December 15, 2020

ER 7.15, The Crossing: Unburdened

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:06 pm by Jenn

No matter how you feel about Benton, this is impressive

Summary: Luka is broodily examining a patient as Weaver chats with Legaspi. They’ve just wrapped up a mass trauma, treating 37 people and only losing two. Weaver is pleased with Luka’s work and thinks things have quieted down enough for him to go home. Things go slow-motion as he leaves, then comes back in, telling Abby he wants to check on Bishop Stewart. He says he’s fine, but there’s clearly something distracting him. He goes to the ICU to see Stewart, who’s having trouble breathing. Luka tells him he’ll need to be intubated soon. Stewart is ready to die and doesn’t want any extreme treatments.

Seven hours earlier, Abby is dealing with a difficult patient in the ER as Mark wraps up a shift. Randi complains about the lack of sunlight and asks if the groundhog saw its shadow. Carter says the two things aren’t connected. Mark tells Carter to let Weaver know that he’s finishing his competency testing, which he keeps making jokes about, like, you’re facing literal life-or-death situations every day. Maybe take this seriously.

Malik introduces Carter to Rena Trujillo, a pediatric intern who’s helped to calm down an anxious child. Up in the OR, William is observing Benton, who’s become something like a mentor to him. William doesn’t know how he’ll answer the question of why he wants to be a doctor at his med-school interview the next day. He admits that he always thought it would be cool. Shirley tells Benton that as soon as he’s done with this surgery, he needs to go to the ER to help with a mass trauma.

Carter chats/flirts with Rena after they’re done with their patient. She asks him to sign a time sheet for her so she can collect hours for her internship. Abby grabs Carter for the mass trauma, which we finally learn is a train derailment. Carter and Luka are being sent to the site, leaving Chen behind as the highest-ranking doctor on call. Randi turns on the news and sees the full extent of the disaster.

Luka and Carter arrive at the crash site, and the incident commander, a firefighter named Davis, tells them the crash was caused by a stalled car on the train tracks. Their first priority is helping another firefighter whose legs are stuck under the train. Luka tells Carter to deal with that while he triages others. The trapped firefighter, Lorcan, apologizes to Davis for jumping into an unsafe situation, as if that’s his biggest problem right now. Carter urges Davis to get his crew working to lift the train ASAP.

Luka goes to the driver of the car that stalled on the tracks, Shannon. She doesn’t seem to be injured too badly. Carter thinks Lorcan will need to have his legs amputated before the train can be moved, which means he needs a surgeon in the field. Luka crosses the crash site and takes in all the destruction and injured passengers. He has a flashback of the aftermath of a similar disastrous experience.

Inside the train, Luka finds a woman who can’t find her son. She’s been impaled by something and can’t move her legs, but she’s more worried about her son. Luka goes looking for the boy, Myles, climbing up to the roof of the train so he can get access to the car Myles might be in. He finds the boy under a bunch of debris and has another flashback.

Elizabeth comes to the scene and gets an update on Lorcan’s condition. She slips and falls on the ground but keeps going. Davis asks Lorcan if he should call Patty, Lorcan’s ex-wife. The divorce just went through, and the firefighters were going to go out and celebrate after their shift. Lorcan just wants to do whatever needs to be done so he can get untrapped. Back inside, Luka and a firefighter free Myles from the debris.

Weaver arrives at County to help everyone prepare for all the patients coming in. Benton tells William to keep shadowing him and ask any questions he has, but stay out of the way. Dave brings in the first patient and Benton starts working and teaching at the same time. William gets yelled at by Haleh, which I think is a rite of passage in the ER.

Carter triages more patients on the scene as the firefighters work on moving the train. Elizabeth says that she thinks her slip-and-fall earlier strained her back. Davis wants a stop to the effort in case the train shifts the wrong way and puts more weight on Lorcan. Elizabeth realizes that Lorcan’s vitals indicate he won’t live long enough to be freed from under the train. She needs to amputate both his legs. Lorcan is understandably resistant to this idea, but if it’s this or bleed to death, he doesn’t have a choice. Good thing Elizabeth has a former surgical intern to assist her.

Mark continues joking through his last competence tests. Dude, shut up. Also, the test, which involves matching arrows of different orientations and colors, looks tricky, so maybe concentrate instead of yapping. Your career is on the line. Elizabeth and Carter do the best they can in their makeshift OR as Lorcan decides he wants Davis to call Patty after all. Elizabeth starts feeling pain and tries to work through it.

Luka runs around the crash site, helping as many people as he can. He decides to ride to the hospital with Myles and lets Carter know that Myles’ mother still needs help. Carter tells him that Elizabeth is having contractions, but she says she can keep operating if she gets connected to a fetal monitor. The paramedics don’t have one, so Luka makes some quick decisions: Carter will continue the amputation while Elizabeth goes to the hospital with Myles.

Shannon is now in an ER trauma room, next door to a train passenger. Benton leaves Dave to tend to the passenger alone so he can help with other patients. William is still observing everything, probably happy that he doesn’t have to deal with things like LOSING A PIECE OF BONE FROM HIS LEG. I didn’t need to see that, show. Chuny tells Benton that Carter is on the radio looking for guidance in Lorcan’s amputation.

Myles goes into respiratory distress just before he can be loaded into a medevac helicopter. Elizabeth doesn’t want to delay the trip to the hospital, so she tells the pilot to fly while she intubates Myles. Meanwhile, Benton tries to give Carter instructions for the amputation, but all the noise at the scene and the helicopters overhead make it impossible for Carter to hear him.

Abby meets Elizabeth and Myles at the hospital and sends Myles off with paramedics while she tends to Elizabeth (good idea, since Abby was an OB nurse). Elizabeth admits that she hasn’t felt the baby move for a while. Back at the crash site, Myles’ mother is finally being transported to the hospital. She tells Luka to make sure Myles is taken care of in case she doesn’t make it to the hospital alive.

Carter and Benton clear up their communication issues and Benton talks Carter through the amputation until Weaver calls Benton away to help someone else. Benton tells Carter to call him on his cell so he can work away from the radio, but Carter doesn’t have his phone with him, and Davis and Pam the paramedic don’t have phones, either. (This was 2000, before everyone had a phone with them 24/7.)

Chen examines Elizabeth and assures her that her early labor can be stopped. Benton moves Myles into a trauma room just as Dave is finishing up declaring his patient dead. Now Benton has access to a phone, so he’s able to go back to helping Carter. Davis tells Lorcan that Patty will meet him at the hospital, but now Lorcan doesn’t want her to see him in this condition.

Benton might be a genius, as he’s able to keep talking Carter through a procedure he himself can’t see while drilling a hole in Myles’ skull (and accidentally splattering William with blood). Benton realizes he needs to do a more extensive procedure on Myles, which will need his full attention. He gives Carter some final instructions, which Carter will need to follow while Lorcan thrashes around with only Davis to try to calm him.

Myles’ mother has declined by the time she reaches County, and Luka has to shock her in the ambulance bay. Mark arrives to be with Elizabeth, who’s still having contractions, though the baby isn’t in distress. Myles is stabilizing, so Benton gets back on the phone with Carter, who’s almost done with Lorcan. Chuny calls Weaver away to talk to Shannon while Benton takes Myles to the OR. William is left alone in the trauma room, holding the phone, while Carter yells for Benton. “Good luck,” William tells him before hanging up.

Luka and Benton both have patients who need surgery, and unlike the last time they worked a trauma together, they’re both willing to let the other’s patient go first. Luka thinks Myles should be the priority and lets Benton go first. Shannon asks Weaver about some of the patients she saw in the ER and whether they’ll survive. She doesn’t want to call her parents because she doesn’t think they would understand. “I thought it would be painless,” she says. “The train would hit my car… I’d just be gone.”

Lorcan is finally transported from the train site, minus his legs. There’s no surgeon available to finish up Carter’s work, but he’s stable. Romano arrives, wearing a gi, and criticizes Carter’s field amputation. Weaver defends Carter, pointing out that Romano didn’t answer his page and come do the amputation himself. Romano says he can’t wear his pager in the dojo. Does anyone find this entertaining? Anyone? Yeah, I didn’t think so. After some more crabbing, Weaver tells Carter that he did great, and Lorcan was lucky he was there.

Weaver has summoned Legaspi to the ER to talk to Shannon. Legaspi asks when Weaver will be off work and says to feel free to wake her when Weaver gets home. I guess Weaver is okay with the “lesbian lifestyle” after all. We’re back to the first scene of the episode, but before Luka goes to see Stewart, we get more: Randi tells Luka that Myles is okay and his mother has feeling in her legs again.

William meets up with Benton after being put to work by some nurses who thought he was a volunteer. Benton thinks he can talk about this experience in his interview, but William is no longer sure he wants to go to med school. Everything he saw tonight was traumatic. Benton tells him he’ll get used to it, but William doesn’t want to get used to seeing these sorts of things. At least now he knows before he puts in all the work (and money) training for a job he doesn’t really want. Benton urges him to go to the interview anyway; he should keep his options open.

Elizabeth’s contractions have stopped and the baby is okay, but she’ll need to go on bed rest for a little while. Abby tells her she just needs to slow down. This is where Abby catches up with Luka before he goes to see Stewart. In the ICU, Stewart asks Luka how long he has. Luka says just a few hours. Stewart thinks Luka came to give confession. He says Luka believes he’s lost his faith, but it’s never left him.

Stewart blesses Luka and invites him to unburden his heart. He’ll take Luka’s burden with him when he dies. Luka admits to him for the first time that he lost his family. His wife, Danijela, wanted to move someplace safer, but Luka was still finishing his internship. He went out one day to get some supplies, leaving his family at home. He was on the street outside the building when a mortal shell hit it. Luka ran inside, passing by his injured neighbors to try to get to his family.

He has more extensive flashbacks of his memories from earlier as he tells Stewart the story. Danijela told him to find their son, Marko, who was under debris like Myles was. Luka started to take their daughter, Jasna, off for help, but he realized that Danijela was bleeding to death. When Luka turned to help her, Jasna stopped breathing. Luka tried to save both of them, praying that someone would come to help him. If he had taken Danijela to the hospital, she could have been saved, but Luka couldn’t leave Jasna. He prayed for help but no one came.

Luka tried to hours to revive Jasna, only stopping because he exhausted himself. In the end, his whole family died. Stewart acknowledges that he couldn’t bring himself to sacrifice one family member to save another. If he had, he would always feel guilty. Stewart says the mysteries of life and death make up our faith. They’re “gifts of love and life,” as is Luka, so he shouldn’t turn his back on them. Stewart finishes the ritual, telling Luka he’s forgiven of his sins and should find peace. Luka stays by Stewart’s bed all night, and in the morning, the bishop is dead.

Thoughts: Lorcan is played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Rena is played by Lourdes Benedicto.

Isn’t Carter still on probation? Chen should have gone to the crash site. Actually, no – Benton should have gone, and then he and Luka could have a redo of “May Day.”

When Benton gets on the radio with Carter, he asks what Carter’s doing in a tone of voice that makes it seem like he thinks Carter got bored and started cutting off someone’s legs. Maybe Carter should have explained up front that he was just finishing an actual qualified surgeon’s work.

December 8, 2020

ER 7.14, A Walk in the Woods: Snow Doubt

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

Here comes the brooding

Summary: It’s 5:45 in the morning and Benton wants Cleo to wake up and see the snow outside. Also, he wants to have sex. Mark and Elizabeth are also awake early, since the baby has started kicking. Elizabeth keeps thinking about the movie Alien. Mark calls the baby Amanda, which is an…interesting choice. His choice for a boy is Matthew, after his grandfather. Not David, after his father? They mention that this is the last day, but don’t specify what that means.

Weaver has spent the night at Legaspi’s again, and Legaspi is ready to give her closet space for some of her things. That was quick. Luka and Abby are in bed together (is everyone in Chicago awake this early?), and she asks him what he’s thinking about. Luka’s thinking about Bishop Stewart, which Abby notes is a strange topic to have in mind while you’re having sex. She suddenly asks his wife’s name. Speaking of strange topics to have in mind while you’re having sex…

A little later in the morning, everyone’s at work, doing various things like treating patients and having big meetings to discuss whether Mark should be working in the ER. Chen returns from her eight weeks of maternity leave and jumps right back into work. She and Abby tend to a preschooler named Zack who had a seizure at school. Abby breaks off to help one of Stewart’s priests get him out of his car. She rejoins Chen and suggests that they give Zack a spinal tap. Chen doesn’t think they’ve reached that point yet.

Benton has set up shop in a small office/supply room with a blinking light so he can fulfill his new duties as the director of diversity. He’ll be interviewing med-school applicants. Romano asks him to deal with an applicant named William who has come to County to complain about not being asked back for an interview. Back in the ER, Zack hasn’t regained consciousness, and Abby insists that they give him a spinal tap. Chen finally agrees and gets Carter to back up her decision (I think because they don’t have parental consent yet).

Luka examines Stewart, who may have pneumonia. His lupus could lead to complications, but pneumonia could also cause problems with his lupus. Luka wonders why he came to the hospital instead of calling his own doctor. Stewart just says he prefers Luka’s care. Chen does Zack’s spinal tap, which is clear, but Carter notices a rash developing on his face. He realizes that Zack might have measles. Chen doubts that, since no one gets measles anymore. When Zack’s mother, Mrs. Woodman, arrives, she reports that her kids haven’t been vaccinated.

We’ve finally found someone Frank gives the proper amount of respect to: Elizabeth. She yells at him about missing films and he calls her “ma’am.” Somewhere, Weaver is jealous. It turns out the “last day” Mark and Elizabeth were talking about was his last day of radiation treatment. It ended anticlimactically. Dave congratulates him and asks if he got to keep the tumor after it was removed. Mark says he didn’t really want to keep it. A doctor named Wilson introduces himself to Mark and reveals that he’s been asked to evaluate his competency. Fun day!

Carter and Chen bring Cleo into Zack’s case, and she tells them to do what we’ve all become familiar with these past few months: contact tracing. They’ve put Zack in a room with a special ventilation system so he doesn’t get anyone else sick. Carter tells the teacher who came in with Zack that she needs to inform the school about his condition so all the other kids can get tested. Mrs. W.’s husband is bringing in their daughter to get tested.

Mrs. W. says she’s not irresponsible; she just believed anti-vaccine literature over doctors’ expertise. Zack starts to decline, so Carter goes back to help Chen and Abby stabilize him. They have to intubate him so he can breathe. Chen wants to to the intubation, but Carter doesn’t think she should do it on her first day back.

The priest, Joe, tells Luka that Stewart was on his way to the ordination of a man who was in Stewart’s parish as a child. Luka’s annoyed that Stewart thinks he’s well enough to leave the hospital right now. Stewart says he’ll come back in a few hours, after he performs the ordination. Luka tells him he won’t live that long if he leaves the hospital. Stewart tells him it’s in God’s hands. “God could give a damn,” Luka replies. Stewart still plans to leave.

Weaver runs into Legaspi, who’s chatting with a friend named Christy. Christy has heard all about Weaver and wants to get to know her. Legaspi suggests that they have dinner, but Weaver is hesitant. Dave comes by as Legaspi and Christy are leaving and asks Weaver if Christy is Legaspi’s girlfriend; he’s heard that Legaspi is gay. Weaver lies that she doesn’t know.

Mark confronts Weaver for having his competency evaluated. Wilson is going to interview a bunch of staff members, and he could end up pulling Mark’s license. Weaver tells him he’s being melodramatic, as if it’s bad for him to be so concerned about losing his job. Then again, she’s justified in being concerned since his behavior has changed. Mark says he wouldn’t have come back to work if he couldn’t do the job. Weaver tells him she’s not the only person who’s been concerned. This is about patient safety.

Cleo complains to Carter that rich people think only poor kids need to be immunized. If everyone stops getting vaccinations, we’ll see a resurgence of diseases like measles and polio, and suddenly the rich people will be clamoring for vaccines. Or they’ll just deny that anything bad can ever happen to their children and/or claim that the cure is worse than the disease and/or be more afraid of their children developing autism (which has not been definitively linked to any vaccine, no matter what Jenny McCarthy says) than dying of a preventable disease. Or maybe I’m editorializing. Carter and Cleo learn that no one told the paramedics who brought Zack in about his measles, so they’re still using their ambulance.

Luka broodily watches from a window as Joe takes Stewart to the ordination. Benton goes to the university’s records room and looks up William’s application. The employee he talks to (who’s Black) recognizes him as the new director of diversity and mentions that her son wouldn’t have his job with Morgan Stanley without affirmative action. Benton asks her for files from past applicants who were accepted, so he can compare them to William’s file. He also takes a look at his own application.

Abby finds Luka brooding, this time outside, and encourages him to take Stewart oxygen and check on him at the ordination. Luka is willing to let him handle his condition himself, since Stewart knew what he was doing. Cleo brings Benton lunch and he tells her about his investigation. He found his file with three others marked AA – affirmative action. His grades and MCAT scores were good, but not compared to other applicants that year. William’s grades and scores are even better than Benton’s, and he didn’t get an interview.

Luka has taken Abby’s advice after all and is at the church where the ordination is taking place. Stewart is in bad shape and probably wouldn’t make it through the service, no matter how badly he wants to. He knows he’s dying, but he wants to stay. He tells Luka about the night he decided to become a priest, after years of thinking about it. He went for a walk in the snowy woods behind his father’s house and got lost. Stewart was scared, but when he looked up at the falling snow, he felt God’s presence. It was “like pouring wine into an empty glass.”

Now, though, he’s worried that he wasted his life. He may not have accomplished everything God wanted him to. Stewart admits that he’s afraid of dying. Luka tells him he needs to go back to the hospital. Stewart starts reciting Psalm 23 (“The Lord is my shepherd…”), and when Joe comes to get him, Stewart says that he needs to skip the processional.

Luka accompanies him into the sanctuary as Stewart asks when he abandoned his faith. When people have a strong passion for their religion, that’s God. When they feel lost, that’s their own humanity. We put up barriers and let our pain and egos distance us from God, but He’s always there. Stewart takes his place at the front of the sanctuary, looking like there’s nothing wrong with him.

Benton, Romano, and Coburn are on the committee conducting med-school interviews. They meet with a string of applicants who all have different goals and backgrounds, but one reason for wanting to be doctors: They want to help people. The doctors don’t seem especially impressed by any of the applicants, but then again, I’m not sure any of the three of them have ever been impressed by anyone.

Elizabeth yells at Weaver for having Mark evaluated for problems that are easily explained by his tumor treatment. Weaver calmly tells her that she might not be objective in this situation. Elizabeth insists that Mark isn’t endangering anyone and calls Weaver a demigod. Legaspi looks on as Weaver says she’s just fulfilling her responsibilities. Elizabeth spits out that she hopes someday Weaver has a potentially fatal illness so Elizabeth can sit by and do nothing to help her.

Benton, Romano, and Coburn discuss the applicants, deciding who to recommend to the full committee. Benton wants to put William back in the running. His MCAT scores were only in the 91st percentile, but he had a high GPA and was class president. Romano and Coburn object, but Benton argues that MCAT scores don’t determine how well you’ll do in med school.

Romano reminds Benton that affirmative action is illegal. Benton notes that there were no Black or Latino candidates in the pool today. Romano says the admissions policy is color-blind, and if William didn’t make the cut, that’s too bad. Benton thinks they should give a second chance to applicants who don’t get the same opportunities as others. He insists that they interview William.

Luka watches the ordination ceremony from a dark corner as Carter goes to the ICU to check on Zack. He’s declining again and the code team is struggling to get his heart beating. They end up having to let him go. Back at the church, Luka has flashes of memory of the snowy funeral for his wife and children.

Weaver, Legaspi, and Christy have dinner with another friend, all lesbians. In fact, Christy and the other friend have both slept with Legaspi. Christy jokes that Legaspi probably brought a U-Haul on her second date with Weaver. (Apparently there’s a stereotype about lesbians moving fast in their relationships. Weaver doesn’t get it.) Weaver excuses herself early, telling Legaspi that she doesn’t belong with the group. She cares about Legaspi but doesn’t want to adopt the lesbian lifestyle.

Stewart collapses after the ordination, and Luka is unable to wake him up. Elizabeth meets Mark at home, where he tells her that Wilson has recommended him for formal testing. It’ll take five days and cover multiple areas. Luka takes Stewart back to County, then goes outside and looks up at the snow that’s still falling. He tells Abby that he couldn’t find the forest. She doesn’t know what he means. He tells her that Stewart is dying, but Abby thinks that with all the miracles they experience, one more could be coming.

Thoughts: Christy is played by Megan Follows.

I don’t fault Weaver for having Mark evaluated, but she should have told him ahead of time. This is a “do unto others” situation, and you know she would want to be informed if she were in his position.

Remember my last recap, where I said I wanted Mark to yell at anti-maskers? Now I want him to yell at anti-vaxxers.

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.

November 17, 2020

ER 7.11, Rock, Paper Scissors: Absolution

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 4:59 pm by Jenn

Get ready for a lot of this

Summary: Benton and Cleo are just waking up in the morning when she gets a call from Kynesha. They finally sent her to a halfway house, but she got in a fight with someone and ran away. Benton decides to go pick her up, though Cleo thinks Kynesha is manipulating him. She doesn’t think they’ll ever get rid of her.

Mark and Elizabeth are back from New York, and she’s nervously awaiting the next big challenge in her life, a meeting about her malpractice lawsuit. All she knows is that Patterson’s lawyers want to talk. Benton goes to get Kynesha, who’s being chased by some guys. They break the back window of Benton’s car and yell that Kynesha owes them. She tells Benton they’re some former friends.

Luka/Abby update: They’re definitely dating, but she’s sick of staying in his hotel room. She asks Carter how it went telling Weaver about his relapse. Carter still hasn’t told her; he wants to wait until after his performance evaluation. Dude. Come on. Carter tells Abby she’s nagging him, but she thinks she’s doing her job as his sponsor. He tells her that should be different from acting like his mother. Meanwhile, Luka and Dave meet an ambulance bringing in a bishop named Stewart who may have broken his hip.

Back at Cleo’s, Benton tells Kynesha that she needs to learn how to respect people. According to the workers at the halfway house, Kynesha started the fight. Kynesha says she hates it there and would rather live with Benton. She touches his shoulder, ready to offer sex in exchange for a home. Benton is never going to play that game, especially with a minor, so that gets shut down really fast. Weaver chats with a patient named Pularski who stopped taking his medication. He’s depressed because he hasn’t had sex in 11 years. He also stabbed himself with a pair of medical scissors. Well, we know a certain teenage girl who’s looking to offer her services…

Elizabeth learns from Romano and her lawyer, Price, that Patterson has agreed to a settlement. A piece of equipment Elizabeth used during Patterson’s procedure was recalled, which means she can’t be blamed for any errors. Elizabeth denies that there was anything wrong with the equipment, even though this is her get-out-of-jail-free card.

Dave tries to flirt with Amira at the front desk. It goes poorly. A woman named Ann runs up, asks for a laxative, and throws up. Carter tends to her and learns that she started feeling sick on her flight to Chicago from Texas. She realizes she’s throwing up blood. Luka examines Stewart, who says he has osteoarthritis but isn’t on any medications. He asks about Luka’s accent, commenting that Croatia is a very Catholic country. Luka simply says that he’s not Catholic.

Benton fills Cleo in on the Kynesha situation, admitting that she’s at Cleo’s house. Cleo figures this is going to turn into another three-week stay. Carter and Haleh do a procedure on Ann to see if there are any foreign bodies in her stomach. Carter finds something and uses a grasper to pull it out. Haleh comments that it looks like a claw from an arcade game. Carter’s prize in this case is a condom full of drugs. He guesses that it leaked and caused Ann’s medical problems.

Legaspi comes to the ER to ask why Weaver sent Pularski home without a psych consult. (Apparently his stab wound was superficial.) Weaver didn’t see the point, since he comes in all the time and has never seriously tried to hurt himself. Plus, the psych department keeps refusing to admit him, so why bother consulting with them? Weaver knows he just wanted food and company. Legaspi tells Weaver that they need to keep things professional. Weaver says she has been, and also, she definitely hasn’t been avoiding Legaspi because they kissed, and how could Legaspi even think that?

Carter gets Ann to admit that she came to Chicago from Belize. She was robbed, so she felt her only option to get back to the States was to agree to be a drug mule. She cries and says she just wanted to go home. Luka determines that Stewart falls a lot, which Stewart blames on his arthritis. Luka agrees to give him steroids he’s taken in the past if he also uses a walker. Stewart negotiates down to a cane. He asks Luka what his confirmation name was. It was Mihael, who was, fittingly, the patron saint of the sick.

Weaver gives Carter his performance review, which is excellent. She’s proud of how well he’s done since returning from rehab. Carter starts to tell her what he’s been keeping from her, but they get called away to tend to a family of three who were hit by a car while crossing the street. The father died at the scene, but the mother and their seven-year-old daughter are now in the ER.

Elizabeth takes a moment to admire some flowers Mark sent her at County before she heads to the OR to help with the new patients. She runs into Patterson in an elevator and he asks to talk. She tells him that she feels horrible about how things turned out for him. Patterson knows the recalled equipment is technically to blame, but he can’t bring himself to forgive Elizabeth. He knows he’ll always remember her face, and he wonders if she’ll remember his.

Elizabeth joins Luka, Cleo, and Abby to take care of the daughter, Amy. Luka inserts a chest tube, which leads to some bleeding. Connie pulls Elizabeth next door to help Weaver with the mother, Julie. No one wants to tell Julie that her husband didn’t survive, but when they can’t tell her how he is, she figures it out herself. They need to take her to the OR, but Luka asks them to bring her to Amy’s room for a moment so mother and daughter can see each other. As Julie is finally taken for surgery, Amy starts to decline.

Babcock the anesthesiologist is annoyed that Elizabeth isn’t sure yet what procedure she’s going to perform on Julie. Elizabeth is nervous and wants to pass her off to another surgeon, but everyone else is busy. Back in the ER, Luka struggles to stabilize Amy while Carter asks Legaspi to give Ann a psych consult. Legaspi wants to admit her, but Weaver wants to turn her over to the police. Legaspi asks Weaver what her problem is. Weaver sends Carter away so she can tell Legaspi to never talk to her like that in front of a resident. Legaspi says she wouldn’t have to if Weaver wouldn’t interfere in her case.

Luka decides that Amy can’t be saved, so Cleo declares her dead. Luka doesn’t even get a minute to collect himself before he’s sent to help with another trauma. The patient is a guy named Kevin who’s drunk and combative. He was brought in after crashing his car during a police chase. His crime? Running down a family of three in a crosswalk. Luka has to go from failing to save Amy to trying to save the man who killed her. He gets his revenge by inserting a tube through Kevin’s nose and throat without numbing his pain.

Benton meets Kynesha at Doc Magoo’s with a surprise guest: Adele. She has a foster family ready to take in Kynesha, who’s disappointed that Benton won’t let her stay with him. She blames Cleo for turning her away. Adele tells Kynesha that her only choices right now are foster care or becoming a ward of the state. Kynesha storms out, complaining that Benton doesn’t want her.

Elizabeth struggles to fix Julie’s injuries as she loses more and more blood. Elizabeth orders Shirley to get another surgeon to take over. A police officer arrests Kevin, who shouldn’t have been driving since he lost his license thanks to multiple DUIs. Benton comes down to consult and decides to give Kevin a CT. Luka isn’t sure that’s necessary. Abby asks Carter how his performance review went (meaning “did you tell Weaver you relapsed?”). Luka’s curious about that whole situation, but Abby can’t tell him anything.

Romano joins Elizabeth in the OR, annoyed that she’s having so much trouble with what should be a simple procedure. He orders her to stay and assist him, but she runs off. Mark is at County for radiation and decides to wait for Elizabeth in the lounge when he’s done. Even though he can barely walk on his own, he’s supposed to start back at work next week. Luka tells him not to worry about how things are running in the ER. Mark says he gets now that life’s too short to think about that kind of stuff.

Luka goes to check on Stewart, who’s gone to Kevin’s trauma room to give him last rites. He absolves Kevin of his sins, which I’m sure Luka doesn’t think he deserves. Abby bugs Carter again about talking to Weaver, but Carter doesn’t want to rock the boat when everything is going so well. Abby makes the best decision possible here: She tells him to find another sponsor. She cares about Carter and his recovery, but she can’t help him if he won’t listen to her.

While Cleo tells a devastated Julie that Amy died, Luka finishes up with Stewart, who asks what happened to Kevin. He didn’t survive surgery, so Stewart is glad that he found absolution. Luka, of course, doesn’t think he should have peace when he killed two people. Stewart says that Kevin found God in his last moments and asked for forgiveness. Luka asks if that means anyone can get into Heaven just by saying they’re sorry before they die. Stewart tells him that everyone deserves comfort in their darkest hour. Luka notes that Amy could have used that comfort. Stewart says God was with her, but Luka doubts that.

Carter finally pulls Weaver aside to tell her that he took Vicodin a couple weeks ago. He doesn’t know why he did it. Weaver thanks him for telling her but doesn’t know what the consequences will be yet. Mark and Elizabeth head home without the malpractice lawsuit hanging over their heads. She doesn’t feel like celebrating since she knows the error was really her fault. Mark says all they can do is try to get things right as often as possible.

Cleo is also down after her bad day, telling Benton that she can’t stop thinking about Amy’s brand-new shoes. When she put them on that morning, she had no clue what would happen to her. They get home to find that Cleo’s house has been trashed. Cleo is definitely, 100 percent, completely done with Kynesha.

Weaver tracks down Legaspi at Doc Magoo’s, wanting to clear the air. She respects Legaspi as a colleague and misses her as a friend. Legaspi thinks that in a few weeks, they’ll just be back to being friendly co-workers, like they were before. Weaver confides that she’s not sure that’s what she wants. Legaspi starts to leave, but Weaver asks her to stay.

Benton and Cleo silently clean up her house and he thanks her for putting up with him and being there for him. He acknowledges that he hasn’t been there for her in the same way. He’s never worked at being with someone – he’s never wanted to – but he wants to with her because he loves her. “Love won’t clean up the destruction in my house,” she manages to not reply.

Thoughts: Stewart is played by James Cromwell, who was nominated for an Emmy for the role.

Is everyone ready for the part of the season where we revisit the worst thing that’s ever happened to Luka? IS EVERYONE PUMPED?

“Dr. Corday, you have to stop the bleeding.” Oh, she does? Is that her job, Dr. Babcock? Thanks for clearing that up. I’m sure Elizabeth was unclear about what she was supposed to be doing here.