August 31, 2021

ER 9.8, First Snowfall: The New Normal

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

Poor Gallant

Summary: Gallant is on the phone with someone from Eric’s base, trying to get Abby some information, since she doesn’t even know where he was taken. Abby has to step away to end a fight between a babbling homeless man and another patient. Carter tells her that he was able to find out that Eric was in the brig for a few days, but has now been sent back to his base in Nebraska. Gallant can’t get any more news than that, so Abby decides to just go to the base.

Carter wants to tag along (sound familiar?), but he has a shift. Abby insists that she can handle this by herself. He tells her she can’t just walk onto an Air Force base; she needs a sponsor. She should take Gallant with her. Abby still thinks she can handle this alone, but Carter gets Gallant to agree to go with her anyway. Carter plans to join Abby later. As he sends them off to the airport in a cab, snow starts falling. It snows all night, and by the end of Carter’s shift, it’s blocking the ambulance bay.

As Nathan tries to get himself going, Carter tries to get an update on his flight, which has been delayed. The homeless man is still hanging around and talking to himself about math. Carter tells Nathan that the snow stopped, but they’re pretty much stuck in the hospital. Nathan still has 12 hours left on his shift, though with the snow paralyzing the city, it might be quiet.

Abby calls Carter from the base and he tells her that with three feet of snow on the ground and the El shut down, he’s not going anywhere for a while. He notices Nathan studying his hands, which are shaking. Eric’s commanding officer makes Abby get off her phone, since she’s a civilian. He doesn’t know where Eric is; if Eric had been arrested, he would have been brought to the base, but he’s not there. He tells Abby to go back to her hotel and wait for more information. Abby tells him that Eric needs a psych evaluation and medication ASAP.

Elizabeth manages to make it to County for her shift, though her nanny couldn’t get out of her house, so Elizabeth had to bring Ella to work with her. The good news is that the El is up and running again. Abby takes a smoke break, ignoring Gallant’s warnings not to, not just because they’re on a military base but because there’s a truck full of jet fuel nearby. They finally get in touch with a Lt. Ottenson, Eric’s attorney. Eric has been taken to a hospital on base.

Back in Chicago, Luka wisely uses cross-country skis to get to work. Carter’s on his way to the El station, planning to take a train to the airport and wait for a flight to Nebraska. Luka’s surprised that Carter didn’t go with Abby. Susan asks Carter to stick around, since Weaver can’t get to work and multiple trauma cases are coming in. Carter reluctantly agrees to stay.

On the way to see Eric, Abby learns that he’s being medicated and is now coherent. He’s facing a hearing to determine whether he was mentally competent when he went AWOL, in which case they can punish him for his actions. If he wasn’t, he won’t have to worry about being court martialed. He’ll just get a medical discharge, and if he’s stable, they’ll probably release him from the hospital right away.

Abby’s annoyed that no one called her. Eric shouldn’t be released before she can determine the best treatment options for him. Ottenson says that if they asked Eric if he wanted his family to be contacted, he probably would have told them to call Abby. But it looks like he named someone else as a contact, because Maggie’s already at the hospital.

At County, Susan, Elizabeth, and Nathan tend to one of the new trauma patients – two boys and their mother were hit by a drunk driver while building a snowman on their lawn. The dad was spared simply because he went inside to get a carrot for the snowman’s nose. One boy, Toby, is unable to be saved, so Elizabeth moves on to the other, Matt, while Luka tends to the mother. Matt is in bad shape but is alive and conscious. Elizabeth tells Carter that if his mother hadn’t jumped in front of him, Matt would be dead.

In Nebraska, Maggie tells Abby that she was able to talk to Eric on the phone. Abby says that he has bipolar disorder; she could feel it right away. She regrets not telling Maggie, and instead interfering to the point where she got Eric arrested. Maggie tells her not to blame herself. It turns out Maggie knew about Eric’s mental-health issues all along. She just thought he had situational depression from PTSD.

Abby can’t believe that Maggie didn’t connect the dots between Eric’s symptoms and her own bipolar disorder. Does she know anything about her disease? Maggie’s like, “You mean the mental illness I’ve been dealing with for decades? Do I know anything about the disorder I manage on a daily basis? No, I’m in no way familiar with this illness. What was it called again?” Abby asks why Maggie didn’t tell her what was going on. Maggie admits that Eric didn’t want Abby to know.

Elizabeth thinks Matt and Toby’s mother, Sylvia, is too far gone to save, but Luka wants to keep working on her. The boys’ father has arrived (he doesn’t get a name; I’ll call him Jeff after the actor playing him), and Elizabeth tells Nathan to keep him out of his wife’s trauma room. Jeff refuses, even though the sight of what Elizabeth and Luka are doing to save her makes him throw up.

Chuny comes over to tell Elizabeth that Matt isn’t getting enough oxygen. Carter thinks one of his broken ribs punctured his heart. Elizabeth goes over to help him and Harkins, but she thinks Matt’s heart muscle is too damaged to fix. She glances up just as Susan is taking Toby’s gurney through the hallway. Susan gives her a slight shake of the head to indicate that Toby is beyond help.

This gives Elizabeth an idea: Toby is brain dead, but his organs are fine. She tells Jeff that Matt needs heart and lung transplants in the next six hours or he’ll die. With Jeff’s permission, they can transplant Toby’s organs into his brother. One of Jeff’s sons is dead, but they can still save the other. Jeff desperately asks Elizabeth to save both boys. Can’t they wait a couple days to see if Toby wakes up?

Susan needs Elizabeth’s help, and Weaver wants her to assist in taking care of the drunk driver (a request Elizabeth firmly turns down), so Elizabeth assigns Nathan to talk Jeff into consenting to the transplant. They only have one shot at saving Matt. Jeff isn’t in the right state of mind to make this decision, so Nathan needs to get him to understand how important this is.

Abby’s impatient to see Eric, who’s talking to Ottenson. Gallant wants to stick around and help, but Abby thinks he’s accomplished what she needed him to do, so he can leave. Plus, he has a test coming up and should use this time to study, not play phone tag for Abby and Maggie. Ottenson comes to get Maggie so she can see Eric; he still doesn’t want to see Abby.

Luka, Susan, and Elizabeth try their hardest to revive Sylvia while Nathan talks to Jeff about the transplant. Susan thinks he’ll succeed, since he’s good at talking patients into stuff. Matt is declining, so Elizabeth helps Carter and Chuny try to keep him alive for the transplant. Nathan announces that Jeff has given his consent, so Elizabeth tells him to take Toby up to the OR.

The second Matt is stable, Elizabeth says they’re taking him up, too. Carter thinks it’s too soon, since he could decline again at any moment, but Elizabeth wants to take advantage of this window and do the transplant. Jeff goes up with Toby, promising him that he won’t feel any pain. Sadly, despite Luka’s best efforts, Sylvia doesn’t survive.

As Elizabeth and Carter take Matt up to the OR, Jeff asks Elizabeth to promise that this will all work out. Elizabeth can only say they’ll do their best. Jeff again comforts Toby (even though the boy can’t hear him), saying that he’s going to help his brother. He tells Nathan he’d like to take Toby to Sylvia’s room so she can say goodbye. Nathan doesn’t want to have to tell him that his wife is dead.

Carter keeps Matt’s heart beating while Elizabeth scrubs in, impatiently waiting for the transplant team. Elizabeth and Carter get Matt on bypass and remove his damaged heart as quickly as possible. When the surgeon arrives to take over, Elizabeth and Carter step aside. All Carter can say is, “Wow.”

Maggie tells Abby that Eric is having trouble accepting that his sister saw him in a manic state. He’s medicated now, but he’s emotionally exhausted and ashamed. Maggie warns Abby not to be confrontational. Abby finally gets to see Eric, who’s in uniform and ready for his hearing. She notes that he wanted to leave the Air Force anyway, so…hey, it all worked out!

Abby justifies her actions by saying she loves Eric and was worried about him. He thinks she believes he’s crazy and unstable. He was actually enjoying himself. (Yeah, that’s the mania. You would have felt different if you’d been in the depression part of the cycle.) She wants him to come back to Chicago with her, but Eric has no interest in that. Abby points out that without medication, Eric is likely to go down the same route as their mother, struggling for years to keep her life together. She urges Maggie to confirm that she’s right. Instead, Maggie leaves the room.

Abby’s upset that Eric called Maggie instead of her. Maggie’s unreliable and undependable; meanwhile, Abby spent three days trying to find Eric so she could help him. Eric doesn’t feel sorry for her. He’s the one whose career is over. He thinks Abby’s just mad that she didn’t get to be his savior. Abby argues that Eric needs help, and Maggie screwed up the first time he turned to her. Eric corrects her: He doesn’t need help, and he didn’t go to Maggie. She sent him to a doctor because she saw that something was wrong. Abby says Maggie wasn’t wrong. Eric asks why he’s not allowed to call her, then.

Nathan has the unfortunate job of taking care of the drunk driver. His dyskinesia is getting worse, and the driver asks if he has Tourette’s. Elizabeth joins them as the driver continues badgering Nathan. He’s surprised Nathan’s allowed to treat patients while in this condition. Nathan says they let him work on patients they don’t care about. He asks if the driver has any idea what he did. The driver thinks he just hit a snowman – he doesn’t realize that he ran over three people, killing two of them.

Maggie urges Abby to give Eric time to adjust. They don’t want him to feel like they’re ganging up on him. Maggie doesn’t think Eric needs to be hospitalized after he’s discharged. Abby says that’s not her decision. Maggie tells her that Eric has to accept that he has bipolar disorder and figure out how to accommodate it. Abby argues that until then, he needs to be supervised so he keeps taking his medication. Maggie tells her that he might decide to stop taking it sometimes, but this is like AA: It has to be his decision. Right now, it’s too early for him to want to be healthy.

Abby says that she’s been living with this disease her entire life and doesn’t want a lecture about it. Of course, Maggie’s the one who’s actually living with it, so she has a different perspective on it. Abby angrily asks if Maggie and Eric have some bond now that they both have the same disorder. Maggie tells her to focus on the fact that her brother is struggling. There’s no quick fix – Eric will be dealing with this for the rest of his life.

Nathan tries to ignore the drunk driver while he examines a girl named Kiley. His dyskinesia causes him to accidentally jam a scope in Kiley’s ear. She isn’t hurt, but she’s spooked, so Nathan decides to call it quits. He doesn’t listen when Weaver tells him to keep working.

Elizabeth finds Jeff sitting on the floor of Sylvia’s trauma room, so now he knows that he’s lost both his wife and one of his sons. She tells him that Matt is undergoing the transplant. She invites him to wait in a waiting room near the OR, but Jeff can’t bring himself to leave the room. He tells her what a normal day would be like right now for his family. Elizabeth says he made the right decision. Jeff tells her that everything was white this morning, and the boys were excited to stay home with their parents.

Elizabeth confides that she knows what Jeff is feeling. He doesn’t believe that, since he doesn’t even know what he’s feeling. She tells him that her husband died just six months ago. This is the first time we’ve heard her talk about him since then. She says she tried to continue on with her life like everything was normal, but that’s impossible.

You can’t run away from your grief. Life after losing a loved one is “like this big, relentless wave.” You have no choice but to ride it. You try to hold on to what you’ve lost and carry on without shutting yourself off from everything. Elizabeth knows that in the future, when Jeff looks into Matt’s eyes, he’ll see “the beautiful things that live on in him.” Jeff says he needs Matt to be okay. Elizabeth promises that he will be, then embraces him.

The board overseeing Eric’s hearing hasn’t seen enough evidence to prove that Eric was mentally incompetent when he went AWOL, so they won’t let him go. Eric is demanding due process. Abby tells Ottenson that he needs psychiatric treatment, which he’s not going to get while he’s in confinement. Eric tells Abby that since he was gone less than 30 days, he shouldn’t have to face any serious consequences. He didn’t hurt anyone or act irresponsibly. He just wanted a change. Abby points out that he went AWOL, which is serious in the military. Eric eggs her on to call him crazy. He knows he’s not like Maggie, no matter what Abby thinks.

Elizabeth finds Nathan on the roof, his medication having finally kicked in and calmed his dyskinesia. She gives him his evaluation for his surgical rotation, but Nathan doesn’t see the point in reading it. Elizabeth notes that he only has two modes: blind optimism and self-pity. Nathan figures it’s better to just face the facts. Parkinson’s is eventually going to overcome him. He just thought he would have more time.

Elizabeth asks if that means he’s just going to give in. Nathan thinks that’s what she wanted. She says she wanted him to recognize his limitations. He saved Matt today because he was able to connect with Jeff and help him make the right decision. Anyone can stitch up a patient or insert a chest tube. Nathan has a gift, and he needs to find a way to share it. As Elizabeth leaves, she says she kept her promise to fail him.

Abby and Maggie reconnect, and Abby asks her mother to back her up on her decision to get Eric committed so he doesn’t stay in military jail. Maggie agrees. Abby apologizes for her behavior; she’s angry about the situation and, surprisingly, angry at Maggie for having to go through this again, even though it’s not her fault. Maggie thinks Abby is really angry that Maggie passed her bipolar disorder on to Eric. She gets that Abby feels like a mother to her brother, but Maggie’s the one responsible here. Now she needs to be his mother for once.

Carter calls Abby to check in, pretending he’s still in Chicago when he’s actually just now arriving at the base. Weaver has taken over Kiley’s care, but Nathan wants to finish her ear examination. This time he has Kiley hold the scope herself. Once he’s again made a connection with someone and shared his gifts, Elizabeth takes him up to Matt’s OR. Matt’s transplant is done, and Elizabeth wants Nathan to be the one to shock his heart – formerly Toby’s heart – into rhythm. Elizabeth comments that now, Matt’s brother will always be with him.

Thoughts: Matt is played by Josh Hutcherson.

I have to give a shoutout to Jeff Kober, who plays Jeff. He usually plays villains (and is really good at it), so it’s interesting to see him as just a normal guy. He always gets typecast, but here he shows that he can be subtle and loving.

The sequences where Carter and Elizabeth rush the boys to the OR and then try to calm down afterward are so good. It’s like watching an action movie without the explosions or violence.

Maggie should have continued her AA metaphor by telling Abby that the best help for someone who’s struggling comes from someone who’s been there.

August 24, 2021

ER 9.7, Tell Me Where It Hurts: Going Too Far

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:01 pm by Jenn

This is the closest Chen gets to having a plotline

Summary: Weaver is attending an ultrasound, and…no, wait. Weaver is having an ultrasound. She’s pregnant! She and Sandy are going to be moms! In the ER, Chen is quizzing Gallant and Harkins, who are answering her questions like there’s a prize at stake. She tells them to calm down. Susan goes looking for a doctor to apply a cast to someone, but everyone’s either busy or away. Luka’s back at work after his suspension, but he’s sleeping. “With who?” Susan quips.

She takes Harkins to an exam room, but her patient isn’t breathing. She’s also a nun, which makes Susan feel even worse. Malik wakes Nathan, who was taking a nap during a long shift. Susan’s nun didn’t survive, and Frank is worried that God will strike her dead for killing the woman. Shut up, Frank. Paramedics bring in a John Doe who’s getting more and more agitated. Nathan winds up punching him in the face and knocking him out. He blames his dyskinesia.

Jody arrives, looking for Eric, who ditched her when they had a fight while they were coming back from visiting her parents. Abby thinks he just went back to his base, but Jody called there and learned that Eric has been on an unauthorized absence for two weeks. In other words, he’s AWOL.

Elizabeth comes to the OR to examine a man named Mr. Seaton who has pancreatic cancer and doesn’t seem to be responding well to treatment. One of his complications may need to be fixed surgically. Elizabeth doesn’t think that will help, which means Seaton is probably looking at hospice care as his only remaining option. He likes that idea more than being in the hospital, so he decides not to pursue further treatment.

Luka, Weaver, and Abby tend to a teen named Greg who was shot in the eye. It’s gross. The shooter was Greg’s ten-year-old brother, Tommy. He was playing with their father’s gun, and when Greg tried to take it from him, it accidentally went off. Nathan tells Susan that he disagrees with Elizabeth’s decision to let Seaton die without looking at other treatment options. Susan reminds him that he’s a med student, so he can’t get into this. They’re going to respect Seaton’s wishes.

As Luka finishes up with Greg, a guy named Mike arrives and introduces himself. Apparently Luka slept with Mike’s wife, Heather. Mike is pretty calm about the whole thing, basically just asking Luka to stop sleeping with his wife. Luka seems kind of embarrassed, knowing that his actions are affecting his fling’s husband and kids.

Abby tries to call Eric, who doesn’t answer the phone. Susan notes that at least she hasn’t killed anyone. She figures her next patient should be someone with a swollen scrotum, since it’s unlikely that he’ll die under Susan’s care. Carter tries to have a conversation with Abby about Eric, but Harkins needs him to do his job first. Abby goes to the lounge and calls the medical facility on Eric’s base. She pretends she’s treating him and needs to see his medical records. When asked who the treating doctor is, she names Carter. Abby, no!

Luka bumps into Chuny, and it’s awkward, but at least they’ve stopped fighting. He checks on Greg, who can’t see out of his injured eye. As Chuny leaves the exam room, Luka tells her he’s sorry “about everything.” She is, too. And apparently that’s all it takes. Good to know! Greg thinks his father will be mad, even though, as Luka points out, he probably saved his brother’s life.

Abby starts to tell Carter what she did, but they get interrupted by their jobs again. A neighbor heard a child crying and called an ambulance for his mom, Tong-Ye, who had passed out in the backyard. Luka makes an impatient call, trying to contact a surgeon for Greg, and is displeased to learn where the doctor is. While Carter, Abby, Gallant, and Harkins are tending to Tong-Ye, who may have overdosed on something, Eric calls Abby back. Abby fumbles the phone and loses the call.

Nathan has asked a psychiatrist to talk to Seaton, since he thinks Seaton is depressed and is making an impulsive decision not to seek treatment. Now, he’s open to discussing his options. One of them is a procedure called a whipple, a six-hour operation with a ton of recovery time. Elizabeth is unhappy that Nathan would offer that as a possibility when Seaton is in no way a good candidate. Nathan thinks they should give Seaton all his options and let him decide. Elizabeth tells him to stop trying to help.

Tong-Ye’s tox screen shows that she took barbiturates, which is bad enough on its own, but the doctors have also discovered that she’s pregnant. They’re not sure if she speaks English, so Carter wants to bring Chen in to translate. I don’t know, continuing to yell everything might start working if he gets his volume just right.

Now that things have calmed down, Abby confesses her actions to Carter. She thinks it was worth it, since Eric’s medical records show that he took a leave of absence for PTSD after an incident where a plane almost crashed. Carter reminds her that air-traffic controlling is a stressful job. Abby notes that Eric was never medicated for the PTSD; maybe he was depressed instead, which was a sign that he has bipolar disorder. All his symptoms fit both PTSD and bipolar disorder. Eric never told the doctors that he has a relative with bipolar disorder, so they weren’t looking for it.

Susan’s latest patient has died. She and Malik aren’t sympathetic, since he was obese. Nathan finds their comments offensive, and Susan apologizes, saying she’s just having a bad day. “Not as bad as him,” Nathan and I both say. Luka drives his car onto a golf course to corner a surgeon named Abrams and bring him back to County to operate on Greg before he loses his sight permanently. It’s…kind of awesome.

Weaver notes that Susan has seen a lot of patients today (not that it’s doing them any good). She announces that she’s going to be taking some time off for some personal reasons. With Romano out, Susan will probably have to fill in some gaps. Frank says that’s a bad idea. Susan slams him for making smart comments about people’s deaths. As Chuny calls her away to tend to another patient, Jerry bets Frank $20 that Susan will kill that guy, too.

Carter has asked Gallant about Eric’s leave (since Gallant is also in the military), and he tells Abby that if this is Eric’s first time going AWOL, and if he can prove extenuating circumstances, he might just get a minimal punishment. Jerry gives Gallant a note from Harkins, calling her Gallant’s girlfriend. Abby doesn’t want Carter talking to Gallant about Eric, like that’s Abby’s biggest problem right now.

A couple comes in looking for the child who was brought in with Tong-Ye. The staff assumed that she’s the boy’s mother, but she’s his nanny. Carter asks the father, Mr. Yeung, if Tong-Ye uses drugs or if she’s been depressed. Mr. Yeung says Tong-Ye isn’t the type to try to harm herself. Maybe she was struggling to sleep because she was up with the boy, Aidan, all week while he was sick. Carter then asks if Tong-Ye has a boyfriend and might be having problems in her personal life. Mr. Yeung says he would probably know if she did; she’s lived with the family for four years.

Seaton and his family have decided to try the whipple, and Elizabeth isn’t happy about it. She knows his chances of recovering and living another year are small. She takes a jab at Nathan for becoming “the patron saint of the terminally ill.” Since he got her here, he gets to assist.

Carter wants Tong-Ye to be admitted overnight for observation, so Mr. Yeung wants to move her to a private facility. He asks her in Mandarin why she overdosed, then tells Carter that she said it was an accident. In fact, she did exactly what Mr. Yeung guessed she did – she took a couple of sleeping pills with a glass of wine. Carter is skeptical that Mr. Yeung is telling him the truth.

Nathan is struggling in Seaton’s surgery, since he’s been up for more than 24 hours and his medication schedule is off. Just the person to participate in a tricky six-hour surgery! Nathan’s dyskinesia and inexperience lead to a mistake that could have been fatal if Elizabeth wasn’t paying such close attention. Down in the ambulance bay, Susan’s next patient is an 11-year-old victim of a motorcycle accident, and she immediately tries to pass him off to another doctor so her death curse doesn’t continue with a child.

Carter wisely has Chen talk to Tong-Ye alone in case there’s something Mr. Yeung is trying to hide. Chen tells Carter that she didn’t know she was pregnant. He asks her to ask Tong-Ye if she’s sleeping with her boss. Tong-Ye admits that she is. Susan tries to get Weaver to take over caring for the 11-year-old, Quinn, but Weaver is working on his father. She reassures Susan that she’ll be fine.

Mr. Yeung tells Carter that the family’s personal doctor is on his way to have Tong-Ye moved to another facility. Carter asks what his real relationship is with the nanny. He asks straight out if Mr. Yeung has been sleeping with her. Mr. Yeung starts to walk away, offended by the question, but he stops when Carter announces that Tong-Ye says he’s the father of her baby. Mr. Yeung says that’s not Carter’s business.

Eric shows up, and it looks like Abby’s suspicions that he has bipolar disorder are correct, because he’s kind of manic. Luka has successfully arranged surgery for Greg, though Abrams isn’t happy about being dragged away from his precious golf game to do his job. He tells Luka that ophthalmology isn’t an emergency specialty. Really? Even if a patient is at risk of losing his eyesight without emergency surgery?

Abby questions Eric about his leave, which he claims was authorized; someone must have messed up the paperwork. He suggests that the two of them and Carter take a trip to Vegas. Abby asks about Eric’s PTSD, but he says air-traffic controllers claim it all the time to get vacation. She admits that she got his medical records and knows that he never told the Air Force that his mother has bipolar disorder.

Eric’s annoyed about that, but not as annoyed as he’s about to be: MPs have arrived to arrest him for going AWOL. Eric says he had someone covering for him, but that person got into an accident. He was about to leave to go back to the base. He just stopped by the hospital to let Abby know that he’s okay. The MPs ignore him and arrest him. Abby asks if she can give Eric something to calm him down, but they won’t let her.

Luka joins Susan with Quinn, who isn’t doing well. When Chen comes by to ask if she can help, Luka says they’re fine, but Susan wants someone to take over. Like he did with Nathan, Luka calmly talks Susan through an intubation. As soon as she’s done, she asks Chen to take over, not wanting to stick around this case any longer than necessary. Weaver comes over as well, but she doesn’t think Quinn can be saved. Luka figures out what’s wrong and keeps working, never showing any stress. Thanks to him, the team is able to stabilize Quinn.

Once Chen is done there, she returns to Tong-Ye to help Carter explain to her that she can leave the Yeungs and stay in a shelter. Chen is familiar with Tong-Ye’s situation – young women are brought over from China with the promise of work, but they end up as indentured servants. Tong-Ye says, in flawless English, that she can’t leave her baby. Carter promises that no one will take her baby, but Tong-Ye doesn’t mean the one she’s carrying. Aidan is also her child.

Elizabeth checks on Seaton in the ICU, but he’s not breathing on his own. Looks like all of that trouble was for nothing. Abby is upset that she didn’t do more for Eric earlier, and now can’t do anything for him. Carter promises to get him a good lawyer and help him through this. Well, that’s what Carter always suggests – fixing things with money.

Outside, Weaver tells Susan that Quinn should be fine, and she thinks Susan would have figured out what was wrong with him if she’d stuck around. Susan believes that Quinn would have been her fourth victim of the day. Weaver corrects that she didn’t kill her other three patients; she was just unable to save them. She’s saved twice as many without any struggle. She just needs to go home, rest, and come back to fight again tomorrow. Then Weaver jokes that if Susan loses another patient, she’s fired.

Sandy joins the two of them, and as she and Weaver are leaving for the night, she asks if Weaver gave Susan their news. The two of them happily announce that they’re having a baby. Susan is surprised but happy. Back inside, Mr. Yeung tries to take Tong-Ye out of the hospital, but Carter won’t let him. Tong-Ye doesn’t want to lose her job; she has to send money to her family back in China. Plus, she doesn’t want to leave Aidan. She spends more time with him than the Yeungs do anyway, so the arrangement works. Carter and Chen realize that Aidan doesn’t know that Tong-Ye is his mother. That doesn’t matter to her, since she knows the truth.

Elizabeth tells Nathan that she knows he faces challenges because of his Parkinson’s, but if he were any other student, she’d fail him. And, as she reminds him, he wanted to be treated like any other student. Nathan says he just has to make adjustments to accommodate his Parkinson’s. Elizabeth says straight out that he’s disabled and can’t safely treat patients. She will only pass him on this rotation if he promises to go into a specialty that doesn’t require him to treat people physically. Nathan can’t promise that, so Elizabeth tells him she’s going to fail him.

Susan ends her day with a sad-looking meal, home alone. Luka ends his at a bar, chatting with a woman who wants to take him to bed. He takes a call from Heather and tells her to stop calling him. The woman at the bar suggests that they leave together and find some trouble to get into. He’ll have to pay her, though. At first Luka declines, but then he changes his mind.

Carter goes to Abby’s place, where she’s been trying to get information about Eric. There’s a bottle of wine on her counter, and she tells Carter she bought it on the way home but hasn’t had any. She just wants to be able to stop worrying. He hugs her and tells her he’s sorry that she turned out to be right about Eric. Abby thinks Carter would be smart to run away now and not get involved with her screwed-up family. He jokes that they should get their families together for the holidays and see what happens.

Abby admits that she’s scared for her brother. It’s unfair that such a good kid has grown up to have to deal with this illness. Carter promises again that they’ll get him through this. He tries to convince Abby that there’s nothing she could have done to prevent this from happening. She says that Eric was the only constant, reliable thing in her life when she was younger. Carter says that’s not true anymore – he’s there, and he’s not going anywhere.

Thoughts: If one of my brothers went behind my back to get my medical records, it would take me a LOOOOOONG time to forgive him.

Can’t Elizabeth turn down a patient’s request for surgery if she doesn’t think the benefits would outweigh the risks? Isn’t it in the hospital’s best interest to not subject someone to a procedure that only has a small chance of making him better?

I have to assume that the only reason Tong-Ye hid that she speaks English is so Mr. Young wouldn’t find out. Otherwise, that was a dumb plot development.

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.”

August 10, 2021

ER 9.5, A Hopeless Wound: Down the Drain

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

Look who dropped by to hang out for a while!

Summary: It’s 5:07 p.m. on Halloween and Elizabeth is leading two little ducklings – I mean students – through the ICU. They don’t know the answer to her question, and she’s not very impressed. She sends them home, then gets ready to leave herself so she can take Ella trick-or-treating. She tells a nurse that Ella’s going as a cow. Last year, she was Dorothy, Elizabeth was the Cowardly Lion, and Mark was the Scarecrow. As in “if I only had a brain.” The guy who had a brain tumor went as the Scarecrow. Oh, boy. Anyway, this year Elizabeth is going to be a farmer.

Before she can leave, a nurse tells her that a third med student, Paul Nathan, is on his way. He missed his first day of the surgical rotation, and Elizabeth isn’t willing to stick around and talk to him. But Romano also wants to see her, so she can’t leave yet. Would Romano really delay Elizabeth so that her toddler daughter can’t go out and get free candy? Yes, yes, he would.

Down in the ER, Carter is dressed as a skeleton and Abby is dressed as an old-fashioned nurse (but really, a sexy nurse). They’re annoyed because they thought everyone was going to dress up, but they’re the only two who did. Abby got there first and didn’t warn Carter, since she didn’t want to be the only one in costume. Frank says he didn’t dress up because he doesn’t celebrate Pagan holidays about devil worship. Abby tells him that in that case, he can’t have any candy; it’s only for Satanists.

Luka and Chuny are fighting, and the normally calm Chuny declares that she’s not working with him anymore. She complains to Abby that he treats nurses like they’re idiots. Luka and Susan tease Abby about her costume. She gets Luka back by saying she should have worn the schoolgirl outfit he once bought her. He tells Susan and Frank she’s kidding, but they don’t believe him.

Romano’s back in the OR, determined to show that he can operate again. He’s practicing on a pig. Elizabeth points out that he’s not cleared to do surgery, even on animals. He’s annoyed that she made some decision about rounds without consulting him. He thought she would stay loyal to him instead of going behind his back to make changes with Weaver. Elizabeth notices that the pig’s tail is starting to move – I guess the anesthesiologist didn’t calculate the dosage properly. Elizabeth has to help the surgical team wrestle the pig.

Later, Romano gets a checkup on how much he’s able to move his arm. His doctor tells him he needs to give himself at least nine months before he finds out how permanent his limitations are. Romano asks for the odds that he’ll get full function back. The doctor says they’re 20%, but because of Romano’s inability to flex and move certain ways, he may not be able to operate again. He can still be chief of staff, at least. Romano proves that he does have some dexterity by giving his doctor the finger.

Paul Nathan arrives and meets Romano, who’s surprised that he’s a lot older than most med students. Nathan says he’s changing careers. He asks about Romano’s arm, which is in a complicated contraption, and Romano says he has tennis elbow. Downstairs, victims of an apartment fire are arriving. One of them, Amy, looks really bad. Another, Ed, has burns on his hands, which he sustained while he was trying to put out someone else who was on fire.

Nathan’s down there now, so Susan puts him to work. She tosses him a pen, which he fumbles, and she sarcastically says, “Nice catch.” Carter tries to wrangle concerned loved ones who want more details than the doctors and fire department have provided them. Nathan examines a guy named Jason who has an infection on his leg that needs to be monitored in case it spreads. He then joins Luka to treat Ed, who’s concerned because he can’t feel his hands. Nathan doesn’t know what to tell him, since he doesn’t know how bad Ed’s injuries are.

Romano comes down to check on Elizabeth, who’s working with Pratt to help a man named Wynn whose Halloween mask melted onto his face. Looks like Elizabeth won’t be taking Ella trick-or-treating anytime soon. Romano tries to help by opening some supplies, but it’s too hard to do with one hand. When he turns to leave, he runs into Lily, jostling his reattached arm. He pretends he’s okay and tells Elizabeth he’s going to go check on “the rest of the kids.” None of them need his help, though.

Carter and Abby tend to Amy as Nathan comes in, finally finding Elizabeth. She doesn’t have time to listen to his excuses for missing his rotation that morning. Carter tells Nathan she’s just being short with him because she’s trying to help a critical patient. Nathan tells Elizabeth he sent her a letter explaining things. Frank pops into the trauma room to tell Elizabeth that her nanny’s on the phone, as if Elizabeth can just drop everything and take the call. The nanny’s supposed to get on a plane at 10:30, so Elizabeth tells Frank to tell the nanny to bring Ella to County.

Nathan wants to be helpful, and Elizabeth tells him he can do that by being quiet. Then she realizes he can help with minor cases in the ER. He’s supposed to be doing a surgical rotation, but Elizabeth figures he’s capable of taking histories and presenting cases to attendings. As Nathan takes a pill, Jason’s girlfriend comes to get him, reporting that Jason’s x-rays are back. The infection is spreading, and Nathan alerts Romano to the case. Nathan thinks Jason has necrotizing fasciitis, AKA flesh-eating bacteria.

Romano compliments him on the catch and rushes Jason to surgery before the infection kills him. Susan also praises Nathan, hopeful that he made the diagnosis in time. She introduces herself and offers her right hand, which he shakes with his left. She starts to head back to the ER, but he tells her he needs a minute. He has Parkinson’s and can’t move as fast as everyone else.

Of course, Romano can’t operate on Jason, so he bugs Elizabeth to hand her patient off so she can come up to the OR. Carter reminds Elizabeth that she still needs to deal with Nathan. Nathan thinks he’s allowed to leave, since the critical patients have been taken care of, but Elizabeth tells him he owes her eight hours of work. He protests that he has rounds at 6 a.m. Elizabeth welcomes him to the life of a surgeon.

Before Nathan can figure out what to do, a guy asks him where he can find a patient. Nathan takes him to the group of loved ones still waiting for news. A nun joins them and Pratt tells her to wait with the others. He thinks she’s a drag queen in costume, but she’s an actual nun. She’s dropping off food and housing vouchers for the people who lived in the apartment building. That’s an awesome service to the community. Thank you, nun. Does this mean Pratt is going to Hell?

Romano hangs around while Dale operates on Jason. Whatever the surgical version of backseat driving is, Romano’s doing it. He wants Elizabeth to take over, since he thinks she’ll do a better job of saving Jason’s leg without cutting out anything unnecessary. Elizabeth calls her nanny to tell her not to bring Ella after all; she doesn’t think she’ll need to stay for more than another hour. She suggests that the nanny take Ella to her house so she can finish packing. Then when Elizabeth comes to pick up Ella, she can drive the nanny to the airport.

As Elizabeth is finishing up the call, which she’s on while scrubbing in, she accidentally drops her wedding ring in the sink. She asks a scrub nurse to call the engineering department, but they won’t be in the building until the morning. To add insult to injury, Romano is demanding that Elizabeth come into the OR stat. Jason’s leg is more important than Elizabeth’s ring. In between yelling back at Romano, Elizabeth calmly (and smartly) asks the scrub nurse to get someone to tape off the drain so no one else uses the sink.

Terry, the guy who asked Nathan for help, is there to see Wynn. Pratt tells Terry that Wynn will need to be on a ventilator until his lungs heal, and he’ll need skin grafts for his injuries, but his prognosis is good. Nathan notices how concerned Terry is about Wynn, but Pratt ignores the human feelings in the room because he has a job to do. (Also, Terry and Wynn are clearly a couple, and we find out later that Pratt is homophobic, so that might have something to do with his attitude here.)

Paramedics bring in a guy who accidentally drank a mandrake smoothie and is now high and bouncing around on a gurney. Abby, Luka, and Chuny try to tend to him. Luka and Chuny disagree about how to handle him, and when he grabs Chuny’s butt, Chuny says she’s out. Abby tells Luka to be more sensitive. Luka doesn’t seem to get that anything’s wrong.

Elizabeth takes over Jason’s surgery, annoyed that Romano keeps giving instructions. He wants her to remove just the infected tissue and treat everything else with antibiotics and oxygen therapy. Elizabeth notes that there’s a lot of damage, but Romano wants a more conservative treatment so Jason can keep more of his leg.

Word of Nathan’s condition has spread (okay, maybe I shouldn’t say that right after a paragraph about a guy with a quickly spreading infection), and the staff are gossiping about him. Susan thinks he has it well enough under control to practice medicine, but Luka notes that Parkinson’s is progressive; how many years can Nathan be a doctor?

Weaver was supposed to be taking a sick day, but with all the chaos of the apartment fire, she’s decided to come in. She’s in a bad mood (worse than usual) and demands that they turn on the air conditioner. Luka notes that it’s already cold. Frank remarks that this is the biggest day of the year for Weaver’s “kind” (Wiccans, not lesbians, Pratt). Pratt thinks Weaver’s going through menopause. Susan and Abby call him out for being sexist.

Chuny asks Abby to talk to Luka for her. Weaver meets Nathan, whom Pratt calls their “newest oldest med student,” and brings him and Abby with her to meet an ambulance bringing in a newborn with breathing problems. The midwife who delivered the baby hands him to Nathan, and Abby immediately takes him. The mom, Simone, hasn’t delivered the placenta yet, so she needs medical care herself, but she’s more worried about the baby.

Luka lets Nathan help treat the newborn, giving him guidance and telling him to relax so his tremors don’t make him want to give up. Up in the OR, Elizabeth and Dale want to amputate Jason’s leg, but of course Romano objects. Elizabeth shuts him down by invoking the title of the episode – Jason has a hopeless wound. Romano realizes she’s right and reluctantly approves of the amputation.

Nathan’s symptoms are getting worse, and he’s having trouble keeping his balance. Abby checks on him, but he downplays what’s going on. She appreciates that he’s the first person all day to notice that her costume is supposed to be retro, not sexy. She tells him that he can come to her if he ever needs anything.

Nathan says that his tremors and balance problems (dyskinesia) are due to the medication he takes to keep him from freezing up. He takes more of it while he’s working, but it makes the tremors worse. He jokes that it helps dispel the myth that all Black people have rhythm. Abby comments that if she were diagnosed with Parkinson’s, she’d go on a long vacation instead of take a demanding job. Nathan says he was on vacation when he first noticed his symptoms. Getting his diagnosis put things in perspective for him.

Simone’s doing okay, but the baby is still struggling. Luka tells her that he has a genetic disorder that has damaged a lot of his organs and bones. He notices Nathan’s dyskinesia and asks him to leave the trauma room before he gives Simone the news that the baby will have major delays and probably won’t live past the age of two.

Afterward, Abby calls Luka out for being insensitive and sending Nathan away. He argues that he didn’t want an audience when he gave Simone the horrible news. Abby tells him she’s been getting complaints about him from their co-workers. Well, specifically, Chuny. Luka doesn’t see the big deal. Haleh hands a patient off to Abby, not wanting to deal with a groper (maybe mandrake guy; I don’t know). Abby asks the patient’s status. “He’s gonna die if he tries that again; that’s his status,” Haleh replies. I love her.

Abby tells Luka that all the nurses’ complaints come to her now, since she’s the manager. That means she gets to counsel Luka when they complain about him. He’s allowed to give nurses orders and critique their work, but if there’s a problem, he needs to bring it to her. Luka asks who he should complain to about Abby. She tells him to try fighting for the nurses instead of fighting against them. He replies that she should sew swastikas on her costume. Abby must be tired because all she can think to say is that he sucks. He taunts that she’s creating a hostile work environment.

Nathan can’t find Luka, so he tells Weaver that Simone’s baby has a fever. Weaver takes over the case and promises Simone that they’ll do all they can for him. She may be cranky today, but she’s gentle and patient with Simone. Elizabeth calls her nanny again to promise she’s on the way home. She tells Romano that she and Dale did the right thing by amputating Jason’s leg. Romano is going through an adjustment period just like Elizabeth did after she had Ella. When your circumstances change, you start seeing patients differently. Romano will get over it.

Romano says he knows most people don’t like him. He doesn’t care, since he doesn’t like them, either. But he’s good at what he does. Every day, he saves people no one else will help. If he can’t do that anymore, he doesn’t know what he’ll do or who he’ll be. Elizabeth sympathetically says that he’s a wonderful surgeon and she’s sure he’ll be able to keep operating. He puts a hand on her face, like they’re having an intimate moment. Elizabeth flees as fast as she can.

The nanny arrives with Ella, unable to keep waiting for Elizabeth. Amy’s declining, so Elizabeth hands Ella off to Lily while she gets back to work. Next door, Luka finds Chuny giving Simone’s baby medication, which he thought Simone had agreed she didn’t want. Chuny says Weaver gave her instructions, even though the baby is Luka’s patient. He doesn’t want the baby’s life to be prolonged, since he has no chance at a meaningful life. Nathan tries to defend Chuny, but Luka says this isn’t his case.

Nathan and Abby go to Amy’s trauma room, where Carter tries to squeeze in some teaching. Chuny comes over to tell Abby she’s filing a grievance against Luka. Nathan tries to help out by hanging more saline on an IV, but a tremor causes him to pierce the bag. Elizabeth sends him away. Abby thinks she was too harsh; he’s doing a pretty good job, considering he has Parkinson’s. This is the first Elizabeth is hearing about that.

It’s 10:09 p.m. I don’t think the time stamps are really necessary. Anyway, Amy’s stable. Chuny throws the baby’s labs at Luka, which leads Abby to comment to him that she’s glad they made up. Hey, take that up with Chuny. Luka didn’t do anything there. He tells Abby he warned Chuny, but won’t elaborate. Abby realizes that they slept together. So that makes one co-worker and one patient’s mother Luka has hooked up with. Luka notes that Abby never complained about their extracurricular activities. Abby points out that she never let their relationship affect her job. He needs to fix this.

Pratt sends Wynn off to the ICU while Terry laments that he can’t visit him. He wishes he’d lied and said he’s Terry’s brother. Pratt is slowly gaining sympathy for the couple, and he tells Terry that Wynn’s lungs are getting better. Terry should be allowed to visit him in the morning. Simone tells Luka that she spent years trying to conceive via IVF and was about to give up when she got pregnant. Luka gently tells her that the baby isn’t going to survive, even if they treat him. He wants to know if she wants them to try to keep the baby alive. Simone doesn’t know what to do.

Nathan is hanging out with Ella, who seems content with a lollipop and is probably too young to understand that she could have had a ton more candy tonight. Elizabeth is annoyed that Nathan didn’t tell her he has Parkinson’s. He snarks that he’s sorry he embarrassed her. He was late today because his doctor wanted him to have an MRI.

Elizabeth apologizes for making him stay late. She’ll give him a pass on the physical aspects of this rotation as long as he keeps up with the other parts. Nathan wants to do everything, but Elizabeth warns that these six weeks will be exhausting and stressful. He says he’s here to treat patients. He doesn’t want special treatment – he wants to learn along with his classmates. Elizabeth tells him to think about it further and come back in two days. She thinks he’ll need tomorrow to rest up after a long night. Nathan insists that he’s fine.

Abby wakes Weaver from a nap so she can pronounce time of death for a patient. Weaver asks if they ever heard back from the neonatal ICU about admitting Simone’s baby. It’s a moot point, though – the baby has died. Weaver tells Abby to get a social worker while she moves Simone to a quiet room so she can spend as much time as she wants with the baby.

A drunk guy tells Abby she’s the most beautiful nurse in the hospital. She has class. Also, can he play with her breasts? Has anyone not sexually harassed Abby today? I guess the baby didn’t. The drunk whines that he’s dying (he’s not) and wants to “go to Heaven on the bosom of a beautiful woman.” Abby quips that his HMO doesn’t cover that.

Elizabeth is finally on her way home when Romano delays her. He used a laparoscopic camera to find and retrieve her wedding ring from the drain. He also apologizes for touching her face. I’m sorry, ROMANO just apologized for BEING INAPPROPRIATE? Did Hell freeze over?? Elizabeth assures him that he’ll work through this. He says of course he will.

Elizabeth and Ella get on an El train to go home. The next morning, they ride a train back to County, where Nathan joins his fellow students for rounds. He’s ten times more competent than they are. He may not be able to operate on patients, but at least he’ll be able to diagnose them and treat them with kindness.

Thoughts: Nathan is played by the awesome Don Cheadle, who got an Emmy nomination for the role. No matter how many times I watch the series, I always forget hes in it until I get to this episode. Jason’s girlfriend is played by Katee Sackhoff.

Laura Innes directed this episode.

Rejoice, because this is the last time we ever have to see Dale Edson!

We don’t see Luka do much teaching throughout the series, but he’s good at it when he lets Nathan help him with the baby. He’s clear with his instructions, he’s authoritative without being harsh, and he doesn’t let Nathan think his physical limitations are an excuse not to be successful. He basically lets Nathan know that he can do the job despite everything working against him. That said, Luka’s a jerk for the rest of the episode, so it’s hard to say something nice about him.