken but tells Pratt she’s fine.

Nathan wants to help evaluate Alison to see if she’s eligible for a lung transplant. Elizabeth tells him to do chart work instead. “Can I go to the ball after that?” he asks. After Elizabeth leaves, Carter tells Nathan that she’s a good teacher. Uh, not today. Abby goes back to Jody, who tells her that Eric went outside to smoke. Abby’s surprised by that news.

She spots Luka and complains that because of him, she’s being “sent to the principal’s office.” The nurses are all mad at him because he’s been treating them poorly. Harkins still can’t find Sara, so Abby asks Jerry to help her. Jerry pretends he’s too busy to do that. Abby finally tells Harkins to call security. She goes outside to find Eric, but he’s not there. Susan tells Abby that he went down the street to buy her a lottery ticket. (There’s lots of comments sprinkled throughout the episode about the lottery, but don’t waste any energy thinking about it.)

Abby catches up to Eric and asks when he started smoking. She doesn’t think anyone picks up that habit once they pass the age of 25. She tells him Jody is doing better, and isn’t pregnant, which Abby suspected she might be. She wonders why Eric is acting so out of character. He says he’s just in love and having a good time. Suddenly a man starts yelling from the stairs to the nearest El platform. Abby sends Eric to get a gurney and goes to the stairs, where Sara is unconscious again. She starts having a seizure.

Carter checks on Alison, who isn’t able to take the medication that would most benefit her because she’s allergic to it. She has pneumonia for the fifth time that year and has stopped taking her anti-rejection medication. She tells Carter that she wants to sign a DNR. Nathan encourages her to try antibiotics, but Alison is tired of the suffering caused by her damaged organs. She’s ready to die.

Abby gets Sara back to the ER, where Elizabeth diagnoses her as being an idiot teenager who took drugs at a party. Carter asks for another witness in Alison’s room while she signs her DNR. Later, Eric and Jody make out in the ER, so I guess she’s feeling better. Carter’s amused, but Abby’s not sure this is exactly true love.

A police officer named Wetterling comes in with injuries to her hand from a broken car window. It sounds like she might have been responding to the shooting that brought in the racist guy, but we never get any follow-up on that case. Abby has to go to her meeting with Weaver and HR, so she passes Wetterling off to Nathan. Meanwhile, Alison’s father, Mr. DeLuca, arrives and tells Carter he can talk Alison into wanting to live. Carter advocates for his patient, respecting her wish to stop undergoing unhelpful treatments.

Nathan stitches up Wetterling as Elizabeth gives him tips to get around his limitations. Wetterling is new on the job and says it’s much different than she expected. Elizabeth thinks that in that case, she should look into other career options. Hint, hint, Nathan! Harkins comes to get Elizabeth to deal with Sara, and Nathan follows her out to ask if she thinks Wetterling has PTSD. Elizabeth tells him to call a social worker. Nathan thinks helping their patients in all aspects of their care is part of their job. Elizabeth reminds him that he’s on a surgical rotation and needs to act like a surgeon. Nathan shoots back that that means acting like he doesn’t care.

Thanks to some article she recently read, Harkins has realized that Sara took Special K (ketamine), which didn’t show up on her tox screen. That means she may not have taken drugs willingly. Upstairs, Abby joins Weaver, Romano, and Mary the nursing director (last seen years ago talking to Carol about various things) for the meeting about Luka. Abby thinks they’re making too big a deal about a bad hookup between Chuny and Luka. But all the ER nurses have signed a petition complaining about Luka – all the nurses except Abby.

Mary comments that Abby’s relationship with Luka must have ended much better than Chuny’s did. Romano wasn’t aware of these romantic relationships. “So it’s true – you’re all suckers for the accent,” he says. There’s a committee meeting in a few weeks that will determine whether Luka needs to be punished. Until then, they need to calm everyone down.

Nathan brings Alison flowers and keeps her company while her father takes a break. She says her dad is in denial about how bad her condition is. He still thinks there’s hope. Nathan says he does, too. Abby returns to the ER and tries to brush Eric off so she can talk to Luka before Weaver gets to him. She’s too late. Eric asks if he and Jody can stay with Abby while they’re in town, and she agrees. The conversation doesn’t end before Weaver finishes with Luka, who’s upset that Abby didn’t warn him.

Weaver asks Elizabeth to give Sara a rape exam, even though Elizabeth isn’t an ER attending. Weaver is shorthanded since Luka has just been suspended while his conduct is investigated. Abby’s apologetic, but she couldn’t go up against Mary. Luka’s annoyed that she didn’t warn him ahead of time. I’m guessing that’s why Weaver didn’t tell her about the meeting earlier.

Harkins does Sara’s rape exam, though Abby isn’t sure this is a good case for her to learn on. Since Sara’s unconscious, Elizabeth thinks it’s fine. Chuny comes by to announce that Sara’s father has arrived and to ask if she should let him in. What do you think, Chuny? Do you think he’d want to watch this? The exam reveals semen and a small tear, so Sara had some sort of sexual contact.

Elizabeth sees Nathan in with Alison and asks Carter if they’re dating now. Carter doesn’t think Nathan will be a good fit as a surgeon, but he does well with patients. Hey, same with Carter! Well, sometimes. Pratt chats with Chen, working his way up to asking her out for a drink. She flinches when there’s a crash nearby, and Pratt guesses that she’s still spooked after her encounter with the racist patient (and probably also her encounter with Mullen). She points out that they deal with unstable people all the time, so this is nothing new, but Pratt knows she’s shaken.

Abby and Haleh discuss a trauma coming in – a car ran into a bunch of people waiting in line to buy lottery tickets. Haleh says that the petition against Luka isn’t anything personal. She likes him fine. The nurses do stuff like this every couple years to send a message. Abby asks if Haleh even knows what happened. Haleh says it doesn’t matter. Another nurse asked for her support, so Haleh gave it. She’s been working there for 17 years. Doctors come and go, but nurses run the ER, even when they’re underpaid and underappreciated. She won’t let her co-workers get taken for granted.

Nathan tries to convince Alison not to give up, since she’s still able to use her brain, if not her body. Plus, if she holds out long enough, she could still be alive when someone finds a cure for her condition. As Elizabeth moves Alison to her own room, Alison tells Nathan that she often dreams about the ocean. She can’t swim up to the top and she can’t breathe. Nathan tells her that she keeps breathing when she’s awake because her body knows it’s not her time to die yet.

Sara’s awake, and the last thing she remembers is taking a train into the city with some friends. Elizabeth tells her that she may have been drugged. Sara’s father, Mr. Pasbalas, is in the room, so when she promises that she doesn’t do drugs, she might be lying. Before Elizabeth can tell Sara anything more, Mr. P. pulls her out of the room. He doesn’t want her to tell Sara that she may have been raped. Elizabeth notes that Sara could remember later. Mr. P. wants to protect her now, since he couldn’t protect her before.

Paramedics bring in one of the lottery victims, who has something stuck in his head that definitely shouldn’t be there. Eric calls from Abby’s place with a crucial question about where she keeps her blender. Yes, Eric, your milkshake is more important than this guy who probably needs brain surgery. Nathan comes in to tell Elizabeth that Alison doesn’t want to be discharged after all. She wants to talk to someone about a liver transplant.

Mr. DeLuca tells Carter that Nathan talked Alison into staying alive. Carter notes that Alison already signed a DNR. Also, she’s not a great candidate for a liver transplant. Once they’re alone, Carter chastises Nathan for changing Alison’s mind; keeping her alive long enough for a transplant (if she even qualifies) will take a lot of work. Nathan thinks it’s worth it if Alison gets to live.

Carter says that Alison’s reality is that she’s dying. Nathan replies that stem cells are also a reality, whether or not the government approves their usage. Alison has a genetic disorder, and stem cells could fix it at a genetic level. Carter thinks that’s decades away, but Nathan says it’s closer to five years. Carter argues that Alison faced her mortality and almost got her father to accept it. Nathan has now made her condition about himself. He’s given Alison false hope.

Nathan thinks Carter should have given Alison more of his time, like Nathan did. Carter wants Alison to be able to die with dignity. Nathan starts to outline how stem cells can help, but Carter stops him, since he already knows the issues. Alison doesn’t care about the politics surrounding stem cells. Nathan exclaims that the politics are what’s killing her. Stem cells could cure all sorts of diseases and disorders, including Parkinson’s. Carter would love to believe in a miracle like that, but right now, Alison’s dying. He wants her to be able to do that well. Nathan notes that she’s only 26; no one dies “well” at that age. Carter is just giving up.

Carter takes the problem to Elizabeth, who says that if Nathan was able to change Alison’s mind so easily, she wasn’t ready to sign a DNR. Carter argues that Nathan is giving her a distorted reality. He hopes Nathan is right about scientific developments, but they won’t help Alison. He wants Elizabeth to supervise her student more closely.

As various people watch the lottery draw in the ER, Carter flirts with Abby in the lounge before they leave to meet Eric and Jody for dinner. Abby wishes she could have some time alone with her brother. She confides that she thinks Eric is acting strange. He’s spontaneous and flighty and a little too happy. Carter asks if Abby might be a little sensitive to the signs of bipolar disorder because of her experiences with her mother. Yeah, but since bipolar disorder can be genetic, maybe she should be sensitive to it.

Chen and Pratt end the day at his place, making out. Before they can get too naked, Leon bursts in, excited because he won some money in the lottery. Chen decides not to stick around. Back at County, Weaver tells Abby that Luka agreed to get counseling. If he goes through with it, Weaver wants him back on the schedule as quickly as possible. She also thinks Abby should have been more on top of the situation. Abby points out that she didn’t agree to become nurse manager.

Elizabeth has agreed to what Mr. P. wants and is going to send Sara home without telling her she may have been raped. Because she’s a minor, they have to honor Mr. P.’s wishes. Speaking of honoring people’s wishes, Elizabeth is putting Nathan on call the next night. That means a 32-hour shift.

She goes to finish up with Sara, deciding at the last minute to tell her that she may have been raped. Mr. P. has the right to protect her, but Elizabeth thinks Sara deserves to know what happened. Sara’s upset that she was examined without her consent. She wasn’t raped – the sex was all consensual. So was the drug use. Special K makes sex more fun. She does this every weekend. Yeah, sometimes she has seizures, but the people she hangs out with usually have medications to stop them. Also, all the guys say she’s the best.

Abby and Eric reminisce about their high school shenanigans while out on their double date. Eric reveals that he’s on extended leave and is going to interview for a job at O’Hare. He’s looking at options for after he leaves the Air Force. They’re at some outdoor restaurant with line dancing, and Eric gets Abby to dance with him by threatening to tell Carter about one of her exes. Jody manages to talk Carter into dancing, too, because no one can resist the charms of the Chicks’ music.

On her way home, Elizabeth encounters Nathan on an El platform. They chat about Alison, who was approved to be put on the list for a liver transplant. Elizabeth says it’s nice to know that you’ve had a positive effect on someone’s life. She hopes Alison will stay alive long enough to get a transplant. Nathan’s struggling with some dyskinesia, and when the train arrives, he’s unable to get up from the bench he’s sitting on. Elizabeth offers to wait with him for the next train, but he tells her to head home. She’s sure he’ll make it to his shift the next night.

Thoughts: Jody is played by Lake Bell in her very first TV appearance.

I get that Nathan is unhappy with Elizabeth, but freaking A, don’t talk to your superior like that! Especially a superior in charge of grading you! This is the equivalent of calling Chen a racial slur while she’s holding a big needle.

Why does Luka get suspended for being a jerk but Romano never faces any consequences for being a jerk AND being racist and sexist? Though I guess if he got suspended every time he offended someone, he’d never be able to work.

If Pratt could think a little more before he speaks, he would be great for Chen. I think he really does care about her beyond just getting laid.

’00s music alert: the Chicks’ “Long Time Gone.”

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