September 13, 2022

ER 11.18, Refusal of Care: Do More

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

From nurse to patient

Summary: Abby and Jake are asleep – drink! When she wakes up, she realizes they overslept and only have half an hour to get to the hospital for rounds (he’s on another ER rotation). She’s worried that people will talk when he shows up wearing the same clothes he had on the previous day, since he spent the night at her place.

At County, Pratt practices his Spanish, claiming he wants to relate better to the community. “Oh, yeah? What’s her name?” Neela asks. Heh. Luka’s done with a night shift, so Sam asks him to take Alex to soccer practice that afternoon. Luka thinks they should continue keeping their distance from each other, since Alex is still upset with Luka for not letting him go off with Steve.

Morris has teamed with Susan for a paper, and he’s taking it surprisingly seriously. Carter guesses that Susan’s working with him because he’s the only resident desperate enough to write about their topic. Neela asks Susan to let her run a trauma so she can feel a little more ready for the next year of her residency. Susan tells her to take the next patient, a woman named Elena who passed out. But Elena tells Neela, Susan, and Sam not to do anything until her lawyer has arrived. She’s on a hunger strike to protest her son’s deportation, and she’d rather gets the INS’s attention than stay alive.

Abby and Jake head to the hospital together, debating whether anyone will remember what he was wearing the day before. They run into a co-worker Abby doesn’t know, and Jake introduces her as his girlfriend. That makes her feel like they’re in middle school. Jake thinks she doesn’t want people to know they’re dating. They keep getting splashed with water and mud, and I guess it’s supposed to be funny. It also gives their colleagues a chance to tease them for matching when they change into scrubs. Frank clarifies that everyone thinks Abby and Jake are dating.

Elena accepts a warm blanket and water, but nothing else. Her lawyer, Coe, arrives and agrees with Elena that her condition might get the proper authorities to pay attention to her cause. You know, if it doesn’t land her in a coma first. They’re trying to get a new hearing for Elena’s teenage son, Santiago.

Elena came to the States in 1989 and has a green card. Her brother brought Santiago to Chicago seven years ago, and after Santiago was arrested for attempted robbery, he was transferred to immigration. Elena’s desperate to keep him from being deported to El Salvador – she’s convinced that he’ll be killed there. Coe has paperwork stating that Elena is competent to start a hunger strike and refuse nutrition even if she loses consciousness. Just giving her an IV would constitute felony assault. Coe will call the police if the staff tries to treat her without her consent.

Carter’s still working on his clinic, and he’s gotten support for HIV/AIDS treatment, as well as a daycare for either those patients’ children or for children who have HIV and AIDS themselves (it’s not clear). Weaver says they’re ready to start bidding with contractors, and she’d like for Carter to get personally involved in finding corporate sponsors. Carter says his family’s foundation will cover all the construction costs, plus an endowment for uninsured patients. He doesn’t want any corporate sponsors. In exchange, he wants to name the clinic, but he’d like to discuss that with some people first.

Abby examines an elderly woman named Birdie who was mugged. She and her sister, Rebecca, name two different streets where the crime occurred, and they claim they didn’t get a good look at the mugger. When Chuny takes Rebecca to get something to drink, Abby asks if Birdie wants to tell her anything in private. She suspects that Birdie was actually hurt by someone she lives with. Birdie promises that she’s safe in her home with Rebecca.

Coe asks Susan to talk to Elena’s case worker at the INS when she calls. Susan isn’t sure what to tell her. Frank tells Abby that he’s familiar with Rebecca and Birdie – they’re panhandlers. He’s upset that they’ve been left to beg for money in their advanced age. Wendall comes to the ER to talk to Elena and mentions that she recently read an article about Elena’s hunger strike. Frank can’t imagine going without food for as long as Elena has. He’s already hungry just a couple of hours after breakfast. Frank and I finally have something in common: The inability (and lack of desire) to skip a meal.

Weaver’s pleased with Carter’s philanthropy and asks how much involvement he wants to have with the clinic. He’d like a seat on the board and might see some patients, but he doesn’t want to be the director. Weaver has already collected some names of potential directors, and Carter has his eye on someone. She asks why Carter is suddenly building a clinic and donating all this money. He says Chicago needs it. Weaver gets that, but why is Carter moving forward now? He tells her that he’s been at County for 11 years and they haven’t done enough. He wants to do more.

While Carter tries to talk to Wendall but instead gets the brush-off, Pratt, Ray, and Jake tend to a woman named Debra who fell down a flight of stairs at work. She’s worried about how big her hospital bill will be. Chuny notes that she’s eligible for workers’ comp, but Debra is a temp, so she doesn’t qualify. She tries to downplay her condition, which is tough to do when you have a collapsed lung and possible internal bleeding. She protests her treatment but Pratt tells the team to keep working, since he thinks Debra is combative because she has a head injury.

After a talk with psych, Wendall tells Susan and Neela that Elena has been declared competent to refuse nutrition. Coe tries to get them to agree not to treat Elena, but before they can, Elena starts seizing. Coe tells the team to let her seize. Sam wants to treat her, but Wendall stands by Elena’s decision. Neela argues that they have a duty to tend to their patient. It’s up to Susan, who’s the most senior person on the case, but all she’ll allow is oxygen as a comfort measure. Neela goes a step farther, giving Elena Ativan to stop her seizure. Susan kicks her off the case.

Pratt and Ray have sedated Debra so they can fix her dislocated hip. Carter oversees as Pratt shows Ray what to do instead of doing it himself like he might have just a few weeks ago. While Jake’s doing some procedure on Debra, his scrub pants fall down. He’s wearing sterile gloves, so he asks Pratt to pull them back up for him. Pratt the homophobe refuses, and Ray pretends he’s too busy. Chuny claims she can’t because of sexual harassment liability. Someone should go get Abby.

Speaking of Abby, she spots Jake through the window and does a double take. Chuny snaps a picture of him, like, who’s liable for sexual harassment now? Abby tells Carter that she’s reviewing Rebecca and Birdie’s old charts because she suspects they’re the victims of elder abuse. She’s also asked Wendall to get involved, which leads to more awkwardness between her and Carter.

Elena’s stable but Susan isn’t sure she can keep going without nutrition. The staff wants to respect her wishes but not if this all ends up being for nothing. Sam notes that Santiago still might not get a new hearing, and he would have to live with his mother’s death on his conscience. Elena feels guilty for not being around when Santiago was little. She had him snuck into the States when he was 12, so his immigration status is on her. Sam thinks she’s done all she could and should accept treatment. Elena still won’t consent.

A man who doesn’t speak English tries to communicate with Frank at the admit desk. Abby is able to figure out that his wife is in their car, in labor. Pratt joins her to go to the car, where the wife is already ready to deliver. Pratt’s shaky grasp of Spanish fails him when he confuses “empuja” (push) with “puta” (whore). While the husband beats Pratt up for that, Abby calmly takes over the delivery.

Frank tells Susan that Chuck is on the phone for her, and that Cosmo might be sick. She has to deal with Morris and ignore Coe for a minute before she can take the call. Coe has gotten in touch with someone from INS, and he appreciates Susan for telling whoever it is that if Santiago doesn’t get a new hearing, Elena will probably die.

Neela tries to defend her actions with Elena, but Susan thinks that giving her Ativan was the equivalent of trying to revive a patient with a DNR. Neela says Elena was suffering; Neela couldn’t just watch her die. Susan tells her that she should have left the room. She agrees that withholding treatment from a patient who needs it isn’t right, but they have to follow the rules.

Pratt rejoins Ray and Carter, who have discovered that Debra may have cancer. Ray’s sad for her, since she’s nice. “I hear that’s a risk factor for cancer,” Pratt quips. Wendall meets with Rebecca and Birdie, noting that they’ve been mugged a number of times in the past couple of years. Birdie says it’s an “occupational hazard.” Abby ask why they have to panhandle. “Because they aren’t hiring at Hooters,” Rebecca jokes. Abby suggests calling social services, who’ve already been to the sisters’ place. They have excuses for everything, including reasons not to change their lives.

Sam wonders if INS might let Santiago visit Elena, since she could be dying. Susan notes that he might be able to get her to eat. Pratt and Ray go back to Debra, and during a breast examination, Pratt detects a mass. She’s aware of it but never got it checked out. She’s not interested in surgery now, thinking that if you operate on cancer, it spreads and kills you.

Abby gives Rebecca and Birdie some money as she sees them off. “No wonder your patient satisfaction scores are so high,” Sam teases. Santiago arrives in an INS van as Neela, Frank, Ray, and Chuny wonder if Jake wears boxers or briefs. Okay, this is definitely sexual harassment. They ask Abby, who says he goes commando. Abby, don’t encourage them!

Santiago knew that Elena was protesting his detention but wasn’t aware that she’s been on a hunger strike for 41 days. He gets to see Elena for the first time in six months, and he urges her to let the staff treat her. Pratt and Ray discuss Debra, whose reaction to her diagnosis doesn’t surprise Pratt. She’s from an area where people don’t get preventive treatment, so by the time they get a diagnosis, it’s too late to save them. Then their friends blame the surgery, since they were fine before it.

They return to Debra, trying to talk her into a biopsy so they can figure out how to treat her. Ray thinks she’s resisting because of money; if she does have cancer, she’ll qualify for state aid. Debra says it’s not about money. The doctors can’t get through to her, since she’s been sick for two years now and has been getting by fine. They tell her they want to help her, but other than medicine, they can’t – they can’t get her to and from treatments or take care of her when she’s sick from chemo.

Santiago asks Elena why she’s risking her life. He tells Susan and Sam to force her to eat. He doesn’t want Elena’s help; he can take care of himself. He wishes she’d forgotten about him and left him in El Salvador. As the guards with him remove him from the room, Susan asks what his problem is. Santiago says he didn’t ask his mother to go on a hunger strike on his behalf. Susan thinks it might be better if he gets deported.

He tells her that his life in El Salvador was good, no matter what Elena says. She ruined it. Susan notes that Elena wanted them to be together. Santiago didn’t spend much time with his mother, though, since she had to work two jobs. Susan tells him that she wanted a better life for him. “You think it worked out?” Santiago asks, holding up his handcuffed wrists. He thinks Elena’s doing this for herself, not him, because she feels guilty. If she wants to die, they should let her.

Carter asks Wendall if she wants to get lunch or dinner with him, but she doesn’t seem interested. They both admit that they feel bad about how things ended between them. She wishes she’d been able to figure out what was going on in his head, like she can with patients. He offers to bring her some stuff she left at his place. She says she’ll come by and get it – he can just leave it on the front steps. Ooh, ouch.

Susan doesn’t think Santiago’s visit will get Elena to break her hunger strike. An INS agent says it’s too bad that she’ll die and Santiago will get deported anyway. There’s still a chance that he’ll get a new hearing, though it might not do anything. Sam lets Susan know that Elena is now unconscious and unresponsive. Frank has learned from the Internet that the longest some IRA prisoners in Belfast were able to go without food was 45 days, four days longer than Elena.

Morris has been working on his and Susan’s paper all day, and he’s sure that they can get it submitted on time. Susan doubts it, but he’s desperate, since he needs something to make him look better as a candidate for chief resident. She tells him it’ll take more than being published. Carter chats with Debra but is also unable to convince her to have a biopsy or get treatment. Pratt’s not happy, but Carter reminds him that they have to respect her wishes. They can’t do anything if she doesn’t trust the medical system.

Abby and Jake treat a man named Adrian who’s having problems with his thyroid. While Jake’s doing something with his eye, he starts coughing and his eyeball BULGES OUT OF THE SOCKET. AHHHHHHHH! This show should come with a trigger warning. Sam confides to Neela that she only would have waited about five minutes longer than Neela did to give Elena Ativan. Elena’s awake now, and when Sam and Neela go check on her, they discover that someone has given her an IV that contains multivitamins. Neither of them gave orders for it. Sam guesses it was Susan.

Luka arrives for a new shift and helps Abby and Jake with Adrian. Apparently they just need a paper clip. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Adrian’s kind of freaked out, but much less than you’d expect. It helps that Abby, Jake, and Luka are all so calm. They fix him up and it’s like nothing happened. BUT I WILL NEVER FORGET.

Susan tells Elena that she gets to choose if she wants more nutrition after her IV is done. She’s getting attention from the press now, and INS is taking her seriously. She’s done all she can, so it’s okay for her to end her hunger strike. Elena refuses until Santiago is allowed to stay in the States.

She tells Susan and Sam that he wasn’t always like this. He did one stupid thing, then joined a gang in jail. She tried hard when he was younger, but you can never know how your child will turn out. Susan and Sam get that no matter how hurt and angry Santiago is, Elena would still do anything for him. Susan thinks he still cares about her. She lies that the last thing he said to her before he left was, “Please don’t let her die.”

Pratt brings in a woman named May to talk to Debra. She’s a breast cancer survivor whose illness started the same way as Debra’s. Pratt tells Ray that the cancer ward has “navigators” who help patients through the treatment process. (What an awesome idea!) He thinks Debra might listen to May more than she’s listened to the doctors.

Wendall goes to Carter’s brownstone, but he hasn’t put her stuff outside, since he’s just now getting home. He invites her inside but she declines. As he’s giving her things to her, the phone rings, but this time he doesn’t answer. Abby and Jake leave work together, brainstorming how to label each other since she objects to “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.” He thinks she’s scared of something, but she says she just doesn’t want to move too fast. He tells her she has two weeks to get that sorted out. Then he wants to take her to a big family gathering, his niece’s baptism.

It’s a good thing Carter didn’t answer the phone while Wendall was there because Kem called. He immediately calls back after listening to her message and tells her he’d like to name the clinic the Joshua Carter Center. Joshua is what they named the baby. Back at County, Elena has agreed to eat. She prays over the meal, and Sam and Susan join her to say, “Amen.” She cries as she breaks her hunger strike with Jell-o. Meanwhile, Susan talks to Cosmo over the phone, reciting his favorite book, Hippos Go Berserk. Unlike Elena, Susan’s biggest problem is that her son just doesn’t want to go to sleep.

Thoughts: Birdie is played by Louise Fletcher.

If Elena wouldn’t let the staff treat her, why didn’t they just release her? Doesn’t refusing medical care mean you’re not a patient anymore? Also, she was taking up a bed.

I’m surprised that Sam, who we’ve seen sympathize with parents in the past, isn’t more supportive of Elena’s efforts.

I bet they charged Adrian $90 for that paper clip.

Though we don’t find out what happens to Debra or what she decided, when Susan’s on the phone in the last scene, we see Debra passing by with May, holding her hand. I think May got through to her.

August 23, 2022

ER 11.15, Alone in a Crowd: Have MERCI

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

Another excellent performance by a guest star

Summary: Sam and Luka are walking to work when they pass some students getting off a bus. One of them bumps into Sam and apologizes, calling her “ma’am.” Sam’s surprised that she’s aged out of the “miss” category. She asks if Luka would guess that’s old enough to have a fifth-grader if he didn’t know her. He says he can see here with a toddler, but she’s not interested in doing the whole baby thing all over again. She asks if Luka thinks about having kids. It’s not something she can imagine doing at this point in her life.

A woman named Ellie Shore is trying to wrangle her kids for their after-school activities. Her sons, Christopher and Lucas, are fighting, and her teenaged daughter, Erin, gets annoyed when Ellie says she can’t go to a friend’s house. Ellie sends the kids off with their father, Dan, then goes to the kitchen to clean up. She suddenly collapses on the floor.

In an ambulance, Ellie tries to convince the paramedics that she doesn’t need to go to the hospital. They don’t listen. We see things from Ellie’s point of view as Luka, Abby, and Sam start caring for her at County. She continues insisting that she doesn’t need medical attention. But a shot of Ellie shows that she definitely does – she can’t move her face, and all the things she thinks she’s said out loud have been garbled.

Neela gets ready for work while Ray and his band have a loud jam session in the living room. Ray offers to give her a ride in, since he’s also working, despite their attempts to work opposite shifts. He had to switch with someone because the band has a gig coming up. He asks if Neela’s okay with some of the guys staying there, but he doesn’t wait for her to answer. One of the guys asks if she plays an instrument. Yes – the viola. Well, at least they’re nice.

We’re back in Ellie’s POV as she wonders why no one’s listening to her when she says she’s fine. She decides to talk louder, which doesn’t have any effect on her speech. Luka tells her she’s at County, which Ellie isn’t happy about. She starts to realize that things aren’t actually okay when Luka tells her to squeeze his hand and she finds that she can’t feel half of her body. Sam removes Ellie’s clothes, which distresses her more, since she didn’t plan to stay in the hospital.

Carter and Wendall go for a run together, something she does all the time that he clearly doesn’t enjoy. She notes that they’ve been seeing each other for three months. Back at County, Jane and a couple other students ask Pratt questions (two about patients, one about dating on a low budget). He’s obviously starting to embrace his role as a kind of mentor. He even agrees to attend some sort of dinner to accept an honor County is receiving. Morris thinks he’s sucking up to Susan, but Pratt says he would never do that.

Morris invites anyone who’s interested to go out for drinks after work. He wants to celebrate the fact that Weaver’s on vacation, as well as gain some allies, since he wants to eventually become chief resident. Neela agrees to go, since it’s better than going back to her apartment and dealing with Ray’s bandmates. Pratt also accepts Morris’ invitation, and they scamper off when Susan asks if the “big kids” are being excluded.

Ellie realizes that she’s not actually able to say anything out loud. She doesn’t know what could be so wrong with her, since she’s healthy and only 35. She starts worrying about her kids, who will need to be picked up, but all she can do to get the staff’s attention is gesture like she wants to write something. Sam notices and brings her a pen and paper. However, her writing is illegible. Luka tells her that she probably had a stroke, and it’s affecting her ability to communicate. Ellie thinks that the effects have to be temporary, since only old people have strokes.

Abby runs into Jake, and Chuny gives her a pointed smile when she spots them together. Abby’s getting self-conscious, so she wants to spend a little less time with Jake when they’re at work. She says she’s only told one person about them (Neela), and he claims he hasn’t told anyone. Speaking of Neela, she seems to be contemplating moving back in with Abby, since her place is quieter than Ray’s.

Neela goes to the waiting area for her next patient, a little boy named Clayton who got some minor injuries from falling off the kitchen counter. His brother and sister, Tucker and Bridget, are with him; Tucker, the oldest, is probably no older than 13. He says their father went to get coffee, then leaves to find him while Neela takes Tucker and Bridget into the ER.

As a neighbor of Ellie’s brings her kids in, Sam gives Ellie a blanket and a comforting smile, which makes Ellie think that her condition isn’t that bad after all. Then again, Sam’s a nurse, so maybe she doesn’t know what’s going on. Abby’s a doctor and isn’t smiling as much, which could mean it’s bad. As for Luka, he’s tall and handsome. Yeah, you lucked out here, Ellie.

Her kids come in to see her, and she’s concerned by how worried they are about her. Erin says she was fine the last time they saw her. Ellie starts coughing, and Sam and Abby send the kids away so they can help her. They wind up putting her on a ventilator. When she wakes up from sedation for her intubation, she’s distressed because she can’t move.

A CT doesn’t show any hemorrhaging in Ellie’s brain, so a neurologist named Medford guesses she has a clot. Abby suggests TPA, but if Ellie’s stroke happened more than three hours ago, the treatment could cause a brain bleed. Her best outcome is the restoration of collateral flow. Then she can have physical therapy. Medford tells Abby and Sam that patients in Ellie’s condition don’t often make a meaningful recovery. There’s one other option, though: a procedure called MERCI, where a catheter is inserted in the brain to remove the clot. It basically reverses the stroke, but there are major risks.

Ellie’s getting more distressed, since she can’t see now and she can’t let anyone know. (It looks like the issue is just that she can’t open her eyes, not that she’s blind.) While Sam and Abby are examining her, Sam asks if Luka has ever talked to Abby about his kids. She notices that Ellie’s crying. Abby thinks that one of the sedatives they gave her wore off before the other medication, which means she’s still paralyzed but is now conscious enough to realize it. Ahhh! Nightmare!

Paramedics bring in a man named Kevin who got caught in the middle of a riot while running an errand for his grandmother. Susan overhears Morris saying he can’t have any more pain medication until they make sure he’s actually hurt. Well, the paramedic said he had burns, and you can’t exactly fake those, so…I’d say he’s hurt.

Luka tells Susan they should remove Morris from their list of potential chief residents. There aren’t any better candidates, though. Luka thinks Pratt could do it, and he points out that med students and interns already go to him when they have questions. Susan has a lot of reservations about him and hasn’t seen him demonstrate the leadership qualities a chief resident needs.

Abby and Sam take Ellie back to the ER as Ellie internally begs for someone to help her. Luka reassures her that she’s experiencing a normal side effect of her treatment, and they’ve given her something to calm her down. When she wakes up, she’ll be able to open her eyes again. Dubenko pulls Abby away to tell her that a patient they treated the day before was experiencing abdominal pain because of a condom full of cocaine. He suggests that she write up the case for publication. He’ll help her. Abby protests, since she doesn’t like him, but he talks her into it.

Neela examines Clayton, whose injuries aren’t serious. He and Bridget mention that they were making dinner when he fell. Neela praises them for being grown-up and helping their parents. Tucker brings in their father, Mr. Davis, and Neela smells alcohol on him. He says he just had a beer. She goes to Pratt for guidance, but he’s already helping a bunch of people. He reminds Neela that he’s not the only third-year resident she can turn to. Yeah, but isn’t Morris her only other option? No one wants his help.

Ellie wakes up and is relieved that her condition has improved – well, improved so that she’s back to where she was when she was brought in. Sam kindly talks to her like she can hold up her end of the conversation. She even senses when Ellie has caught a whiff from a nearby patient who’s soiled herself. Sam treats that patient nicely as well, but Ellie must be worrying that she’ll also end up unable to care for herself.

Ray, Morris, and Chuny treat Kevin, skeptical when he says he wasn’t part of the riot. Outside the room, Morris tells Ray not to worry if he’s unable to spot con artists. It took Morris until his second year to get good at it. Ellie sings “I Think I Love You” in her head as Luka examines her. She notices that he’s not wearing a wedding ring and has a sexy accent. Then she’s embarrassed for feeling like a teenager with a crush. Her heart starts racing and she gets dizzy. She flatlines, but they stabilize her.

Dan arrives and Luka tells him what they’ve figured out: Ellie’s stroke was probably caused by an abnormal heart rhythm, which sent a clot to her brain. He apologizes for the pain Ellie just went through, but the good news is that they can give her the right medication. Ellie’s happy to see her husband and wants to comfort him more than she wants his comfort.

Luka and Abby tell Dan that they want to try the MERCI procedure. Ellie’s on board, but Dan’s hesitant because of the risks involved. Doing nothing will keep her alive, but not the kind of alive Ellie wants to be. She wishes they could hear her giving consent. She’s able to move her arm, and when Dan comes to her bedside, she tries to communicate to him that she wants the procedure. Something gets through to him and he gives his consent.

Neela updates Mr. Davis on Clayton’s condition as he scarfs down a meal tray the hospital provided to him and the kids. They took the El in to the hospital, so Neela offers them a cab voucher. Bridget’s really excited about that. Morris signs off on Neela’s treatment, but she thinks there’s something strange going on with the family. Morris dismisses her concerns about Mr. Davis having had what he said was only one beer.

Sam and Abby take Ellie for the MERCI procedure while gossiping about Medford, who’s rumored to be sleeping with a med student. Hmm, he and Abby have something in common! They say goodbye to Ellie, who’s not happy about being left with strangers now that she’s come to like the ER staff. She’s also not happy that the procedure, which involves a catheter being inserted through her groin, requires her to have some of her pubic hair shaved.

Abby goes to Dubenko’s office so they can work on her paper together. He wants to work over dinner in a restaurant. Um, red flag. Speaking of dinner, Carter and Wendall have attempted to cook something, but they end up ordering a pizza instead. Wow, they’re so interesting, aren’t they? Kevin’s grandmother arrives and confirms his story that he went out to run an errand for her, not to take part in a riot. Pratt isn’t happy to hear that Morris accused Kevin of lying.

He pulls Morris out of the room to confront him. Morris doesn’t think he was out of line, since people lie all the time about this sort of thing. But Kevin’s Black, so Pratt thinks Morris made a racist assumption. Susan listens in as Pratt tells him to go apologize to Kevin and his grandmother. She praises him for showing some leadership and tells him that Carter and Luka want him to apply to be chief resident. Pratt isn’t interested.

Luka and Sam meet with Ellie’s family to talk about her condition. Luka tells them to support each other and send her good thoughts. Erin’s upset because she was nasty to her mother earlier, but Luka assures her that Ellie knows she didn’t mean what she said. He tells the family he’ll check on Ellie for them. As the MERCI procedure starts, Ellie focuses herself by thinking about her kids’ births. Luka comes in so she’ll have someone familiar with her.

Abby and Dubenko go to dinner, and he tries to make small talk when it’s clear she just wants to get started on her paper. This is obviously a date disguised as work. Ellie’s feeling down, and as the doctors find the clot, she contemplates just letting go. Carter and Wendall have followed up dinner with sex, and she settles in at his place for the night without any discussion about whether she’ll stay.

Ray and Neela shop together at the mini-mart, discussing the possibility that Morris will be chief resident. Neela thinks it should be Pratt. Mr. Davis comes in alone and Neela asks where the kids are. Clayton has a concussion, so he needs to be monitored all night. Mr. Davis ignores her, then finally reveals that he doesn’t have any kids. Tucker paid him a few dollars to pretend that he was the kids’ father.

Ellie revisits some happy memories as the procedure continues. Even the noisy, messy times were good. Neela returns to the hospital and tries to find a social worker to help her with the Davises. Six hospitals are sharing two for the night shift, so it could be a while. Ray thinks that Tucker is responsible enough to look after Clayton for the night. Neela wonders why he lied about his father. They guess that the address he wrote on the paperwork is right, though, so Neela decides to go over and check on the family. Pratt approves her request to leave, telling her to take Ray with her.

Carter wakes up to a phone call from Kem. Ooooooh. Wendall gets dressed and leaves, understandably not wanting to lie in bed next to her boyfriend while he talks to his ex. Carter follows her out and apologizes for being rude. Wendall asks if she’s just a diversion for him until he and Kem are in the same country.

Carter paints this like he’s just being nice because he and Kem had a child together, as if he doesn’t still love her and want to be with her. And let’s not forget that he’s living in the house he bought for them to live in together. Wendall’s annoyed that Carter didn’t tell Kem he was in bed with someone else. (That would have been weird, but he could have at least left the room for the call.) He tries to assure her that he’s committed to their relationship, but he can’t say what she wants him to say. He just apologizes again. She appreciates his honesty, but she’s done with him.

The doctors doing the MERCI procedure are able to reach the clot, and the retrieval goes perfectly. Luka decides to take Ellie back to the ER to take her off the ventilator, to be on the safe side. Neela and Ray go to the Davises’ apartment, and Tucker wakes up his brother and sister, expecting that they’re going to be split up and sent to different foster homes. Their mother is the only parent around, and she’s in a bedroom with a towel tucked under the door. Neela and Ray quickly determine that she’s dead. Tucker says she got sick a week ago.

Jake, Jane, Abby, and a couple other students show up to Morris’ get-together. Morris offers himself up as a mentor to the others, but I don’t think anyone’s interested. Pratt skips the gathering and goes home, perfectly content to drink beer and watch sports by himself. Ellie returns to the ER, now showing no signs that she had a stroke. When she’s extubated, the first thing she says to Luka and Sam is, “Thank you.” They look on happily as her family comes in to see her.

Thoughts: Ellie is played by Cynthia Nixon. Bret, one of Ray’s bandmates (who says and does nothing in this episode but is in a couple more after this), is played by Misha Collins. Camryn Grimes, who plays Erin, is Scott Grimes’ (Morris) niece.

This episode highlights again what a good nurse Sam is, but we also get to see Luka shine in the bedside-manner department – not because he’s warm and fuzzy but because he explains things so patients understand them and helps keep them from worrying when they don’t need to.

I love when Ellie can’t think of the rest of the chorus of “I Think I Love You” – Cynthia Nixon’s delivery of “I don’t know the rest” is hilarious.

August 9, 2022

ER 11.13, Middleman: Grow Up

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

I really don’t know the point of Dubenko at this point in the series, other than to be annoying

Summary: Pratt’s awake in bed, listening to a woman named Lena as she makes sex-like sounds in his shower, thanks to a lack of hot water. He suggests that they both call in sick to work so they can spend the day in bed, but Lena’s a lawyer and can’t just skip a court appearance. She can’t see Pratt that night, either, since she’s going out with friends for someone’s birthday. Pratt has a run of night shifts coming, so it’ll be a while before they can meet up again. Lena isn’t sad about that, though – she tells Pratt she doesn’t see a future with him. She wants to be with someone who’s more of an adult.

At County, Carter quizzes the med students and interns while handing out assignments. Ray immediately asks Sam to give his patient an IV, but Pratt tells him to do it himself now that he’s a resident. Carter agrees that everyone should insert their own IVs today. Ray complains that Carter and Pratt are making up pointless rules just because they can. Abby comments that he woke up on the wrong side of the waterbed this morning.

Susan’s trying to schedule shifts but doesn’t have enough attendings available. Carter suggests that she hire some part-timers, but she says they already have budget problems. Pratt tells Sam to schedule a patient for a CT, and she tells him an attending needs to sign off on that, a rule recently put in place to cut down on unnecessary scans. Susan notes that Pratt barely examined his patient anyway, so he can’t know for sure that the patient needs a CT. Pratt grumbles that he’s been ordering his own CTs since he started at County. He asks Carter to back him up in calling the rule dumb, but Carter says it’s Susan’s ER.

Pratt tries to treat a patient who just demands painkillers. Morris tells Pratt about all the complaints a frequent flier has come in with. Pratt says she’s just lonely and makes the same complaints every time so she can hang out for a few hours. He advises Morris to call Wendall to come talk to her.

Susan’s applying for a grant to study the effects of some medication, and she enlists Pratt to do the scut work, promising to put his name on the paper. Pratt doesn’t care about research or publishing, which will hurt him in a few years when he’s going up against published doctors for jobs. Pratt snarks that he’s going to write a paper about abusive attendings. Boo hoo, she made a couple of rules. Would you rather have Romano back?

Abby works with Jake again, but all he can focus on is the fact that she turned him down when he asked her out. She reminds him that she’s his supervisor right now, so it wouldn’t be right. He points out that it’s only temporary. She can’t let a “false sense of hierarchy” stand in their way. They go together to see a patient named Mrs. McDow who’s having chest pain.

Pratt examines a boy named Thomas who complained of feeling sick that morning. His stepmother, Andrea, brought him in and explains that he and his older brother, Casey, are staying with her and her husband while his mother does prison time for drugs. (None of this backstory ends up being relevant. I don’t know why she’s oversharing.) Pratt sees a gash on Thomas’ chest and asks where it came from. Casey gives Thomas a look that seems kind of intimidating, and Thomas says he doesn’t remember what happened.

Jane is less than eager to help Susan with her grant research, but at least it gives her an excuse not to do Ray’s scut work. Wendall chats with a woman named Ms. Slattery who has chronic pain and has never been able to get any help at County (no, I don’t know why she keeps coming back). Wendall asks Ray why he called her to the ER to talk to a patient who doesn’t want her help. Ray admits to passing Ms. Slattery along to complain to someone else so he didn’t have to listen to her. Wendall’s pleased when Pratt asks her to talk to Thomas, since that’s a situation where she might actually be helpful.

Paramedics bring in a man named Lysander who was shot in the chest. (His mom named him after the character from A Midsummer Night’s Dream because she wanted him to have the name of a romantic hero. Instead, she probably doomed him to a childhood full of wedgies.) Dubenko joins Luka and Pratt to treat him as Lysander talks about how strange the situation is. A cop comes in and handcuffs him to his gurney, telling the doctors that he’s being charged with assault.

Sam goes in with Wendall to talk to Thomas, who tells them he got hurt climbing a fence. He didn’t want to say anything because he thought he might get in trouble for ripping his shirt, which he borrowed from Casey. Casey assures him that it’s not a big deal. Mrs. McDow’s EKG shows that she might have a problem with her heart muscle. Abby and Jake practically flirt right in front of her.

Susan implements a policy about tracking the time spent charting, then gives Abby some surveys to hand out. I think Susan has taken delegation too far. Carter doesn’t like that she’s trying to get a grant from a pharmaceutical company. She reminds him that the makers of Zarictal, the drug he was railing against in the last episode, give County over $50,000 in grants every year. Carter thinks they should be more “creative” about finding funds. It’s a conflict of interest that the hospital relies on money from pharmaceutical companies.

Susan tells him that she never expected to have to suck up to corporations, but that’s medicine. Carter says they owe their patients better. She argues that this is how they keep their doors open so they can treat any patients at all. He thinks they’re compromising their independence. Susan tells him a lot of doctors had to learn about compromising in med school, something he never had to think about because he always had all the money he needed (and then some).

Luka and Dubenko disagree on where Lysander’s bullet may have traveled and whether or not he needs surgery. Dubenko wants to be the one to decide, since he’s a surgeon and Luka isn’t. Lysander asks Pratt if the doctors are actually fighting over him. Luka won’t back down, insisting that Lysander get a CT scan. Dubenko signs paperwork to have Lysander admitted to the ER as a surgical patient, meaning he gets to make the decisions now.

Luka broods over this on a coffee run with Sam. She tells him surgeons and ER doctors always battle like this, and he shouldn’t take it personally. He needs to let this go. I don’t know, I think if a bullet’s involved, maybe they should err on the side of caution. Paramedics bring in a guy named Dan who was shot with an arrow during a frat hazing ritual. A frat brother who came in with him tells Jane he didn’t think Dan would actually let them shoot arrows at him. “I’m glad I’m not a guy,” she replies.

Pratt discharges Thomas, but Wendall asks Andrea to keep him around a little while longer. She chastises Pratt for asking her to consult, then ignoring her assessment. He notes that her assessment was that Thomas’ injury matched his story, so there’s no need for her to do anything else. She says she won’t sign off on Thomas’ discharge until she’s talked to him alone. Pratt scoffs that he doesn’t need her to sign off.

Morris asks Wendall to take a teen girl’s sexual history for him, since he thinks she would rather talk to a woman. Wendall complains that the ER doctors keep dumping their patients on social workers and making them do things they don’t want to do themselves. She tells Pratt he should have paged her before discharging Thomas. He notes that she’s now said the doctors call her too often and not often enough. He tells Andrea that Thomas can go.

Dan will need surgery to remove the arrow, but first he needs an IV in the ER. Abby tells Jane she can do it, and Jane says Jake told her Abby was cool about letting med students do procedures. That’s what convinced her to switch with him. Abby’s confused, and Jane clarifies that Jake exchanged his remaining shifts with her so he can work nights with Neela as his supervisor. He claimed it’s because he wants to see how other interns work.

Luka ropes Pratt into helping him with a procedure to see if Lysander has internal bleeding. Pratt reminds him that Lysander is Dubenko’s patient now, but Luka doesn’t care. Carter tries to make small talk with Susan before apologizing for being a bad team player. She apologizes as well, saying she has a lot going on and took out her frustrations on him. Carter almost misses being an intern, when the higher-ups made all the big, adult decisions and protected them from all the administrative stuff.

Wendall tells Carter she’s blacklisting the ER for the rest of the day. No one listens to her – doctors only care about what other doctors have to say. If the residents need babysitters for their patients, they can call candy stripers. Carter’s really confused. Luka talks Pratt through Lysander’s procedure, then has to leave to take care of another patient. Pratt sends Jane with him and stays behind with Sam. He seems willing to risk getting caught in there by Dubenko.

Lysander comments that Luka seems like a good boss. His own boss is a year younger than he is and makes Lysander call him Mr. Meegly. Last night Lysander rearranged a display at their store, and this morning his boss made him change everything back. He’s not allowed to make those kinds of decisions in his own department. Lysander has spent 14 years working holidays and covering for Mr. Meegly while he cheats on his wife. Today Lysander nabbed a gun from the store and fired it into the air in Mr. Meegly’s office. He’s proud of himself, even though it resulted in Mr. Meegly shooting him and the police arresting him.

Dubenko catches Pratt at the end of the procedure and basically calls Luka’s bluff – if he’s so sure that Lysander needs exploratory surgery, they’ll do it right there in the trauma room. Okay, Dubenko, this is a lesson for Luka, not Pratt. Don’t drag Pratt into it. Fortunately, he’s just messing with Pratt. Pratt defends Luka, who normally tries to talk the staff out of doing unnecessary tests. Dubenko thinks the doctors should be more restrained.

Luka comes in and tells Dubenko to address his Luka-related issues with him, not Pratt. Dubenko accuses Pratt of defying his orders to do Lysander’s procedure. Luka says that surgeons often blow off the ER doctors, so he’s developed intuition about what kind of treatment his patients need. Dubenko says he relies on evidence, and the evidence here doesn’t point to Lysander having a significant amount of internal bleeding. He decides to step things up to get Lysander a bed so Luka no longer has access to him.

Mrs. McDow needs to have a vessel unblocked, and Abby offers to call her family to come be with her. She doesn’t have anyone local, so Jake says he’ll hang out with her, since his shift is almost over. Abby admires this and praises his work on his ER rotation, but she won’t talk about the elephant in the room. He pointedly doesn’t bring it up, either.

Pratt good-naturedly tells Luka to leave him out of his next turf war with Dubenko. Luka says it’s about the patient, not a power struggle. Pratt asks why Luka’s so sure he’s right and Dubenko, who’s seen hundreds of gunshot wounds, is wrong. Luka just wants to listen to his intuition. Pratt says he made them look foolish, but Luka isn’t worried about that.

Abby says goodbye to Jake, since they’ll be working different shifts from now on. He finally finds himself unable to keep up their standoff, and he tells her straight out that he switched to night shifts so he wouldn’t be her student anymore, which should allow them to date. After she fills out his evaluation, he wants to take her out. She says no, but obviously he’s not going to listen.

Jane asks Pratt if he’s thought about being a surgeon. He tells her his surgical rotation in med school was enough. Sam lets Pratt know that Lysander is yawning, even though he doesn’t seem tired. He tells her to call Dubenko. Thomas comes back in, this time via ambulance, after having been found beaten on his school playground. Morris remembers that Pratt and Wendall dealt with him earlier.

Pratt thinks Lysander has an injury to his diaphragm, so Luka helps him set up a procedure to confirm it. Lysander makes a phone call while they’re working, wanting to tell his boss’ wife that he’s been cheating on her…and also that Lysander loves her. Luka, Pratt, and Sam all seem to find this sweet. P.S. Pratt was right about Lysander’s injury.

Ray calls Sam to Thomas’ trauma room, where he, Carter, and Morris are trying to revive the boy. Wendall comes in and is horrified to see him covered in bruises. As Dubenko takes Lysander to surgery, Pratt passive-aggressively chastises him for being wrong about his condition. Dubenko thinks he should write up the case. Pratt gets him to admit that Luka was right all along, though Dubenko is pretty willing to confirm it. Lysander thanks Pratt, saying this might have been the best day of his life.

Pratt goes to Thomas’ trauma room to offer extra help and realizes the patient is his from that morning. Wendall wishes she’d finished her interview with him. Thomas’ injuries are extensive and Carter doesn’t think they’ll be able to save him, but Pratt won’t give up on a child, especially when his family hasn’t arrived yet.

After almost 45 minutes, they’re finally there, and Sam says they can go see him. She watches Casey, who stays out of the trauma room while his father and stepmother go in. He admits to Sam and Wendall that he saw some kids going after Thomas. They always bugged him about his clothes, which is why Casey loaned him a shirt. He tried to get Thomas to tell someone. His look of intimidation earlier wasn’t conveying, “Don’t say anything,” it was saying, “You need to speak up now.” But Thomas kept quiet because the kids threatened to kill him if he told. They’re only in the sixth grade.

Sam goes back into the trauma room as Carter and Pratt determine that they can’t do any more for Thomas. A few moments after they’ve stopped working on him, Pratt wants to try again, and Carter has to put his hands on Pratt’s to get him to stop giving Thomas chest compressions. Thomas’ father and stepmother are heartbroken, and the staff in the room aren’t any happier.

Abby turns in her evaluation of Jake, apologizing to Susan for not getting a chance to work on her surveys. Susan says it doesn’t matter, since they’re so backed up with everything. Abby asks if Carter’s press conference really screwed them that badly. Susan’s worried that the pharmaceutical company that makes Zarictal will pull their funding from County, leading other companies to do the same. Abby knows the powers that be will find money to keep the ER open, like they always do.

Susan confides that she could lose her job. Her tenure’s up for review and she hasn’t brought in enough money to get it. She’s supposed to bring in at least $100,000 a year. She compares it to being pimped out. She’s been working on the grant because it’s an easy way to bring in money. Now that she has Cosmo and Chuck, she can’t risk losing her job.

Luka tells Pratt that Lysander’s injury was pretty major, so Pratt saved his life. Pratt can’t be happy, though, since all he can think about is how he failed Thomas. Luka tells him they all missed what was going on, including Wendall. Pratt admits that he pulled rank on her. He hates how much responsibility fell into his lap today.

Neela clocks in for her night shift, surprised that Abby’s only handing off a couple of patients. Sam asks if anyone wants to go out; Abby says no but Susan says yes. Jane gives her some materials she asked for; she’s the only person Susan delegated to who completed her assignment. Susan offers to buy her a drink, and though Jane says no, she’ll take a recommendation instead. Ray praises her for that move. Sam invites Ray to come out with her and Susan, but he jokes that it would be weird to drink with an attending. Neela tells him that the plumber came to their now-shared apartment and fixed the shower. He’s happy but owes her $80.

Wendall takes a walk with Carter, reeling from how things turned out with Thomas because she didn’t do her job. Carter wants to make her feel better but she just wants to vent and cry. Pratt shows up at Lena’s friend’s birthday dinner so he can announce that his job is serious, which makes him an adult, whether she sees that or not. Whatever she’s looking for, he hopes she finds it. I hope she finds a guy who doesn’t interrupt her when she’s with her friends so he can toot his own horn. I also hope she finds a guy who doesn’t go to her home with a flimsy excuse to see her, like Jake does with Abby. She needs to sign some paperwork to bring an official end to his ER rotation. Once it’s done, she kisses him. Ugh. Abby deserves better!

Thoughts: Eddie Jemison (Lysander) is probably best known as Livingston in the Ocean’s 11 movies, which of course starred a certain ER alum.

Are we supposed to find Jake’s behavior endearing? I don’t. Abby said no, bro. Back off.

When Pratt diagnoses Lysander, he says that Sam noticed his yawning. Sam gives him a grateful smile, like she’s half pleased that he listened to her and gave her credit and half proud that he made the catch. I like that moment.

July 26, 2022

ER 11.11, Only Connect: Ready to Erupt

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

Oh, just get together already

Summary: Abby’s lying awake in bed just before her alarm goes off. It looks like she’s been awake for a while. On an El train, Sam and Luka discuss a concert she told Alex he couldn’t go to before Luka bought him a ticket. “It was only 50 bucks,” says the rich doctor. He thinks Sam’s worried about money and should let him pay for stuff sometimes, but really, this should be about the fact that she made a parenting decision and Alex played Luka against her. Luka thinks Sam’s worried about losing her independence. She’s annoyed that he’s once again telling her what she’s supposedly really mad about.

Neela’s still staying at Abby’s, so Abby hasn’t had to be alone in the aftermath of her kidnapping. Not that she seems to want anyone around, taking care of her. Neela asks if Abby’s really ready to go back to work that afternoon. Abby is, unsurprisingly, ready to go back to her normal life instead of dwelling on her feelings. She blurts out that she needs some space, and Neela says she’ll find her own place to live.

At County, Neela and Jane ask Pratt and Ray about rumors that the ER could close for financial reasons. Pratt tells them that that rumor goes around every year; it’s just a bluff for a government bailout. Neela wonders why the attendings are meeting in a trauma room. Pratt reminds her that they meet every month. She points out that they usually do it in a conference room. Neela, chill. Pratt tells everyone to get back to work, but Morris joins them and gets just as paranoid as Neela. Pratt tells him the attendings are talking about cutting a resident.

Weaver looks out the window and sees a group staring at her and the attendings, so Pratt tells everyone to disperse. Cut to the meeting, where they’re discussing what color to paint the conference room. Well, it’s not so much a discussion as Weaver declaring that they’re going with lime green because it’s her favorite color. Then they start talking about actual important stuff, including patients’ satisfaction scores. Abby is still the only resident with a decent score.

As the meeting moves out of the trauma room so it can be used for its intended purpose, Luka says that they need to teach the residents to connect better with their patients. Carter asks if he’s “the Croatian Dr. Phil.” Shut up, Carter. Susan notes that the residents can’t even communicate with each other. Luka says that med school turns people into scientists, and it’s up to County’s staff to turn those scientists into doctors. Weaver gives him the green light to work with the residents, since he can’t make them worse at their jobs.

Herb Spivak is hanging out in the waiting area, trying to convince people that they can sue the hospital for making them wait so long for treatment. Sam wheels in a patient, asking a teen named Amy to take a seat. She says she’d rather stand, and her brother, Cullum, says the seats are too small for her. Amy and I both tell him to shut up.

Sam tries to pass her patient off to Pratt, who mistakes her note that he “can’t bear weight” for an insistence that he “can’t wait.” Nearby, Carter advises Luka to start with Pratt in his new Better Communication Initiative. Morris offers a patient any amount of Vicodin he wants to just go away. Carter adds Morris to the list of top priorities. Yeah, I don’t think even Luka could fix him.

Wendall chats with Carter, who’s done with his night shift and is going to come back in a few hours to pick her up for dinner. Luka tells him to enjoy this part of the relationship, where they’re all happy and stuff, because he’s going to be spending the night fighting with Sam. Or you could back off and let her live her life. Just saying.

Sam assigns Neela to Amy, who has a cut on her head because Cullum hit her with a lamp. Ugh, that kid. Amy’s too nice to smack him when he makes another comment about her weight, but Sam has her back and drags Cullum out of the waiting area by his coat. Outside, Susan slips on some ice while coming back from a coffee run. Herb tries to talk her into suing the hospital for any injuries she may have sustained. (She’s fine.) She tells him she’ll have him kicked out if he tries to solicit any more clients.

Luka checks in on Neela as she’s examining Amy, then observes as Pratt talks to his patient, Meacham. Meacham is a fan of dad jokes, but Pratt doesn’t even give him a polite laugh. I would laugh at your jokes if I were your doctor, Meacham. Luka asks Sam for something, but she complains that she’s too busy to help him. Also, she definitely doesn’t want to.

She lets Amy know that her mother’s on the way. Amy clarifies that that’s her foster mother, Cullum’s mom. Amy’s been with the family for about ten months. She tells Sam and Neela that Cullum’s been acting out because he needs his medications adjusted. He has ADD and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Neela and Sam decide that since Amy’s a foster child in an unstable home, they need to get a social worker involved.

Luka chastises Pratt for not communicating well with Meacham. He needs to show his patients that he cares and is paying attention to everything they say. Neela hears this from down the hall and gets a free lesson. Pratt doesn’t see the point in making patients feel less ignored, since they have to wait so long for treatment that it’s impossible for them not to feel that way. Neela decides she needs to redo Amy’s examination. Luka tells her that when patients trust their caregivers, they heal faster.

Jane comments to Neela that it’s hard to work with Luka since he’s so attractive. Neela acts like she’s never noticed how hot he is. Hon, get your eyes checked. Paramedics bring in a teenaged John Doe with multiple gunshot wounds. Sam determines that he’s probably too injured to save, but Luka wants to give it a try anyway. Jane guesses that they’re just going to treat the patient like they’re practicing on him. Luka tells Neela to take the reins.

Some guy yells at Pratt in the ambulance bay, complaining that he could be having a stroke and Pratt won’t examine him. Pratt calmly tells him to go back to the waiting area. The guy threatens to sue, saying his lawyer has an office right nearby. Herb has set up an RV as a mobile law office so dissatisfied County patients can get legal support as soon as they walk out of the ER.

Luka has Neela keep working on their patient, even though there’s no way he’ll live. Sam can’t hide her annoyance at having to continue giving chest compressions to a corpse. Luka finally calls time of death, and Neela thanks him for showing her how to do a new procedure. Jane notes that the John Doe’s bright blue sneakers are brand-new. She wonders what he was thinking when he put them on this morning.

After Neela and Jane leave, Sam complains that Luka wasted time and energy on a guy who wasn’t going to live. She thinks that if Neela and Jane hadn’t been there, he would have declared the patient dead before he even came into a trauma room. Luka notes that he was able to teach them a procedure that they could one day use to save a life without the traditional supplies. Sam says she can’t waste her time on teaching cases; she has too much other work to do.

He reminds her that County is a teaching hospital, and part of their job is training doctors. She argues that it’s also a real hospital, and her real patients didn’t get their real medications because she spent 30 minutes helping someone who couldn’t actually be helped. Luka asks what she’s really mad about, because it can’t be this. Of course, Sam is upset that he’s again telling her that she’s mad about something other than what she’s mad about.

Neela looks for a new apartment at the admit desk. Ray tells her he just got a great two-bedroom apartment but his intended roommate backed out. The rent would be way cheaper than the studio she’s looking at, but then again, she’d have to live with Ray. She says she’ll think about it. Morris spots Herb in the waiting area again and goes to handle him, which is probably good since Pratt was going to do it and there’s no way that would end well.

Amy’s foster mother, Kitty, arrives and repeats to Neela what Amy said – Cullum needs to have his medications adjusted. Neela suggests that Kitty talk to a social worker; DCFS might also get involved in the case. Kitty downplays things, since kids fight and sometimes get hurt. Neela doesn’t want to break the rules, since this is standard when a foster child is involved. Kitty asks her to call this off, since she doesn’t want Amy to be taken away. Kitty genuinely loves her.

A second gunshot victim is brought in after a gang shootout. Pratt tells “Calamity Jane” to do a procedure she’s never done before. Susan observes as he, Ray, and Morris work together. Morris says that Herb wouldn’t leave because he claimed to be visiting a client. Ray intubates the patient but Pratt determines that he did it wrong. Instead of letting Ray try again, Pratt takes over to do it himself. Susan suggests that he try teaching instead. Nope! Pratt is definitely an “if you want something done right, do it yourself” guy.

Neela stitches up Amy’s cut, assuring her that she’ll only have a small scar. Kitty offers to take her to a salon and give her a hairstyle with bangs to cover it. When she leaves to go check on Cullum in the family room, Neela, sensing that Amy’s upset, invites her to open up. Amy says she knows she’s going to get removed from her foster home. She’s taken on a lot of responsibility when it comes to Cullum, but it’s the only home she’s been in where she’s not ignored or abused. She’s never felt needed before like Kitty needs her.

Neela tries to head off Sam before she calls a social worker, but it’s too late. They realize that Herb has put cups in the waiting area that have his face and phone number on them. Neela tells Sam that she jumped the gun and they don’t need to get a social worker involved in Amy’s case. Sam reminds her that it’s their regular procedure.

Remember Penny? She’s back. She’s doing something with Sam’s patient, since Jane said that Luka told her that Sam needs help today. Oh, Luka. Pratt continues to not really teach Ray and Morris while treating their patient. Susan tells him to manage his team, and he says he’s trying. She tells him he’s criticizing the residents and making them nervous. He replies that she’s doing the same thing to him.

After they stabilize the patient – or, I guess, Pratt stabilizes him – Susan withholds praise for his ability to do all the work he did in 15 minutes. He’s not supposed to do it all himself. Pratt doesn’t want to hear her “touchy-feely crap” just because the attendings had a “group hug” earlier. He’s not an intern. Susan tells him to stop acting like one. He’s responsible for teaching people under him, and he can either build or destroy their confidence. Pratt says the choice is really between building them up and saving people, and he’ll always go with the patient.

Wendall confers with Neela after chatting with Kitty and Amy. She thinks Amy should be removed from the home. Neela notes that she’s happy where she is, and there’s no guarantee that her next home will be better. Luka weighs in, siding with Neela, so Wendall says she’ll consider letting Amy stay put if Kitty agrees to take parenting classes. Eh, I think the better idea is for Cullum to take stop-being-annoying classes.

Luka busts Herb for trying to get business from Sam. Herb claims he’s waiting for treatment for a sore throat. Morris suggests that they treat him like a psych patient and restrain him. Listen, it’s not the worst idea Morris has ever had. Abby arrives and everyone welcomes her back warmly. Neela makes a call about the studio apartment she was looking at, but it doesn’t even have its own bathroom, so whoever listed it for $900 a month was really pressing their luck. Neela decides to take the risk and live with Ray. They work different shifts and might not even see each other.

A woman named Mrs. Barnes comes in, looking for her grandson, Michael. From his description, which includes blue sneakers, Neela realizes he’s the first John Doe shooting victim. She asks Mrs. Barnes to wait until she gets an attending, but Mrs. Barnes is anxious for news and goes looking for someone who can give it to her. Neela finally blurts out that they can’t confirm Michael’s condition until his body has been ID’d. Mrs. Barnes collapses in tears.

Susan fills Luka in on the situation and Neela’s umpteenth communication failure. Susan insists that basic people skills can’t be taught – people are either able to relate to others or they aren’t. Ray offers them croissants, which Herb brought for the staff. Susan throws them out, disappointing Ray, who thinks pastries are pastries, whether they’re provided by an annoying lawyer or not.

Abby gets right back in the swing of things, acting like she didn’t just go through a traumatic experience. Neela tells Amy that Wendall has agreed not to take her out of Kitty’s home. Amy is super-grateful and gives Neela a big hug. Luka’s pleased with Neela’s work, and she says she took his advice about connecting with patients. She laments that she didn’t do so well with Mrs. Barnes, though. He tells her she just needs more experience, then walks her through the process of informing someone about a patient’s death. Neela starts beating herself up, but he says she’s still learning.

Abby examines a woman with a big wound on her face; she’s supposed to be in a wedding and is worried that she’ll ruin the photos. Jane reminds her that everyone will be looking at the bride. Haleh took care of a patient for Sam at Luka’s request, clearly annoyed that he asked for special treatment for his girlfriend when all the nurses are busy. Abby finishes with her patient, advising her not to try to pluck her eyebrows in a moving car in the future. Oh, honey. What about that sounded like a good idea?

On her way out of the exam room, Abby nearly gets trampled by a patient Ray is chasing through the ER. Dubenko welcomes her back and starts to tell her about some colleague he contacted about trauma. It’s hard to hear since a couple is yelling for information about their son, Tevin. When the husband calls Haleh a b&^$% (ooh, bad call, my man), Abby flinches. It’s the first time all day she’s shown that she really was affected by her kidnapping. She goes back to her patient to show Jane how to do a certain kind of stitch. But when she’s about to start stitching, she decides she can’t stomach it just yet.

Susan tried to get security to make Herb move his RV, but when he threatened to sue, they backed off. Abby tells her that she may have come back too soon and isn’t in the right frame of mind to work. Susan is completely understanding and tells her to take all the time she needs. On her way to catch an El train, Abby encounters Jake.

Susan lets herself into Herb’s RV, where Meacham and Jerry are both lounging. Jerry! No! Bad clerk! Morris is there, too, but I’m not really surprised. Herb thinks Susan’s there to hire him so she can sue the hospital over her fall. Back at County, Sam confronts Luka for interfering with her work and life. Wendall interrupts to tell Luka that she has bad news about Amy’s case.

Abby dropped her phone, so Jake offers to see if he can fix it. He teases her for not noticing that he was gone for a week over the holidays. He went to Yellowstone, which he learned was an active volcano. It’s way overdue to erupt. If it did, it would wipe out most of the country and cause climate chaos all over the world. People would die in an instant. That’s how fragile life is, though Abby must already know that from working in the ER. Jake says it’s almost irrelevant, though, since the human lifespan is so short. Amused, Abby asks if he’s high.

Neela takes Mrs. Barnes to the morgue as Pratt takes Tevin’s parents to his trauma room (he’s the gunshot victim Pratt saved). Mrs. Barnes tells Neela that Michael’s mother died when he was five, and she raised her grandson on her own. Neela gently assures her that he didn’t suffer and wasn’t in pain. As Pratt lets Tevin’s parents in to see him, Neela tells Mrs. Barnes that she can take as much time as she needs to say goodbye to her grandson. But guess what – she doesn’t need any. The body in the morgue isn’t Michael, and the body in Tevin’s post-op bed isn’t Tevin.

Haleh calls Abby about a patient, and instead of trying to deal with things over the phone, Abby heads back to County. There, Weaver is furious that Michael and Tevin got mixed up. Susan blames a communication failure and takes full responsibility. Pratt does, too, noting that none of the doctors knew there were two John Does an hour apart, let alone that they were both 16-year-old Black boys with gunshot wounds. Neela adds that she and Pratt didn’t speak to each other about the cases or check the board.

Weaver asks who worked each trauma and whether there was any overlap in staff. Jane speaks up that she worked on both cases. Weaver doesn’t even know who she is. Jane says she put a name alert on the board. Susan asks why she didn’t say anything, and Jane replies that no one ever listens to her or even remembers when she’s in a room.

Herb shifts from trolling for law clients to trolling for people who want to join his timeshare pyramid scheme. Susan spots him and yells for security, which makes him run. Abby resumes her shift, telling Jake that she was just taking a break when she ran into him earlier. Luka takes over dealing with Tevin’s parents, telling Pratt that all they’ll remember from this is honesty and a doctor who cares. Pratt guesses that Susan wants him off the case, but he asks to go in with Luka and finish his job.

Security kicks Herb out, though he complains to Susan and Ray that his civil rights have been violated and the staff can’t keep him out of a public institution. Ray notes that his office is being towed. That finally gets him off their backs. But as Susan and Ray are going back inside, they hear a crash. Neela sees Amy leaving with a woman from DCFS and learns that she’s being taken to a group home. Amy’s understandably mad at Neela for telling her everything would be okay.

Neela blasts Wendall for going behind her back and having Amy removed from her home. Wendall says new information came up and Luka signed off on the change in plans. Neela goes to yell at him as Carter arrives to pick up Wendall. Wendall rants to him about all the annoying doctors she had to put up with today. Instead of commiserating or trying to defend his colleagues, Carter just tells her she’s right.

Luka wanted to wait until the end of Neela’s shift to tell her about Amy. She thinks he was trying to protect her. He tells her that there was a pattern of incidents that made it clear that Amy wasn’t safe in Kitty’s home. She’s sustained a number of injuries over the past few months, and though each one individually wasn’t a big deal, together they showed that things were bad. (I’d say they also show that Cullum’s medication isn’t the problem, or someone’s been negligent if it’s needed adjustment for this long.) Neela laments that she got Amy’s hopes up. Luka says he didn’t want to tell her about the change in plans because he didn’t want to bring down her confidence.

Ray examines Herb, who says he used to have a lot of money but made some bad business decisions. Susan takes some pleasure in making him sign a bunch of documents to protect the hospital from liability. Abby apologizes to Neela for being short with her that morning, but Neela appreciates the push to find her own place. Abby tells her to take her time moving in with Ray, and also, why is she moving in with Ray? Neela asks if Abby ever develops crushes on co-workers. Since Abby’s dated two of them, I’d say yes, she does.

Luka and Sam coolly wait for an El train together, so I guess that fight’s not over. She tells him he’s good at teaching other people how to communicate, and it’s something they should try in their relationship. I think she communicates just fine; he’s the one who needs to listen. He breaks the tension by trying to pin his communication issues on the fact that English isn’t his first language. Once Sam is smiling, he breaks the tension further by admitting that she was right about $50 being too much to spend on a concert ticket.

Thoughts: Mrs. Barnes is played by sitcom legend Marla Gibbs.

I feel for Amy and Kitty. I know a kid I’m pretty sure has ODD and it’s extremely frustrating. I’d still rather live in that house than take my chances with another foster family.

Herb gives me Saul Goodman vibes this time around. Better call Spivak! (Gus Fring would have taken him out in five seconds, though.)

July 19, 2022

ER 11.10, Skin: Empathy for the Devil

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

No one who holds a gun like that knows what they’re doing

Summary: Susan has received some patient satisfaction scores, and they’re not good. She tells Luka that 73 percent of respondents wouldn’t recommend County to others. They’re especially annoyed with the residents for not listening to them. Out of 5, Ray and Morris scored a 2.5, while Neela got a 2.12. Ouch. Luka asks about Abby, who crushed the others with a 4.15. However, she has other issues, Susan says.

Luka encourages her to help the residents see that they’ve mastered the science part of medicine so they can focus on their relational skills instead. They’re “works in progress” and can be taught. Susan notes that empathy and common sense can’t be taught. Ray proves that he, at least, hasn’t learned common sense by walking around in jeans and a T-shirt with the sleeves cut off. Susan reminds him and whoever’s hanging around that there’s a dress code about leather, tattoos, and piercings. Jerry clarifies that she means visible piercings. I will not be following up on that. Thank you for your understanding.

Pratt’s two minutes late for his shift, which Susan says is both irritating for whoever he’s supposed to be relieving and could lose him money from his paycheck. Two minutes, Susan? Come on. Pratt wasn’t listening, so Susan asks Abby if her employees ignore her because she’s a woman. Abby wasn’t listening, either. Heh.

Susan tells Abby that she reviewed some of her charts because she was busted for the way she handled Robert’s treatment. Abby’s offended but Susan has found multiple incidences where she’s cut corners or gone over people’s heads. Abby complains that Susan’s suddenly become strict about records so soon after getting promoted. In other words, Abby’s mad that her friend is doing her job and not giving her special treatment.

She says she’s going to take a break outside, but Susan reminds her that residents aren’t supposed to take breaks. Really?? Abby says she’ll go wait for an ambulance, then. She goes out to the ambulance bay and lights a cigarette. An SUV speeds up and a teenager pleads for help, saying his brother was shot. When Abby goes to the car door to check things out, the teen shoves her inside and the SUV takes off.

Abby tells the driver to stop and bangs on the windows, calling for help, but the music in the car is loud and no one can hear her. The driver finally pulls over and points a gun at Abby. He orders her to the back of the SUV, where the shooting victim is lying. Abby tells the others that he needs to go to the hospital but the teen pulls his own gun on her and tells her to fix his brother or die.

Back at County, Sam tends to a woman named Ms. Mitchell who’s experiencing shortness of breath. Ray will examine her after he’s done dealing with a woman who’s way more worried about a splinter in her foot than she should be. Ray makes a racist comment to a couple of med students – shut up, Ray – before going over to see Ms. Mitchell. Before he even examines her, he orders tests and leaves. When Sam comes back over, Ms. Mitchell asks if she might be able to get a different doctor.

Abby tells the driver (Loose) and teen (Little C) that the shooting victim (C.J.) has lost a lot of blood and she’s not sure she can do anything for him. There isn’t much in the car she can use to help him. C.J. tells her to make a list of supplies as they pull up to a drugstore. Abby says that’s not enough – C.J. has internal injuries and could bleed to death. He tells her the bullet went through him, so he just needs stitches. Loose figures that Abby can also write him a prescription for antibiotics.

Neela quizzes a couple of med students, and since she sounds knowledgeable, a patient asks her about the spread of melanoma. She tells him it’s dependent on a lot of factors. The patient starts crying, so Neela leaves him to let some other doctor deal with. Outside the room, she asks her med students what condition might make a patient more likely to cry. Luka overhears and is like, “This Einstein doesn’t get that the guy’s upset because he has cancer?”

A man named Tom comes in, wanting to talk to any staff members who worked on his wife, Jenna, who died in the ER earlier in the week. He wasn’t able to make it there in time, so he wants to know if she was scared or if she had any final words. Wendall offers to do some asking around, and Carter tells him he can stay while she investigates. Wendall is about to ask Carter out when Susan comes over to complain that Abby has gone MIA. She gets that Abby’s annoyed with her, but 30+ minutes for a break is pretty excessive. She asks Malik to text Abby and tell her to get back to work.

He winds up paging her (she didn’t bring her phone with her), but she can’t respond while she’s in the back of the SUV, trying to stop C.J.’s bleeding while Little C looks over her shoulder. Loose (who’s the brothers’ cousin) is in the drugstore, so Abby tries to get Little C, the more reasonable of the two, to understand that C.J. will die if he doesn’t go to the hospital. Loose returns with supplies before Abby can get Little C on her side.

Paramedics bring in a teen named Tisha who was caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout. Malik pages Abby again, but she again has to ignore it. She’s trying to work on C.J. in a moving car, which is far from ideal circumstances. Loose runs something over and stops the car. Little C goes to check things out and sees that he hit a cat. Loose gets out and shoots the cat to put it out of its misery.

Abby’s pager goes off again when they’re back on the road, and C.J. pulls it out of Abby’s hands and tosses it to Little C, who throws it out of the car. They drive to an alley, where Loose and Little C help Abby tend to C.J. A gun is left unattended for a few moments and Loose gives Abby a look warning her not to try to grab it. C.J. tells him to pay attention and not do anything stupid.

Susan, Luka, Pratt, Ray, and Neela all work on Tisha together. Luka wants Neela to secure the teen’s airway but Susan tells Pratt to do it. Ray asks to be allowed to do a procedure, any procedure. Susan won’t let him, so when Carter comes in asking for help with another gunshot victim, Ray volunteers. Luka sends Pratt with them, since Tisha’s stable. Neela asks a question about medication, and Carter and Luka disagree about the answer. Susan’s annoyed with both of them.

Sam finds Tom sitting by an empty gurney in the place were he thinks Jenna died. He claims he can feel her presence there. He hasn’t yet found anyone who remembers working on her. Abby tells C.J., Little C, and Loose that sewing C.J. up with a needle and thread is a dumb idea. He’s going to bleed to death without surgery. Plus, it’s nighttime and the lighting is horrible. They won’t listen to her, so she tries it anyway. She warns C.J. to brace himself for the pain, since the codeine-filled cough syrup he drank isn’t going to help much.

Carter, Pratt, and Ray work on the second gunshot victim, Mikey, whom Ray calls “homey.” Pratt, tell him to stop. Though Mikey only has minor injuries, he’s in handcuffs, so his night isn’t going great. Ray finds something else to do and starts to leave, saying Pratt has a better connection with Mikey anyway. Mikey clearly doesn’t like Ray, so Ray doesn’t see the point of working on a patient who’s uncomfortable with him. Carter says that during a trauma, “nobody gets to be comfortable.”

Abby has done all she can for C.J. She asks what the guys’ plan is. Little C says they’re going to hide out until they’re sure cops aren’t looking for them, then go home. Loose decides that they should go get something to eat. Susan tries calling Abby, ticked that she seemingly walked off the job because they had a fight. She gives Neela a new patient, plus some instructions to help her work on her people skills.

Sam hands Ms. Mitchell off to Susan, who senses during her examination that there’s something Ms. Mitchell is hiding. She sends Sam on an errand so they can have some privacy. Ray complains to Sam that Susan took his patient and goes to give Ms. Mitchell what he’s determined is the cause of her recent exhaustion: She’s pregnant. Susan tells him he’s wrong and pulls him aside to tell him why: Ms. Mitchell is transgender and therefore doesn’t have the anatomy to get pregnant. Ray’s confused, since her pregnancy test came back positive. Unfortunately, for someone assigned male at birth, that’s bad.

Loose picks up food at a drive-through window as Abby looks around at all the people whose attention she could get if she wanted to go that route. She eyes a door handle, considering just trying to make a run for it. She slowly moves to open the door but C.J. catches her and grabs her arm, giving her a look that says she’d better not try to run.

The date Wendall wanted to invite Carter on is an overnight snowboarding trip. Carter turns her down, saying he has other plans. Neela interrupts to ask if Carter thinks she should be worried about Abby’s disappearance. She can’t imagine Abby walking off a shift. Carter can’t, either, but says that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t do it.

As the SUV approaches a gas station, Abby asks to use a bathroom. Instead of pulling in, Loose drives to a wooded area. Abby realizes this might end very badly for her and says she changed her mind. Loose lets her out of the car and tells her she can go in the woods, but not alone. Abby tries to keep it together as she prepares to pee with an audience. Loose asks if she’s “scared of big black men.” She says she’s scared of big black guns.

Loose talks to someone on the phone as Abby checks on C.J. Little C shows her their matching gang tattoos; he just got his recently. He’s not sure what it means since C.J. didn’t want to tell him. Loose reports that police have been searching their neighborhood, and a friend will call when it’s safe to go home. They’ll camp out in the woods until then.

Loose tells Little C to hand over his comic book so they can build a fire. Little C resists, since he’s in the middle of a story. Loose tears out some pages and says he’ll tell Little C a story. As he starts reciting what sounds like the urban legend about the guy with a hook for a hand who attacks a couple in their car, Abby asks to bum a cigarette from him.

Luka’s concerned about Abby’s disappearance but Carter thinks she’s just being dramatic. Susan asks them for reports they were supposed to do, but didn’t. She complains that if the attendings don’t take her seriously, no one else will, either. The guys apologize, but she just wants them to do their jobs.

Little C thinks the fire Loose built has helped C.J., since he’s not shivering anymore. Abby realizes that he’s not breathing. Okay, so Little C doesn’t have the makings of a doctor. Mikey is also declining, and the staff realized they missed the severity of his injuries because he seemed to be doing so well. Abby tells Loose and Little C again that they need to take C.J. to the hospital. Now that he’s unconscious and can’t give them orders, they should just do it.

Pratt and Sam bring Mikey back to the ER after a CT scan that showed a brain injury. It’s inoperable, but Luka knows he’ll die without a procedure they’ll have to do themselves, since neurosurgery is busy. He wants Neela to do it. Abby asks Loose and Little C to help her give C.J. CPR, since she’s exhausting herself. Little C gives his brother chest compressions while Abby does the breathing part.

Neela comes back from a quick search for Abby to jump right into Mikey’s procedure. Luka’s so steady and calm that she doesn’t have time to think about how she’s doing something she’s never done before. As she’s working, Wendall tells her that Tom wants to talk to her. Even though Neela said she didn’t remember treating Jenna, Wendall has found out that she did. Abby tries to plead with Loose to take C.J to a hospital as she and Little C struggle to continue CPR.

Ray tells Ms. Mitchell that Susan is working on a critical case, so he’s elected himself to tell her that she has testicular cancer. Ms. Mitchell is understandably shaken but Ray assures her that it’s treatable and her chances of recovery are good. Conveniently, Ms. Mitchell was on the path to having her “equipment” removed anyway, so this kind of works out. Ray asks why Ms. Mitchell wanted a different doctor. She tells him he acts like he puts on a show, like he’s not comfortable in his own skin. She doesn’t trust people with that kind of energy since she knows it well.

Abby keeps working on C.J. even though it’s pretty clear she won’t be able to save him. Little C orders her not to let him die. She keeps going but eventually breaks down crying, knowing that her failure to save C.J. might mean that the other guys kill her. As Little C starts crying as well, Loose stares at Abby, considering his options. He orders her into the back of the SUV and tells her to lie down.

Neela’s done with Mikey, and she thanks Luka for giving her such a great opportunity. He tells her that she’s gifted technically and just needs to take the confidence that a procedure like that gives her and apply it to the rest of the job. Wendall gives her Jenna’s chart but Neela isn’t sure what to say to the widower of a woman she doesn’t remember. Luka tells her to trust herself enough to comfort a grieving man. Neela pulls it off pretty well.

Carter tells Wendall that he changed his plans and wants to go away with her after all. Now she’s not as excited about the trip. She asks if he’s really okay moving forward the way they are. He says yes and she doesn’t press him. Susan asks Carter for his opinion on Luka letting Neela do the procedure on Mikey instead of Pratt, who outranks her and would normally get dibs. Pratt no longer cares about it (I think because Neela was so impressive) but Susan wants to address it with Luka. Carter thinks she’s overreacting. If she wants to define herself in her new role, great, but this isn’t the way to do it.

Abby looks up at the buildings Loose drives by, which look unrecognizable from her viewpoint. She promises that she won’t tell anyone what happened tonight. She just wants to go home. Weaver checks in with Susan, who confides that she’s struggling to be in charge of people who used to be her equals. Weaver advises her to get used to not being liked. She’s inevitably going to make people mad and lose friends. Not ready for that to happen, Susan tries calling Abby again. She admits that she’s worried and apologizes for their disagreement.

Abby wonders what’s going to happen as Loose parks under some El tracks. He lets her out of the car, telling her they have business to take care of. She’s surprised to see that he’s brought her back to County. She starts crying with relief as he gets back in the car. “Thanks anyway,” Little C says, pointing a finger gun at her before they drive off. Abby heads into the ER, first walking, then running to get inside where it’s safe.

Thoughts: Unlike the last time the show had a plot about a transgender patient, this time they cast a trans actor, Alexandra Billings. Impressive for 2005. Not impressive: misgendering her.

I assume this was the show’s attempt to give Maura Tierney her own version of “The Long Way Around.” It falls way short, but definitely not because of her – she’s excellent, as always.

I get the staff slacking because Susan isn’t as hard on them as Weaver and Romano were, but don’t they want to help her look competent? I’m friendly with my boss, too, and because of that, I respect her. That makes me want to do my job well, which makes her look good to HER boss.

Neela doesn’t strike me as the type to forget all about someone she couldn’t save, especially this early in her career.

July 12, 2022

ER 11.9, ‘Twas the Night: Chen’s Father Wants to Take a Long Winter’s Nap

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

No final Carter/Chen scenes? Tragic

Summary: Chen is cleaning out her father’s bedpan in her kitchen when he calls for her from the living room. She doesn’t come fast enough for his tastes so he breaks something to get her attention. They have a conversation in Mandarin, the only English coming from Chen when she says she can’t do something. He begs her until she changes her mind.

Carter goes with Wendall to buy a sofa bed her brother can sleep on when he comes to visit. Since the store doesn’t want to make a delivery on Christmas Eve, Carter suggests that they tie it to the roof of his car and take it themselves. As Wendall goes to finalize the sale, Carter notices a girl nearby who’s choking. He gives her the Heimlich and saves her, but her parents misinterpret what’s happening when they see him with his arms around her. Carter starts to explain that he’s a doctor, then decides to just flee the scene.

At County, Sam and Luka discuss Christmas traditions while waiting for an ambulance. She wants to let Alex open a present on Christmas Eve, which is what she did as a kid; Luka says no way. Sam notes that if Alex opens something tonight, he won’t be so eager to open more in the morning, which will give them a chance to sleep in. Plus, it’s fun. Luka teases that Sam just wants to open a gift tonight, too.

The ambulance they’re waiting for carries a man named Robert who fainted and hit his head. Abby joins Sam and Luka as they discuss how cold it’ll be that night. A number of homeless people are already gathered in the hospital, seeking warmth, and are waiting to be taken somewhere else for the night. Abby sees on Robert’s chart that he has lupus and hepatitis C, among other problems.

Luka tells Morris to stop eating and get to work. Susan wants Abby to get on it, too, before Abby can even take off her coat. Carter’s at work now, and Susan asks him to keep bugging the proper authorities to come get all the homeless people in the waiting area. She and Weaver talk about their holiday plans and make arrangements to get together. They’re friends now! Their kids are totally going to be best friends one day! Weaver gives Carter a Secret Santa gift, not bothering to hide that she’s regifting something.

Robert’s wife, Carol, arrives as Abby’s trying to get in touch with his regular doctor. Carol is super-involved in her husband’s care and thinks her personal files on his condition are more thorough than his medical records. Abby can’t get Robert’s doctor to come see him, since he thinks Robert’s problem is with his heart, not his kidneys. Carol provides the name of Robert’s cardiologist and wonders why no one’s writing things down. Maybe because you’ve already written everything down?

Ray helps shepherd some of the homeless people while Neela works with a fourth-year med student, Jake Scanlon, who just transferred to County. Ray tells the homeless people that they’re going to a Holiday Inn, courtesy of the mayor. He’s lying, but he thinks it’s okay because now all the people who aren’t really sick are leaving, and the staff can focus on the ones who actually need treatment.

Luka and Sam are off for the night, and before they leave, they check in with Abby on Robert’s care. She’s now trying to get his cardiologist to come see him. Chen is supposed to be working but when she comes by to pick up medication for her father, she asks Luka to cover for her. She offers to work New Year’s for him. Luka turns her down but Chen says it’s a family emergency. Though Luka clearly feels bad, he won’t take her shift.

Jerry introduces Chen to a woman named Margaret who will be filling in as a desk clerk for the night. Apparently she’s a Grinch. Robert’s cardiologist won’t even come in to examine him, so Abby’s in a bind now. She tells Jake he can go home, since med students don’t have to work on holidays, but he says he volunteered. Abby thinks that’s crazy. She’s even considering inventing a family next year so she can take Christmas off.

She tells Robert and Carol that the cardiologist thinks Robert’s kidneys are causing his problems, so he’s passing the buck like Robert’s regular doctor did. Maybe Robert should get new specialists. Jake must be pretty smart because he recognizes an acronym Abby uses, while Malik doesn’t. Chen asks Susan for one last shift switch after weeks of them, but Susan can’t cut her any more slack. Chen thinks that Carter, Abby, and Morris can handle everything, but Susan doubts it. Chen says she understands, then quits.

Ray’s done with his shift, which means we don’t have to see him anymore in this episode, yay! Paramedics bring in a boy named Harry who was hit by a car. Carter orders Ray to stay, ignoring the fact that he has a flight to catch. Nooooo, we were going to get a break from him! Harry’s mother, Mrs. Price, and her daughter Mattie tell the staff that Harry was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Harry sweetly reassures his little sister, who must be scared to see him in the hospital.

Abby tries again to reach Robert’s doctor, sympathizing with him for not appreciating how pushy Carol can be. Carol hears her but doesn’t say anything about Abby’s comments. Pratt’s on his way out to some party or concert or something – he’s looking forward to seeing a just-becoming-famous-at-the-time Kanye West. He delays his departure when a pretty woman named Raphaella shows up asking for a doctor. She specifies that she’s there for Morris, who appears to be her boyfriend.

Susan tells Abby, Neela, and Pratt that Chen just quit. Susan thinks she’s just burned out. Neela gives Abby a present she found in the lounge with her name on it. Someone thought her Secret Santa gift should be a book about rats and lice. At least that person spent a decent amount of money, unlike Neela’s Secret Santa, who gave her a Pez dispenser. Still, I’d rather have Pez than that book.

Pratt leaves as Malik escorts in a man named Beidermeier, who needs detox for an IV drug addiction. Abby catches Margaret removing all the angels from the admit desk’s collection of Christmas decorations; she wants to keep religious artifacts out of the public hospital. Abby, who isn’t even religious, tells her to put them back. Susan tells Carter that Chen quit, but he’s barely listening, since he’s taking care of Harry. Susan decides that they should close to trauma. Ray complains about how much the homeless people in the waiting area smell. Shut up, Ray. Especially since patients are listening, including Mrs. Price.

Susan seems to have decided to stick around, but Ray still wants to leave. He says he promised his mother he’d come visit for Christmas. No one cares, Ray. While Harry’s stable and they’re waiting for him to be taken to surgery, Carter goes to help Abby with Robert. Susan wants to go home for a couple of hours, then come back to lend a hand, but Carter tells her to take the whole night off; he’ll call her if they get busy.

Robert’s declining and having more trouble breathing because of fluid in his lungs. Abby tells Carter that no one will come give him dialysis to help with the fluid since he just had dialysis yesterday; they insist that the fluid is from some other problem. Abby thinks they rushed him through dialysis because they were busy due to the holidays. She’s waiting to hear back from the renal attending.

A new surgeon, Agbo, comes to examine Harry, so Carter goes back to him. He tells Abby that no one knows what her patients need better than she does. She ducks out of Robert’s room to apologize to Carol, who isn’t too broken up about being called pushy (I assume she’s been called that before). She’s brought down Robert’s extensive medical records from wherever they’re stored so Abby doesn’t have to wait for them. Compared to the hospital’s records, Carol’s are much faster to get through, so Abby agrees to look at them.

Pratt goes to Chen’s house, and though she tries to send him away, he follows her in when her father calls for her. Pratt determines that he’s sundowning, getting worse at the end of the day. He notices that Chen has a large supply of Ativan and potassium. He guesses she’s planning something and demands to know what’s going on.

Harry’s getting worse, and Agbo realizes he may have nicked a blood vessel while doing a procedure on him. Mrs. Price prays for her son while the staff works on him. Mattie blurts on that this is her fault. Mrs. Price yells for her to be quiet, so Carter snaps at them both to leave. Mrs. Price won’t go, and Carter’s too busy to follow up. Once Harry’s stable, Carter tells Neela to take Mattie to the family room and page a social worker.

Abby checks on Robert, who’s stable now. She wants him to have his head scanned to be sure he doesn’t have any brain injuries from his fall (plus, he had a brain infection in the past). Jake offers to take him since Abby needs to discharge another patient. Neela hangs out with Mattie, asking if she’s excited for Santa to come tonight. Mattie sadly says that Santa isn’t coming for her.

Ray joins them and tries to connect with Mattie by saying that he and his brother fought a lot as kids. Sometimes kids get hurt by accident. Mattie admits that she was mad at Harry and threw his book out of the car. When he went to get it, a car hit him. Ray assures her that it’s not her fault that Harry was hurt. Mattie’s upset that she couldn’t help her brother and had to get her mother. This negates the story Mrs. Price told about being in the car with the kids. Mattie says she was at work, and the kids were alone in the car – they live there.

Chen has told Pratt that her father has asked her to help him commit suicide. He no longer wants the treatments and equipment that are the only things keeping him alive. He asks her every day to help him die. Chen doesn’t want to just remove the support methods and let him die naturally; it would take days and he would suffer. Pratt suggests putting him in a nursing home, but Chen tells him that as a Chinese woman, she has to respect her elders.

After a short break where they both calm down, Pratt presses Chen again to at least put her father in a nursing home for a month so she can have a break. As doctors, they do everything they can every day to save people, even if they only get a few more hours. Chen can’t just take someone’s life away. She says that quality of life is what matters. She can’t let her father keep living the way he is. Since she can provide him with what he needs, she’s going to. Pratt asks why she hasn’t done it already. He thinks she knows it would haunt her for the rest of her life. She admits that she hasn’t worked up the courage yet.

When midnight strikes, Margaret makes a deadpan declaration: “Christ is born.” Abby catches her unplugging Christmas lights and threatens to beat her to death with a fruitcake if she does it again. I think Santa’s skipping Abby this year. Neela complains that they’re having a “loser’s Christmas.” She should speak for herself, since Raphaella’s visit has made Morris’ night a lot more fun.

Abby examines a little boy named Rudolfo, and I can’t believe she doesn’t make a Rudolfo/Rudolph comment. Neela thanks Ray for trying to help with Mattie. He admits that he’s an only child. Just leave, Ray. Something happened to Robert’s central line when he was getting scanned, and now he’s bleeding. Because of a lupus complication, he can’t clot properly. Carol worries that this will be what kills him. She says she’s not ready for him to die. Abby sends Jake to get blood so she can fix Robert’s central line. Carol wants a surgical attending to do it instead.

Harry’s still stable, and Carter tells Mrs. Price that they’ll keep him in the ER overnight before sending him to the ICU. Neela gets her to tell the full story about the family’s situation. She left her husband three weeks ago and didn’t have any place to stay with the kids. It was fine while they were in school, but the kids had nowhere to go when Christmas vacation started. She had to leave them in the car while she worked. Taking them back to their father is out of the question – he’s abusive, and while Mrs. Price was willing to put up with it herself, she left when he turned on Harry.

Carter gently says that they’re concerned about everything Mrs. Price has gone through. Wendall comes in with Mattie, and Mrs. Price says she told the kids not to say anything about their situation because she was afraid they would be taken away. She has a job, so their living conditions are just temporary. She won’t call them homeless. Wendall knows of a house they can stay in with other people fleeing domestic violence. She promises it’s safe. Mrs. Price apologizes to Mattie for yelling and asks her daughter not to be scared of her. Mattie apologizes, too, but Mrs. Price says she didn’t do anything wrong.

Carter confers with Wendall, who says the only bad guy here is the hit-and-run driver (well, and Mr. Price). They shouldn’t punish Mrs. Price. They pass Morris and Raphaella, who got food from the cafeteria’s “holiday feast” that doesn’t actually look edible. Carter invites Wendall to get dinner with him but she says she just lost her appetite. Just then, Margaret tells Carter that Kem is on the phone for him. Ohhhhhh! Carter can’t take his eyes off of Wendall as he talks to Kem.

While Chen sleeps, Pratt gets up to tend to her father. He gets agitated, so Chen gives him a sedative and tells him she’s sorry for what he’s going through. Pratt finally sees just how bad his condition has gotten. Back at County, Morris lets Raphaella give staples to an unconscious Santa. Neela calls him out for violating HIPAA, among other policies. Then she has to run to help Carter break up a fight between Margaret and Beidermeier, whom she caught stealing from drug lock-up. She wants to have him arrested but Carter just tells her they’ll handle things without her.

Dubenko is in the ER to do Robert’s central line, though he’s decided to let Abby do it herself. He trusts her skills and doesn’t care what Carol wants. Abby thanks him for coming in and he says it’s his job, like he’s surprised she would expect him not to come in on Christmas Eve. He tells Abby that legally, the attendings she called have to come in or they could lose staff privileges. They’re taking advantage of the fact that she didn’t stand up to them. Abby, like many interns and other female doctors, wants to be popular instead of an advocate for her patients. He offers to finish up with Robert while she deals with the attendings. P.S. He’s her Secret Santa.

Jake goes with Abby as she gets back on the phone. He takes responsibility for the hiccup with Robert’s central line, but she says the tech is at fault. Plus, she shouldn’t have sent a student with Robert. Jake promises that the complication won’t happen again. Abby asks what he’s learned and he replies that he should always go home when she tells him to.

Chen has another conversation with her father in Mandarin, and from the tone, it’s clear even to non-Mandarin-speakers that they’re saying goodbye. She tells Pratt that he thanked her and said she was a good daughter. Pratt assures her that she is. She fills a syringe with potassium, and though Pratt offers to inject her father, she decides to do it herself. He’s barely conscious, so he dies peacefully. Chen says something to him in Mandarin and kisses him goodbye.

A drunk Santa asks for a cab voucher in the ER. Instead of asking where his sleigh is, Jake just says they’re not ready to discharge him. A dialysis tech finally arrives for Robert, happy to make double overtime for a holiday job but confused about why he’s treating someone he just treated yesterday. Abby pretends that Robert’s doctor gave orders for dialysis, but the tech guesses that he never came in to see his patient. The tech isn’t surprised, since the doctor is a jerk, but he needs official orders. Abby asks him to get started and then call the doctor. Carol finds out that Abby went behind the attending’s back and thanks her.

Wendall pulls Carter away from a patient to give him a Christmas present (another regift). He lies that he has something for her but didn’t bring it. She tells him to give it to her on her birthday in a few weeks. She casually asks about his phone call, apparently knowing exactly who Carter was talking to. He just says Kem is good. He’s amused by Wendall’s gift, a head lamp. He thanks her with a kiss, and she leaves as soon as she can.

Morris and Raphaella bring a bunch of sliders to the night staff. Abby and Neela determine that Rudolfo only needs antibiotics, but they decide to get him admitted to pediatrics so he can spend the night in a warm bed. Rudolfo worries that Santa won’t find him since the hospital doesn’t have a chimney. They tell him Santa can find anyone, since he sees everything, but Rudolfo will have to go to sleep before he comes. Abby and Neela guess that Rudolfo’s father doesn’t have any presents for him, so they decide to get him something from the mini-mart across the street.

Chen sits with her father’s body for an hour or so, then tells Pratt she’ll call the mortuary in the morning. She’ll then have to take her father to China to be buried next to her mother. After that, she’ll probably visit their hometown and see some relatives, but now that she’s quit her job, she has no plans beyond that. Pratt offers to help with anything she needs. Chen thanks him for what he’s already done and cries in his arms.

Though Neela is Sikh and her family doesn’t celebrate Christmas, she’s used to England’s holiday traditions, as well as her family’s affection for “anonymous kindness.” She takes Abby to the child-life center so they can take all the toys and books there and give them to the homeless kids in the ER. (Wendall kindly provided a key.) Tomorrow they can shop the post-Christmas sales to replace everything they take. They don’t have wrapping paper but Neela says they can steal bows from the cafeteria’s decorations.

A homeless woman sings “O Holy Night” as Abby and Neela play Santa. Margaret decides to shut up for once and not tell the woman to keep her religious music to herself. Carter and Wendall distribute blankets to the homeless adults, who I hope get presents, too. Ray comes back with a story about not getting a flight out and a hint that he might not really have been going to see his mother. He reports that it’s snowing. Abby tells Neela that Ray was going to see a girlfriend, not his mother. He tricked Neela into taking his shift with a family-related sob story. Grr!

The staff goes outside to look at the snow. Robert’s doctor arrives, furious that Abby approved his dialysis without his agreement. Abby stands up for herself and says she actually did him a favor since he didn’t come in when he was supposed to. If he reports her for going behind his back, she’ll report him for not doing his job. Everyone heads back inside as Neela gets revenge on Ray with a snowball to the back. Chen calls a mortuary to report that her father died in his sleep overnight. She gets permission for Pratt to sign the death certificate, since he’s already there. And with that, Chen’s secret is safe.

Thoughts: Jake is played by Eion Bailey. Mrs. Price is played by Dale Dickey.

Farewell to Ming-Na, who stayed on the show a lot longer than I would have, considering how little she got to do and how much the writers disrespected Chen.

Why is everyone so against working on Christmas Eve? If it’s between then and Christmas, choose Christmas Eve. Then you won’t miss out on seeing your kids open their presents.

I had Harry’s plotline confused with one from a different episode, so I wasn’t expecting a happy ending (which is sad, since I shouldn’t expect a sad ending in a Christmas episode).

July 5, 2022

ER 11.8, A Shot in the Dark: The Hardest Decisions

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

This reminds me of “Veronica Mars,” when Weevil told Veronica that he always knows when she’s going to ask for something because she tilts her head

Summary: Luka comes home from a night shift as Sam is getting ready for a day shift. He agrees to pick up Alex from school that afternoon. Alex reminds Sam that he needs money for a field trip (Luka mentions that he’ll get to see the giant bean). Alex is clearly comfortable with the new living arrangements, since he uses the bathroom while Sam’s in the shower and Luka’s brushing his teeth.

At County, Neela writes a check for her father so she can pay her brother’s tuition. Ray thinks she should wait to do stuff like that until after she’s a resident and is making more money. I’m sure her brother would be happy to wait until then to finish his education. Ray asks Neela to take his Christmas shift, but she’s already working on New Year’s Eve. Ray offers to swap and also work Ramadan for her. She tells him she’s Sikh, not Muslim. (She should have taken the deal – Ramadan lasts a month.) “I’ll cover whenever you want to take a Sikh day,” he quips.

Carter and Susan are annoyed to learn that only 39% of the staff has had a flu shot. Susan dreads the possibility of the others getting sick and leaving her short-staffed. Ray hasn’t had his yet, but he doesn’t want it now since he has a gig with his band and can’t play his guitar with a sore arm. Abby finds that excuse ridiculous, and it’s on top of a string of them, so something else is definitely going on.

Chuny takes a radio report about a police officer being brought in after a shooting. Susan and Carter mobilize a team and tell a nurse to summon extra security to handle the press. Ray asks Abby to give him a flu shot sometime today – when he’s not expecting it. That way he won’t have anxiety about the needle.

Instead of an ambulance, the injured police officer, Eddie, is brought in by other cops. They were a few blocks away and didn’t want to wait for an ambulance. Despite being shot in the neck, Eddie is awake and talking. He tells his co-workers to take his keys so someone can feed his dog and get his important paperwork.

Abby examines a girl named Carolyn who got sick at school. Her mother, Mrs. Trager, wants to take her to their regular doctor, since the ER is busy, but Abby convinces her to stay. She wants to run tests, though she thinks Carolyn just has the flu. Susan, Ray, Sam, Neela, and Chuny tend to Eddie, who’s stable and managed to escape being paralyzed. He asks if everyone else from the scene is okay. Another cop says someone took down his shooter, someone who tried to rob a convenience store, then ran and hid in an apartment.

Neela notices that one of the other cops, McWayne, is flexing his hand. She thinks he’s injured but he says he’s fine. Ray struggles to intubate Eddie, and Susan decides they need to use a special scope with a light. The cops get a little “we’d like to speak to a manager”-y, not realizing that Susan is the manager. She gets the job done, then lets Ray get to work again. Eddie’s fiancée, Mallory, comes in and Susan lets her sit with him.

Pratt examines a man named Steve who has chest and shoulder pain from wrestling with his nephew. Pratt doesn’t think it’s anything more than muscle strain. Chen arrives late for her shift, looking like she had a rough night. She asks Pratt for a couple of minutes before she gets to work. Carolyn’s tests come back fine but she’s in pain now, making Abby think she has appendicitis. Mrs. Trager is mad that Abby seemingly downplayed Carolyn’s condition. She refuses to approve of any surgery her daughter needs.

Ray runs into Abby and asks what’s in her hands. Just a chart and a pen, Dr. Bravery. She notes that she never agreed to give him a sneak-attack flu shot. He asks if she has plans on New Year’s Eve, then asks her to take his shift that night so he can play with his band. Hmmm. She agrees if he’ll take her turn lecturing med students in January.

The police captain, Crawford, tells Carter that the robbery suspect is being brought in and asks for an ETA, which Carter doesn’t have. Abby is going over Carolyn’s case with him when she notices a woman leaving with a miniature horse. As far as weird things you might see in this ER, that’s only about a 2 on a scale from 1 to 10. I’m surprised she even noticed.

Pratt wakes Chen up from a nap she accidentally took while waiting for coffee to brew. She signs off on Steve’s case without examining him, since she trusts Pratt’s assessment. She’s tired because she’s been taking care of her father alone at night. Malik summons her to take care of the robbery suspect, who’s arriving later than he should be because cops wouldn’t let the paramedics go in to get him. They have to work on him while he’s still on the paramedics’ gurney because he’s handcuffed to it and the cops don’t see any rush in unlocking them.

Chen lets Neela take charge, and when the cops don’t undo the suspect’s cuffs, Neela tells Malik to find some bolt cutters. Nice. She’d also like the cops to step out of the trauma room, since the patient is in no shape to make a run for it. McWayne asks if he has a chance of making it. Neela implies that Chen is only letting her run the trauma because he doesn’t.

Abby and Frank argue over whether the mini-horse’s owner, Mrs. Gellin, can keep her inside – he says no, she says yes because it’s a service animal (it looks like Mrs. Gellin is blind). They take the argument to Carter, and Abby notes that they allow guide dogs, so they have to allow all service animals. Carter seems to have already chosen a side, judging by the way he’s petting the mini-horse, Ruby. Mrs. Gellin says she goes everywhere and is well-behaved. Carter declares that she can stay.

Crawford tells Carter that Eddie’s son, Arlo, has arrived and wants to see his father. Carter checks in on Eddie, who’s getting a surgical consult from Dubenko. Mallory explains that Arlo, who’s 15, is Eddie’s son from his previous marriage. He comes in with his mother, Benita, who tries to get Mallory kicked out of the trauma room. Susan quiets everyone and sends Mallory out of the room. Arlo only gets a minute with Eddie, trying to reassure his father that he’ll be okay.

Next door, the shooter is too far gone to save. McWayne acts like the staff did everyone a favor by not saving him. Carter notices the same thing Neela did about McWayne’s hand and asks her to examine it. Abby takes care of Mrs. Gellin in the room where Carolyn’s waiting for her next test results. Carolyn isn’t as excited about having a mini-horse around as I would be. Her mother announces that her husband wants Carolyn transferred to Mercy. Abby says she’s waiting for a surgical consult, and she won’t approve a transfer until a surgeon at Mercy agrees to accept Carolyn.

Ray comes around the corner as Abby’s talking on the phone to Mr. Trager, who’s as stubborn as his wife is about their daughter’s care. Since Abby’s holding a syringe, which she was using on Mrs. Gellin, Ray thinks she’s preparing to give him his flu shot, so he runs off. This is dumb. Abby assures Mr. Trager that they won’t make any decisions until he arrives. Fortunately, Wendall comes to help deal with the situation.

Neela examines McWayne, who has no sympathy for the dead suspect, even though he was pretty young. Neela finds something hard inside a wound in McWayne’s wrist. Carter examines Carolyn as Abby tells Mrs. Trager that they can wait up to ten hours before taking her to surgery, assuming she needs it. Carter agrees with Abby that Carolyn has appendicitis. As he and Mrs. Trager go discuss the transfer to Mercy, Carolyn asks Abby why she doesn’t get to decide what happens to her. Abby tells her that parents get to decide what’s best for their kids.

In a reversal of Carolyn’s case, Arlo is the one getting information about a parent’s care. Ray tells him about an operation they can do to stop Eddie’s bleeding with a balloon in his artery. One of his carotid arteries is blocked, so a part of the body called the Circle of Willis is detouring his blood flow. I just learned something! Frank comes in to tell Sam that Luka’s on the phone. Alex got in trouble at school. Neela shows Susan the thing she removed from McWayne’s arm: a plastic BB. She thinks Eddie was shot with another one. But Susan has already removed a real bullet from Eddie – the same kind of bullet the cops use.

Luka doesn’t have many details for Sam about Alex; the school just wants someone to come in for a meeting. Luka agrees to handle that. Sam tells Neela that they found a BB gun at the scene of Eddie’s shooting, which means the shooting suspect didn’t hit Eddie. Neela tries to keep Arlo from going into the suspect’s trauma room, but he barges in. He wants to know why the guy would shoot Eddie. Neela tells him that they’re not sure who shot Eddie. It may have been friendly fire.

McWayne and another cop come in and Arlo asks which of them shot Eddie. He’s upset but knows that it was an accident. Dubenko does the procedure Ray told Arlo about, but Eddie doesn’t wake up afterward. Dubenko isn’t sure it’s a good idea to do more surgery to repair his carotid artery. He’s not comfortable with the procedure, but he’ll do it if Mallory consents. Sam tells him Mallory is Eddie’s fiancée, so she can’t make medical decisions for him. The only blood relative available is Arlo. They could declare him a mature minor and let him make the call.

Abby brings Dubenko to Carolyn, who’s gotten worse thanks to infection. There’s an ambulance coming to take her to Mercy, but Dubenko decides she needs surgery right now. Mrs. Trager still doesn’t want to make any decisions until her husband arrives. Even when Dubenko says Carolyn’s condition is life-threatening, she won’t consent to the surgery. Dubenko declares that they’ll override that by having two doctors agree that surgery is necessary. Abby reluctantly agrees. Dubenko assures her that she won’t get in trouble since she’s doing what’s in Carolyn’s best interest. Abby knows Elizabeth thought the same thing about herself.

Wendall joins Ray as he’s telling Arlo about Eddie’s two treatment options. In the first, they use a catheter to plug his artery. He would only have a 15 chance of recovery. In the other option, Eddie would have surgery and a 30 percent chance of recovery. However, it’s riskier and half of the patients who have the surgery get worse or die.

Benita thinks that’s too risky, but the choice is Arlo’s. Wendall asks him to explain the options back to her so she can make sure he understands them. He does – the first option is a small risk with a lower chance of a good outcome, and the second is a bigger risk with a higher chance of a good outcome. Benita objects to the staff letting Arlo choose what happens to his father.

Luka meets with Alex’s principal, who reveals that Alex was busted for bringing a Maxim-like magazine to school. (It’s Luka’s.) Luka makes it out like the new living arrangements are going great and he has a big role in Alex’s life, but he has to admit that they’ve only been living together for about a week. Still, that’s probably longer than Alex ever lived with his father. And if this is the only way Alex is “acting out,” I think things are fine.

Arlo approaches Ray alone to apologize for how Benita reacted. Ray asks if he’s okay with making decisions for Eddie. Arlo tells him that his father convinced him to ask out a girl he liked because it’s okay to take chances. Eddie would want to take the bigger risk here, the surgery. Arlo worries that Benita will get upset, but Ray promises to back him up.

Steve returns to the ER with abdominal pain and dizziness. Chen criticizes Pratt for sending him home when he wasn’t stable. It turns out he has a lacerated spleen. Pratt insists that he didn’t have abdominal pain earlier. Chen thinks his shoulder problem was referred pain, and Pratt missed it because he forget about the symptoms. Pratt replies that Chen missed it because she was too tired to examine Steve herself.

Sam calls Luka to find out what happened with Alex, but he doesn’t want to discuss it over the phone. Ray tells Susan that Arlo decided that Eddie should have surgery. Abby lets Carter and Wendall know that Carolyn made it to the OR. Wendall and Carter make small talk, and then he invites her to get dinner with him. She says she has plans, then invites him to come along. She warns that it’s something physical.

Ray has managed to clear his patient load just five minutes after the end of his shift. As he’s leaving, Abby stops him and jabs him with a needle. Steve is stable and wonders how he suffered such a major injury. Chen says he probably broke a rib that lacerated his spleen. His nephew must have slammed him pretty hard. Chen and Pratt verify that when the nephew comes in – instead of the little kid they were expecting, he’s a sumo wrestler.

Abby has taken over Eddie’s case from Ray, which means she has to help guide Arlo through whatever comes next. She also still has to deal with the Tragers. Mr. Trager has just arrived, and he’s not happy that Carolyn wasn’t transferred to Mercy. Neela offers to take over dealing with Arlo, since she’s familiar with Eddie’s case. He’s upset to learn that Ray left for the night before helping him talk to Benita.

Abby takes the Tragers to the observation area next to Carolyn’s OR. She assures them that the procedure is simple, and since it’s being done with a scope, Carolyn will have a shorter recovery. She turns on the intercom so Dubenko can tell the Tragers that their daughter’s doing well. Mr. Trager says that his father came to County for back surgery and died on the table because “some junior doc” screwed up. Abby calmly promises that that won’t happen to Carolyn. “I hate this hospital,” Mr. Trager says. Abby’s face says that either she can relate or she’s surprised not to feel the same way today.

Neela stays with Arlo as he tells Benita and McWayne that he wants Eddie to have the operation. Benita thinks it’s too risky, and McWayne thinks he should play it safe and increase Eddie’s chances of survival, even if he doesn’t fully recover. Arlo objects to McWayne being there, but Benita says he’s Eddie’s best friend. Arlo says there shouldn’t be a discussion – it’s his decision, and he’s made it. He doesn’t want Benita’s opinion on the matter. Neela tries to make peace, but Arlo sticks to his decision.

As Mallory waits outside the trauma room, left out of a conversation about her fiancé, Benita says that Eddie likes taking risks too much. That’s probably how he got shot in the first place. She asks how Arlo will feel if his father dies. She wants to protect him. He’s still a child, and she doesn’t think he’s ready to accept responsibility for his father’s death.

Speaking of sick fathers, Chen calls her dad’s nurse to check in. She asks the nurse to stay late, lying that the ER is busy and she’ll have to stay a while. She pockets some potassium while she’s talking, and Pratt sees her through a window. He smooths things over with her about Steve, then asks about the potassium. She says it’s for her father, to ease his diarrhea. Pratt warns her not to give him too much. What they don’t clarify is that a potassium overdose can be fatal.

Wendall takes Carter to a rock-climbing gym, where she’s been working out while training for a triathlon. Carter gets to start with the beginners’ wall. Neela tells Mallory that Eddie’s family has decided not to go forward with the surgery after all. Mallory’s upset that she doesn’t get a say when she and Eddie have been together for three years. A rock-climbing instructor thinks Carter and Wendall are dating. He used to date her, but then she wanted to see other people. No one cares, dude.

When Sam gets home, Luka tells her why Alex got in trouble. Neither thinks it’s a big deal, and she rolls her eyes over Luka having a subscription to the magazine. He tells her that Alex wasn’t the one who got busted – his friend was, after he took the magazine into a bathroom stall with him. Sam wonders if Alex is at the same stage already. She steels herself to give him the sex talk while Luka tries to keep a straight face.

Wendall invites Carter to come back to the gym with her sometime, since she’s there a couple times a week. She talks him into getting dinner, but he’s not as interested in her now. She tells him to close his eyes and pick a place out of a phone book. She tries to veto his choice, Mongolian barbecue, which is ridiculous because Mongolian barbecue is great.

Back at County, Neela spots Arlo as he’s leaving the hospital by himself. Benita tells her to let him be alone for a while. Neela worries that he feels like he was forced into making the decision he made. Benita says he wasn’t being realistic, so she and McWayne had to make the choice for him. Neela disagrees with her claim that Arlo was confused. Benita thinks Neela knows he made the wrong choice – he was hoping for something impossible. As Arlo’s mother, Benita has to set limits. But she appreciates that Neela let them work things out themselves.

Luka goes to Alex’s room to invite him to ask any questions he might have about what his friend was doing with the magazine. Alex seems pretty familiar with the concept, and he has no desire to talk to Luka about it. Neela tracks Ray down after his show and blasts him for leaving Arlo when Arlo needed him. Because Ray left, Arlo gave in to Benita’s demands. Ray blames Neela for not doing more, but she says it’s not her job to keep Ray’s promises. He can’t leave his day job for a gig just because the clock says it’s time to go.

Ray notes that Neela was working at a mini-mart three months ago. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. She tells him that her and Abby’s shifts ended the same time his did, but they stayed because they still had people to take care of. Ray argues that they would never leave the hospital if they had to hold every patient’s hand. She says this was about one kid. He trusted Ray to help him get through making the most important decision of his life, and Ray left. Neela does the same, and Ray tries to go back to his night away from the job he always treats like a paycheck instead of a career.

Thoughts: Wouldn’t someone in a job like law enforcement have a living will outlining who gets to make medical decisions for them?

I wonder how many doctors, like Ray, have a fear of needles.

Ruby has little sneakers. LOVE.

The Tragers are jerks about the situation but when you find out why they’re anxious, it’s like, “Yeah, I get it, I wouldn’t want some of these people to be responsible for my life, either.”

Arlo seems like a great kid. I like how he apologized to Ray for how Benita treated him. How many 15-year-olds would do that? I wish we’d seen him with Mallory, though. I think it would have said even more about his good intentions if he’d asked her for her opinion.

June 28, 2022

ER 11.7, White Guy, Dark Hair: This Is Not a Drill

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

“I’m not sure how to ask this delicately so I’ll just say it: Did you have sex with your brother?”

Summary: On her way to a meeting with Weaver, Susan takes a call from Chuck, who wants to report that Cosmo ate yams for the first time. I think Chuck might be bored staying home with a baby all day. Weaver tells Susan that her first 30 days as chief of emergency medicine went pretty well. However, she still needs to work on decreasing wait times and the number of people who leave without being treated. Also, too many people are coming back within 48 hours, either because of misdiagnoses or improper treatment. Weaver’s only real advice is the word “leadership.” Thanks for your help, Kerry!

Carter looks through pictures of Kem, which she just emailed him. Jerry notes that she looks happy. Ray and Morris say she’s hot. Shut up, both of you. Paramedics bring in a woman who was found in an alley with numerous injuries. They’re not sure of her name, since she doesn’t have an ID and is unable to speak clearly, but they think it’s Louise. Carter, Ray, and Sam start treating her, telling a cop named Wilson that he can’t question her yet. Luka takes over for Carter, who has to go back to another patient, and Louise manages to tell him and Sam that she was raped.

Sometime later, Sam gives Wilson the results of Louise’s rape exam, which was performed while she was unconscious to spare her more trauma. Wilson confirms that her name is Louise and that she lives right near the alley where she was found. It’s possible that she fell off a fire escape while trying to get away from her attacker. Wilson is passing the case off to detectives, and he lets Sam know that she’ll be questioned.

Susan tells the staff that they need to see their patients within 15 minutes of them being brought to an exam room. Everyone agrees, but they’re not listening that closely. They even start leaving in the middle of the chat. To be fair, they can’t treat patients while they’re standing around being told how to treat patients. Abby goes to see a teenager named Mi-Cha who has stomach pain. She thinks she has a kidney stone, since her father had one, and she tries to downplay her condition.

Sam and Alex moved in with Luka the night before and word is already out. Fun fact: Malik has been living with his girlfriend for six years. A detective named Patrie arrives to start investigating Louise’s attack. Sam tells him that she has a tube in her throat now, so she can’t really talk. Plus, both of her arms are injured, so she can’t write out answers to his questions. Patrie treats Louise gently and manages to learn that her attacker was a stranger but she could identify him if she saw him again. Sam puts a stop to the questions there.

While examining Mi-Cha, Abby determines that she’s in labor. In fact, she’s already ten centimeters dilated. Despite this, she denies being pregnant. Luka and Sam tell Patrie about Louise’s condition, which is critical and could get worse. Patrie insists on asking her more questions, since he thinks Louise is the victim of a serial rapist and is the first person to get a good look at him. Sam wants to find a way to help Louise answer questions, but Luka’s priority is her care.

Carter joins Abby, Haleh, and Chuny as they’re taking Mi-Cha up to have the baby. She still insists she’s not pregnant. Abby realizes they won’t make it upstairs before the baby comes, so Carter and Abby deliver him right by the elevators. Even then, Mi-Cha won’t accept that the baby is hers.

Later, Haleh tells Carter that Abby hasn’t made any progress getting Mi-Cha to admit that she was pregnant. She wants Carter’s help, but he thinks this is a problem for the psych department to handle. Haleh’s basically like, “If you don’t want to give Abby what she needs, you can tell her yourself.” Frank makes a comment to Luka about Sam and Alex moving in with him, then says it’s none of his business. Then don’t say anything in the first place!

Luka notices that Patrie is still around and tells Sam. She says Luka shouldn’t have been so dismissive. He’s not happy that Sam discussed so many details of Louise’s condition with the detective; she deserves privacy. Sam says she also deserves a chance to help the police find her attacker. Luka won’t even consider their options. Sam wants to deflate the balloon in the crich tube in Louise’s throat for a few minutes so she can talk. She’s sure Louise will be fine without oxygen for a brief time.

Luka doesn’t like the idea, and he thinks Sam is taking this personally. She always wants to stand up for women who have been assaulted. Wow, what a monster! Luka thinks this stems from Sam’s relationship with Steve. She says firmly that he never raped her, though let’s not forget that when they met, she was 15 and he was 23, so yeah, actually, he committed statutory rape. Also, there was some amount of abuse. But Sam wants to focus on Louise, as well as on what could happen if they don’t help the police find her attacker.

Abby tells Carter that Mi-Cha is totally stable psychologically except when it comes to the baby. She’s worried about getting home by 4:00 so her parents don’t worry. Carter and Abby try to get her to talk about babies in general, but she doesn’t get why, or why there’s a baby in her room. Abby can’t figure out if she’s pretending she didn’t give birth or if she’s actually disassociating. To make things more difficult, Mi-Cha’s mother has arrived, but Abby can’t break confidentiality and tell her what’s going on.

Paramedics bring in some preteen girls in scouting uniforms, but the information they give Neela and Ray doesn’t match the patients. For example, they say one girl is a 43-year-old man; another supposedly has a blood pressure of 73 but she’s awake and talking on a cell phone. A woman named Ms. Scurry brings in 35 more girls and announces that they’re conducting a trauma drill. Apparently no one gave the staff a heads up.

Patrie tells Sam that Louise is a widow who lives alone, and they haven’t been able to find any family members. The rapist has attacked four other women in the past five weeks. He pretends to have gotten lost while delivering pizza. He beats his victims, one of whom died. But each has provided a clue that gets the police closer to the attacker. If Louise dies, they’ll lose a lot of clues.

The staff try to triage the drill participants, which takes them away from helping actual people. Wendall chats with Mi-Cha, who’s still focused on getting home by 4:00. She helps take care of her brother, who’s 23. She objects to having to answer more questions. Wendall tells Abby and Carter that she’ll talk to Mi-Cha’s mother and try to find out more about her brother without violating Mi-Cha’s confidentiality. They debate whether the baby is considered abandoned and should be turned over to Social Services. Carter decides to just tell Mi-Cha’s mother what’s going on. She says Mi-Cha’s father won’t let her come home when he finds out.

Sam checks on Louise and tells her there might be a way for her to talk to Patrie. It requires deflating the crich balloon and blocking the tube in her throat so she can whisper, but it’s risky because she would have to have her oxygen supply cut off. Sam promises that she would stop if there was a complication. Louise agrees to do this if Luka approves of it.

Patrie tells Sam he’s leaving for a few hours but will come back later to check in with Louise. Sam says there’s something else they can try with her. Susan deals with a super-eager scout named Trina, who is going to make a fantastic helicopter mom in about ten years. Weaver chastises Susan for not warning the staff about the drill (even though it was supposed to be a surprise). Susan would like some help figuring out which of the rules she’s supposed to follow and which she can sidestep.

Things are getting more chaotic with scouts running around and Morris turning up soaked because of a mistake with a fake decontamination shower that contained actual water. Susan enlists Weaver to help out, and she at least gets some of them to be quiet. Sam helps Louise talk to Patrie, though Luka doesn’t appear to know what she’s doing and he goes to see another patient without checking in. Louise is able to tell Patrie that her attacker was white and medium height.

Abby reports to Carter that Mi-Cha has started opening up about her family, and her brother is on his way in. Abby says the family is pretty conservative and traditional, so it’s likely that Mi-Cha hid her pregnancy from them. Carter finds Kem’s pictures in a drawer and asks who printed them out. Frank points the finger at Morris. Carter chases him down but Morris is getting on an elevator and can’t talk right now. Also, this never comes back up, so who cares?

Carter goes back to Mi-Cha’s room and tries to get her to take a look at the baby. He tells her how lucky she is to have him. He’s getting really intense and Wendall calls him off as he’s trying to get Mi-Cha to hold her son. Louise continues describing her attacker to Patrie, but she ends up vomiting and then aspirating it into her lungs. Later, Luka quietly chastises Sam for taking such a big risk. Again, he thinks she took the situation personally. He confirms that no one else knows that she did the procedure with the balloon on her own.

Mi-Cha’s brother, Yong-Jo, arrives and Abby tells Carter that he’s developmentally delayed. Carter thinks she and Wendall should handle things from here on out. Wendall asks Yong-Jo about his time with Mi-Cha, and he says she never goes out; she always stays home with him. It’s obvious that he’s been told to say this. Mi-Cha isn’t sure why he’s there, so he tells her he came to see her and the baby. Mi-Cha finally goes over to see the baby as Yong-Jo promises that he didn’t do anything wrong – he didn’t tell anyone.

Trina starts reviewing all the remaining drill participants, really wanting to be helpful. Susan tells Malik to discharge all the fake patients. Trina chatters about her badges and wanting to help and blah blah blah, and eventually Susan decides it’s time to call an end to the whole thing. It’s the most assertive she’s been all day, and the staff is finally listening. She tells Ms. Scurry that they don’t need a drill – they dealt with a helicopter crash and handled all those real patients just fine. Everyone can go.

Pratt catches Chen as she’s leaving with her father. (Pratt didn’t hear about the end of the drill, so he sends a scout up to the OR floor, telling her to hang out for half an hour or so, then come back down.) Susan passes by and tells him the drill’s over and they’re back to seeing patients within 15 minutes of their admission. Chen, who missed Susan’s management weakness earlier, comments that she’s taken to her new role pretty well.

After spending the episode thinking that Yong-Jo was the father of Mi-Cha’s baby, Abby tells Carter the real story: Mi-Cha is secretly dating a guy across the street and has been having Yong-Jo cover for her while they’re together. Whew! Mi-Cha now seems to be accepting that the baby’s hers. Abby tells Wendall that this case seems to have been tough on Carter, since he and Kem lost their baby. Wendall didn’t know about that.

Pratt walks Chen and her father out, seeing how difficult it’s become for her to take care of him. He gets agitated and tears out his G-tube, which was placed to help him eat. Chen tells Pratt and Dori the nurse that she’ll replace her father’s G-tube and then take him home. Dori looks to Pratt for approval, though, as Chen notes, she outranks him. Pratt says that her father should be in a nursing home; at the very least, Chen shouldn’t be giving him so much medical care on her own.

Susan comes to check on Luka and Sam, who haven’t been able to revive Louise. Luka lies that the crich balloon must have burst, something that’s known to happen at times. After almost 40 minutes, he decides they’re not going to be able to save her. When he and Sam are the only two people left in the room, she notes that an autopsy will show that the balloon didn’t burst. Luka bursts it himself to cover up what really happened.

Carter looks in on Mi-Cha, who’s now holding her baby. He apologizes to Wendall for overstepping with Mi-Cha and starts to explain that he and Kem lost their baby. Wendall says she heard and asks if he’s getting help. Sam is still with Louise’s body, wanting to finish up with her before she’s taken to the morgue instead of letting another nurse do it. She admits to Luka that she shouldn’t have done what she did. Luka tries to reassure her, noting that Louise could have died from her injuries anyway. Sam did what she could to help.

Sam is sad that Louise was so traumatized. All she could remember about her attacker was that he was a white guy with dark hair. Sam risked Louise’s life for information that isn’t going to help the cops at all. Luka doesn’t know what to say, so he just holds her.

Thoughts: Yong-Jo is played by Randall Park.

The average wait time to be seen in the ER is ten hours. What is the staff doing all day, then??

Why would you run a drill with fake patients during the staff’s work hours when you can just observe them with real patients? If you’re going to do an activity that takes up so much of the staff’s time, do it outside of work hours. Don’t punish people who need actual medical care by tying up the doctors and nurses with fake emergencies. Also, using kids as the patients seems like a good way to expose them to traumatic situations (and diseases, from hanging around the hospital all day).

June 14, 2022

ER 11.5, An Intern’s Guide to the Galaxy: Embrace Uncertainty

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

This could have been an episode about Neela getting her groove back, but noooo, they had to make it about Ray

Summary: Neela is quizzing herself on her morning run before the first day of her internship. Abby’s having a much less active morning, piling an unread newspaper on top of other newspapers she no longer has time to read. Ray tries to get dressed in the dark so he doesn’t disturb the woman he spent the night with. “Nice meeting you,” she says as he leaves.

Abby and Neela head to County, one trying to convince the other that she’s not always going to feel trapped and doomed when she goes to work. Neela’s worried that everyone knows she had a meltdown and left medicine. Ray greets her as “Dr. Jumbo Mart” as he arrives on a skateboard, holding on to the back of an ambulance.

The three of them jump right in on their first patient, a 15-year-old who was shot multiple times. Sam tells them there are no available trauma rooms. They lose the teen’s pulse in the waiting area, so they wind up cutting open his chest right there. (Ray conveniently carries a scalpel with him.) Neela takes a few moments to get going, but once she does, it’s like she never took a break. Once they’re done, Ray teases the other waiting patients by raising his bloody hands and calling out, “Next?”

Susan fills Abby, Neela, and Ray in on the current patient load, using abbreviations for everything because they’re supposed to pay more attention to privacy. Neela again proves that she hasn’t forgotten everything she learned. The interns are joined by some med students, but only Ray seems to not hate them. Carter tells Pratt to take charge of clearing the board, so Pratt tells the interns to discharge 25 patients during their shift. That’s about two every hour.

The med students pair up with the interns, and Neela gets one named Jane Figler. She praises Neela for helping save the patient in the waiting area, but Neela blows her off when she mentions how there are rumors that Neela “freaked out.” She tells Pratt that she doesn’t want him to go easy on her just because she’s easing into her new role. Not that Pratt was planning to do that anyway.

Jane thinks Neela was kicked out of her job in Michigan, and she wants to know why. Oh, this is going to be a great pairing. Ray has much more luck with his students, who are eager to learn his tricks for getting people to do what he needs. He starts by giving the nurses treats so they’ll be more likely to help him. Abby’s stuck with Urbanus (I think he’s the guy who was hitting on her before), and their first patient is a man named Rick who may have TB. Pratt urges Abby to delegate tasks to students so she can see more patients. She and Neela need to be more like Ray, who’s already discharged his second patient.

Chuny calls for a doctor in the waiting room to tend to a man named Juan who passed out. He blames low blood sugar because he didn’t have breakfast, but he hit his head when he fell, so now he has another problem. Three problems, actually – he has bruises all over his body that suddenly appeared the night before. There’s no way that isn’t a bad sign.

Ray and his students discuss their next patient, a kid named Lucas who’s experiencing the effects of a chronic exposure to lead. His father, Brandon, says he was tested at school, and he’s not sure how Lucas was exposed. He was born early and has always had health problems, including breathing issues and a seizure. Ray brushes that off because the seizure happened while Lucas was sick, something common in small children with high fevers. Ray quickly passes Lucas off to the lead clinic, having spent just a few minutes with him.

Urbanus wants to impress Abby by asking questions that make him look smart. Ray’s students praise him for being patient with Brandon and letting him talk about stuff that probably isn’t relevant to Lucas’ condition. Abby thinks med students should spend more time learning how to take a full patient history and less time worrying about efficiency. Ray says they have to be efficient so they don’t have patients waiting around all day.

Paramedics bring in a 46-year-old man named Mr. Coleman who was injured in a jet-ski crash. Carter lets Abby run the trauma, but Ray either doesn’t hear that or doesn’t care. Carter goes to talk to Mr. Coleman’s wife, Stacy, and let Abby and Ray work things out themselves. Dubenko chastises Abby for letting Ray take over her case. She also shouldn’t be so polite to the blood bank over the phone. Oh, come on. Dubenko continues that Abby shouldn’t let the male doctors bully her or play with her hair when she’s nervous. Dude, leave her alone.

Neela ordered a bunch of tests for Juan without consulting Pratt, since he was busy. He doesn’t get how she’s in last place for patient discharges, since she’s doing everything right. Maybe because she’s not treating this like a competition? Because it shouldn’t be a competition? Dubenko quizzes Abby on jet-skis while walking Ray through a procedure. Abby tries to block him out as he continues paying more attention to her than to their care of the patient.

Jane still has questions for Neela about what happened when she quit her internship in Michigan. Neela, since you’re too polite to tell her to stuff it, ask Abby to do it for you. Ray’s students discharge two more patients, and Neela’s annoyed that he’ll get credit for them despite not having seen them himself. Pratt counts them since he’s delegating. Neela complains that Ray has two students, so he has an advantage. Pratt asks if she can handle two students. I’m not sure Jane has actually done anything, so Neela could definitely use the help?

Abby and Ray continue working on Mr. Coleman as Dubenko continues spewing stuff that doesn’t matter since it’s not going to help the patient. He just wants the doctors to appreciate the science behind what they’re doing. Carter brings Stacy back in and gently tells her that Mr. Coleman is getting worse. Abby gets fed up with Ray edging her out and tells him to take over shocking Mr. Coleman.

Jane: still talking. Chuny tells Pratt to teach the students the difference between micrograms and milligrams. Neela thinks she made the error and tells Pratt that if he has a problem with her work, he should confront her directly. He tells her this isn’t about her. Mr. Coleman is stable but unresponsive, so the doctors have nothing else to do for him except let Stacy sit with him. Abby leaves them to help Luka with his patient, a woman named Elena who overdosed on unknown pills. Now that Abby doesn’t have Ray trying to overshadow her, she’s much more confident.

Ray tells Neela that the Colemans have three kids but they’re too young to come say goodbye to their father. He says he’s okay handling a patient who’s going to die, since it’s just part of the job. Neela gets Juan’s test results, which show that he has leukemia. Carter advises Ray to call a social worker to come be with Stacy. Lucas and Brandon are still in the hospital since an attending hasn’t signed off on Lucas’ discharge. Carter disapproves of Ray’s attempt to send Lucas home without testing his lead levels again.

Neela and Jane go to talk to Juan, who prays as Neela starts to tell him that he has cancer. He thinks he’s being punished because he hit someone with his car yesterday. Neela doesn’t know how to address that, and she chickens out of telling him more about his condition. Rick is upset to be kept waiting for hours when he hasn’t received a definitive diagnosis yet. He objects to the idea of taking medicine for something Abby isn’t even sure he has. He demands a better doctor. Pratt steps in and advises him to follow Abby’s instructions. He tells Abby that part of being a doctor is being reassuring even when you don’t know what’s wrong.

Neela decides to do some research on treatment for leukemia so she can provide that info to Juan along with his diagnosis. Halfway through the discharge competition, Ray has a score of 14 while Neela only has 7. She says she got slowed down when the nurses were dealing with traumas. Pratt notes that Ray has access to the same nurses and is doing twice as well as she is. Yeah, but if the nurses are helping Ray, they can’t necessarily help Neela at the same time. Neela thinks she’s also getting more complicated cases than Ray, but he tells her that’s not true. He advises her not to let Pratt get to her. He also calls Abby the teacher’s pet since the staff loves her.

Dubenko wants to teach the interns and med students about free radicals. Dude, Pratt is going to kill you. He keeps singling out Abby, who won’t play along. He writes on a light board and the wall with a marker, telling the doctors that they need to understand the basics of the science of how human bodies work before they can treat patients. He wants Abby to draw an oxygen atom but Abby won’t do it. Later, she tells Neela that she didn’t refuse because she doesn’t know what the atom looks like; she just didn’t want to deal with Dubenko.

Ray is up to 21 discharged patients and asks if he can leave early if he hits 25 by 4:00. Abby’s stepping things up but Neela is still lagging. Pratt decides to up the quota to 30, since Ray met the previous quota so easily. Wendall comes to the ER and Ray asks her to talk to “trauma 1’s wife.” Wendall doesn’t appreciate him referring to a patient that way. Carter provides the names of the patient and his wife. Wendall disapproves of Ray further when she learns that he hasn’t gone through a checklist he’s supposed to review with a patient’s family after a death.

Abby gives Urbanus instructions for a patient despite not knowing if she has the condition she’s getting antibiotics for. She tells him she’s “trained to embrace uncertainty.” He notes that she hasn’t eaten or drunk anything all shift, then hands her a Coke. Neela is spending a lot of time on Juan’s case, and Jane thinks she’s moved into a territory that shouldn’t be covered by Jane’s ER rotation.

Paramedics bring in a 15-year-old who was clipped by a firetruck but doesn’t seem to have serious injuries. In fact, he’s so unphased that he’s listening to music. “We’ll try and keep this brief,” Abby tells him dryly. Ray tries to go through the checklist with Stacy, who’s more concerned about how to tell her kids that their father’s dead than she is about things like organ donation. She says it’s okay, though it’s not clear she’s actually listening to Ray.

Elena is stable and didn’t take anything too dangerous; she tells Abby she didn’t try to kill herself. Abby wants her to talk to a psychiatrist anyway. Chuny and Sam both interrupt while they’re talking, and Pratt comes in just as Elena is about to tell Abby what happened. Once Abby gets rid of him, Elena explains that she had sex with a man who has HIV (though she didn’t know that until he left her a note the next morning). The condom broke, and out of fear, she made a stupid decision. Abby tells her that one sexual encounter with someone who has HIV carries a fairly low risk of infection.

Neela goes back to Juan, but he’s already left. She tells Ray about the case and laments that she didn’t give Juan all the information he needs. She could have reassured him, but instead she left him alone. Ray’s students decide to let Jane join their team, since Neela clearly isn’t helping Jane get anything out of this rotation. While working on the firetruck patient together, Abby asks Luka about a preventive treatment that can keep someone who was exposed to HIV from getting infected. It’s only available to health-care workers right now, since it’s expensive.

Neela has to tell Pratt that Juan ran away before she could finish up with him. He’s furious. Abby tries to get more information on treatment for Elena, also furious because it’s not available to the public even though it could prevent the spread of HIV. She tries to reassure Neela that feeling like she’s made a mistake with her career is normal at this point in the day. Carter spots Wendall trying to calm Stacy as she refuses to let a surgeon take Mr. Coleman up to have his organs harvested.

Ray offers donuts to the nurses, a habit he’s developed at the start of each nursing shift, according to Abby. Pratt chastises Abby for not discharging more patients. She complains that she keeps getting complicated cases and would like just one patient who has a clear problem she can fix. She asks Sam why one of her patients hasn’t gone up for a scan yet. They’re backed up, but Ray knows the tech likes bear claws, so he offers his box of donuts to Abby to give him one. Abby thinks he’s creepy for being like this, but Sam says he gets the job done.

Pratt updates the scoreboard – Ray 26, Abby 19, Neela 16. A security guard reports that there’s a patient in the chapel with an ER wristband. Neela immediately runs off to get Juan. Abby calls the employee health department and lies that she was stuck by a needle. Carter brings Mr. Coleman’s checklist to Ray, asking if he actually went through it with Stacy. She says she didn’t consent to donating her husband’s organs. Now a patient who was expecting to receive his heart will have to keep waiting for a transplant. When Ray insists that Stacy gave consent, Carter yells that he can’t take shortcuts or miss details.

Abby gets some blood drawn and is rewarded with the treatment regimen she can give Elena. Neela finds Juan and tells him straight out that he has leukemia, but it’s treatable and his prognosis is good. She knows he feels like he’s being punished, but something led him here. She promises that the doctors at County will get him through this. There’s a reason he came here today.

Carter heard about Abby’s “needle stick” and offers to let to let her go home early. She says she’s fine, then confirms that Wendall is okay letting Elena be discharged. Urbanus is super-worried about Abby and agrees to get her an iced tea, since she feels woozy from having her blood drawn. Ray intercepts a message Sam was going to give to Stacy and takes it to her himself so he can follow up with her. She doesn’t seem to get that there was a miscommunication problem, or that Ray was responsible for it.

Abby has learned that favors work, so she asks Ray if he has any connections in the pharmacy who can doctor the labels on her prescriptions so Elena can have them instead. “I think I’m falling in love,” he tells her. Keep it in your pants, Ray. Carter checks in with Neela, who says her first day was hard but she’s not going to call it quits. She even got Juan to agree to treatment. Carter sees Wendall leaving and offers to walk out with her.

Abby gives Elena her medication and sends her home. Urbanus asks Abby out but she turns him down. Pratt teases Ray for wearing a ripped shirt, but Ray thinks he’s untouchable since he met his quota. However, the real winner of the competition is Sam, who discharged 75 patients in one shift. Also, Ray is one short. He invites Abby and Neela to go out, but they can’t believe he still has energy at the end of the shift. The interns start wrapping things up by passing their patients off to the more senior doctors so they can go home, then come back in a few hours and do this all over again.

Thoughts: Jane is played by Sara Gilbert.

Ray bugs me but there’s no denying that he’s a good doctor and has excellent bedside manner (usually). I like how he calls Lucas “Mr. Lucas.”

So Carter has nothing to say about Pratt pitting the interns against each other and basically making them race? He just addresses it with Ray?

June 7, 2022

ER 11.4, Fear: This Episode Will Wreck You

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

People come and people go but Noah Wyle continues to cling to his paycheck

Summary: A man is pounding on the door of the third-floor apartment where a woman named Nichelle lives with her young kids, Kali, Saige, and Tamira. The man threatens to kill them, then fires a bullet through the door. Nichelle moves the kids away as Saige asks what’s going on. The man starts breaking down the door, and Nichelle looks at her only escape option: a window.

Elizabeth is on her way to work, talking to Carter on the phone about how she’s facing a meeting with a committee about Douglas’ transplant. Ella is with her, looking at pictures of Mark and his parents. She’s now old enough to understand that her father and grandparents are dead, though she may not get exactly what that means. Apparently Alex never goes to school because Sam always has to find something for him to do; today he’ll be going to a science museum. She brings up the possibility of moving in with Luka, and while Alex is interested, he doesn’t jump straight to saying yes.

Neela’s new job at the mini-mart across the street from County definitely isn’t very stimulating. Howard buys a coffee, and when he takes forever to count out exact change, Abby says she’ll pay for it. She tells Neela she thinks Howard has OCD. Abby is spending the day on a paramedic ride-along, having been unable to talk her way out of the mandatory requirement by pleading that she gets carsick.

Carter talks to Weaver about the meeting that could lead to Elizabeth losing her medical license and/or job at County. He wants to speak on her behalf and take some responsibility, since he talked Elizabeth into doing the transplant, but Weaver notes that he wasn’t the one who picked up a scalpel. As a cheery Pratt arrives for his shift, Weaver tells Carter that she thinks some doctors are using work to deal with PTSD. Carter assures her that Pratt’s fine, but Weaver says she wasn’t talking about him.

She’s concerned that Carter is taking on more work so he doesn’t have to face his grief over the baby’s death. That could cause him to relapse. A woman named Wendall Meade tries to join them in the elevator but they don’t catch the door for her in time. Weaver reminds Carter that he’s been through a lot and is an addict, so he shouldn’t tempt fate. He promises that there won’t be a problem. Weaver will take his word for it, but she won’t approve him to work extra shifts. She encourages him to do something fun that doesn’t involve hanging around the hospital.

Susan’s back from maternity leave and wants to take on the role of chief of emergency medicine. She turned it down previously, but her circumstances have changed. She’s realized she’s not a baby person, and Chuck is fine being a stay-at-home father as long as Susan can earn enough to make up for the loss of his salary. She’ll get $1,000 more a week, but she’ll have to make a two-year commitment, which is fine with Susan. Weaver happily hands off some of her responsibilities.

Abby’s ambulance is the one that responds to the scene showing the aftermath of what happened at Nichelle’s apartment. She and Saige are fine but Kali and Tamira are lying on the pavement outside the building, badly injured. Nichelle tells the paramedics that her husband tried to kill the kids. Kali’s conscious and she asks Abby if she’s an angel who’s going to take her to Heaven.

Pratt quizzes the med students, showing them the exact amount of patience you would expect. He takes them with him as he examines a man named Mr. Hayslip who has some bumps on his shoulder. These bumps are what he was asking the med students about, so now he understands why they were clueless. He spots Chen down the hall and goes to greet her. She was supposed to get the cast on her leg from the shooting/car crash removed, but she doesn’t want to wait for an available orthopedist, so she borrowed a cast-cutter to do it herself. Pratt offers to lend a hand.

The paramedics start to take Tamira and Kali to the hospital. Nichelle worries that her husband will come back, but a paramedic (Dumar) promises that the police will protect them. Nichelle doesn’t want to split up the kids, so Abby convinces the paramedics to take Nichelle and Saige along, too. Dumar reminds Abby that she’s just supposed to be doing a ride-along.

Pratt removes Chen’s cast, which he notes doesn’t have anything written on it. Chen admits that she hasn’t left her house in weeks. She only came in because her father had to be admitted for a third round of pneumonia, among other problems. Pratt says she could have called him for a ride, but Chen isn’t eager to get back in a car with him. She asks if he ever thinks about Elgin. I’m guessing he thinks about Elgin a lot but doesn’t want to admit it.

Kali and Tamira arrive at County, and Carter and Pratt take over their care. Nichelle is understandably distraught, and Carter tell Chuny to get her connected with Social Services (and also get her out of the trauma room). He asks Abby if they caught the father. Dumar tells Abby they have another call to take, but Abby is in nurse mode and doesn’t want to leave Kali, so she tells Dumar she’ll wait until they come back after their next run. He reminds her that she has to do 12 hours of ride-alongs to get the proper amount of credits.

Elizabeth undergoes interrogation at the committee meeting, which is attended by Weaver, Anspaugh, and Kayson. She dances around the question of whether the rest of the surgical team knew they were participating in an illegal operation. Elizabeth stresses that there was a time crunch, so they had to bypass regular procedures. And since Douglas is doing great, she doesn’t see the problem. You know, other than the part where everything she did was illegal. She thinks breaking the law is less important than saving Douglas. Anspaugh notes that Derek was the patient; Douglas just benefited from his death.

Weaver reminds Elizabeth that she broke hospital policy, as well as state and federal laws. Any of those infractions are grounds for her termination and/or revocation of her license if the situation is reported to the state board. Dubenko arrives and Elizabeth objects to his presence, even though he’s on the medical ethics committee (which, as Kayson points out, she would have known if she’d followed protocol and presented the case to them). Weaver looks sad, but there’s nothing she can do here. Elizabeth will just have to wait for the committee’s decision.

She joins Luka, Ray, and Sam as they take care of Tamira, who’s four and just keeps calling out for her mother. Luka tries to distract her with a conversation about the Wiggles. He explains that he likes to keep up with kids’ TV so he has something to talk to younger patients about. “I hate the bloody Wiggles,” Elizabeth says as she heads next door to check on Kali. Carter asks how the meeting went; he doesn’t think Elizabeth will face any steep consequences. Kali asks for “angel,” making sure Abby’s still with her.

The med students duck into the room to tell Pratt that Mr. Hayslip has a huge mass in his chest. Carter tells Pratt he can go; he’s fine with just Howard as backup (and Abby’s still there until she needs to go back on the ride-along). Sam calls Elizabeth back to Tamira, who’s declining. She asks if they should bring Nichelle back in to say goodbye, but Elizabeth is confident that they can save Tamira.

Susan is already struggling in her new role and wonders if the universe is punishing her for being a bad mother. She and Jerry complain to each other about how Neela isn’t great at making coffee or toasting bagels. Weaver nags Susan to step up her pace, then informs her that another ER is closing for renovations soon, so County will have double the patients. Jerry simultaneously congratulates Susan on her promotion and submits a request for time off/demand for a raise/letter of resignation if he doesn’t get both.

Kali is unstable both physically and mentally. Nichelle panics over her and Tamira’s conditions, believing the staff isn’t doing enough for them. Abby calms her and assures her that they’re helping the girls. Pratt and the med students return to Mr. Hayslip with the unfortunate news that he has stage 4 lung cancer. The lumps are a sign that it’s spread to his skin. Pratt tells the med students to stay with Mr. Hayslip for emotional support, but probably also because he doesn’t want to deal with them anymore.

He goes to Kali’s trauma room and takes over for Howard. Dubenko gives Pratt and Carter some instructions, mentioning a piece of equipment they didn’t know was available. Saige comes in, asking hesitantly if his sister is going to die. Carter promises that they’ll do everything they can for her. He tells Howard to take Saige out of the room, but Howard says that’s a social worker’s job. Next it would fall to a nurse, but Chuny’s the only one there and Carter needs her. Saige says he’d rather talk to Pratt anyway (possibly since they’re both Black), so Pratt leaves with him.

As Carter’s complaining that no social worker has arrived, Wendall shows up. She tells him she’s covering two hospitals at the same time, so she has an excuse for being late, but she’d like to know his for being a jerk. Chuny smiles at that as she borrows something from Tamira’s trauma room, where Elizabeth and Dubenko are both consulting. When Tamira declines, they both rush to stabilize her. Dubenko wins and Elizabeth isn’t happy about it.

Wendall meets with Nichelle, who’s too traumatized to talk about what happened. She just wants to pray for her daughters to live and her husband to die. She laughs/cries that he gave her her children, and now he’s going to take them away. Saige asks Pratt if Nichelle will be okay. Pratt stays optimistic, both about the family surviving and about the police protecting them. Saige wets himself, and Abby tells Pratt where he can get the boy some clean scrubs.

A detective tells Abby that the police haven’t had any luck finding Nichelle’s husband. He may have left the state a year ago. No neighbors saw or heard anything, so the police haven’t been able to confirm that he was there. He goes to talk to Nichelle, who says her husband drinks a lot, so he might be at a bar.

Dubenko surprises Elizabeth by praising her for performing Douglas’ transplant. Just when she gets the chance to start liking him, he overrules a decision she made for Kali. Howard brings Abby back to Kali’s trauma room, where Dubenko’s equipment hasn’t done what he hoped it would do. Kali heartbreakingly murmurs that she wasn’t a bad girl and she wants to go to Heaven. “I want to go with you, angel,” she tells Abby before passing out.

Howard counts to himself (“one, two, three, squeeze”) over and over as he bags Kali so she can breathe. He has to concentrate harder as the other staff in the room communicate, tossing out numbers that interfere with his counting. Eventually it becomes too much for him and he yells for everyone to shut up. Meanwhile, Sam tells Luka that the girls’ conditions made her want to call Alex. He asks if she’s decided whether or not they’re ready to move in. Susan overhears and jokingly warns Sam not to do it. Sam tells Luka they’re discussing it but need a little more time to decide.

Howard’s OCD interferes again as he asks Abby to triple-check things on Kali’s chart before giving her another transfusion. While his desire to do everything right is admirable, they don’t have the luxury of time here. Pratt tends to Saige, who admits that he was scared back in the apartment. He wishes he’d done something to stop what happened. Pratt reminds him that he’s just a kid. Saige thinks that, as the oldest, he’s responsible for his sisters, even though he’s only nine. Pratt says that he couldn’t have stopped his father from what he did. “He was never there,” Saige reveals.

Kali’s doing much worse, and Howard is convinced that it’s because they screwed up her last transfusion. Wendall brings Nichelle in, wanting her to be with her daughter (though Carter doesn’t think that’s a good idea). Carter, Abby, and Elizabeth are prepared to keep working on Kali, but they all realize that they can’t do anything for her. They stop so Nichelle can say goodbye to her. When Nichelle realizes they’re done trying to save Kali, she just yells, “No!” over and over.

Elizabeth goes to Weaver’s office, where she learns that Weaver has advocated for her to stay on at County, just in an instructional position (without tenure) instead of as a surgeon. Elizabeth notes that she’s worked there for seven years and will lose tenure because of a single patient. Weaver reminds her that she broke the law and had to have known there could be serious consequences. Elizabeth thought she would get more support and appreciation for saving Douglas’ life.

She threatens to go public about the hospital’s willingness to let Douglas die if the state board revokes her license. She feels like what she did was extraordinary. Weaver agrees, but that’s not what the hospital is there for. They have enough trouble meeting the community’s basic needs. Elizabeth asks if they’re really expected to get through each day doing just enough when they can do so much more.

Abby finds Howard packing up his locker in the lounge. She wants him to talk about his obvious OCD, but he won’t listen. She assures him that the staff didn’t do anything wrong – Kali’s father, not the staff, is responsible for her death. Howard thinks his thoroughness should be praised instead of scrutinized. As he storms out, Abby tells Susan what’s going on. With Howard quitting, Susan has yet another problem to deal with.

Abby goes back to Kali’s trauma room, where Carter is cleaning up her body. She can tell he’s struggling to deal with the death of a child. He asks how she’s doing and she admits that this was a hard day. She feels for both Carter and Nichelle, having lost children. Pratt comes in to tell them that Saige said he hasn’t seen his father in a while. Someone has also uncovered the news that his father died a year ago.

Susan scrambles to find a first-year intern who qualified to match at County but doesn’t currently have a job. Somehow there are only four in the whole country. Ray offers to talk to a friend who took off a year to live with wolves. Yeah, we’re going to pass on her, Ray, but thanks for your help. Jerry thinks Susan could change Howard’s mind, but she tried, and all he did was unlock and relock his car doors. Ray mentions a neurologist who wants to get into emergency medicine. The downside is that he’s 60. Ray, stop helping! Susan is happy to learn of a candidate in Milwaukee, but Sam brings her down by revealing that Tamira died in the OR.

Wendall and Pratt tell Abby and Carter that police confirmed Nichelle’s husband’s death last year. According to Saige, Nichelle struggled to function after he died. She wound up taking Valium three times a day, then stopped when she ran out of money last week. The doctors guess that quitting cold turkey after months of taking it caused psychosis and hallucinations. Abby wonders what really happened in the apartment, since Saige hasn’t told anyone.

Abby’s in trouble for missing her ride-along, like, is this her last chance ever to do it or something? Nichelle has received some Valium, so Wendall, Carter, and Pratt hope she’ll be able to tell them what happened. Susan calls an intern candidate, but he probably won’t be a good fit in Chicago since he doesn’t speak English. There’s another prospect but his tattoos and piercings outnumber Ray’s, so that’s probably a bust, too.

Carter and Wendall gently ask Nichelle to explain what happened in the apartment. She’s not sure, but she’s lucid enough to know that her husband wasn’t there, since he’s dead. We see the opening of the episode again, this time without anyone banging on the door or shooting into the apartment. No wonder Saige was confused – his mother was yelling at someone who wasn’t there. Nichelle remembers the hallucination, then what happened to Kali and Tamira: She told them to jump out the window so their father couldn’t get to them. Saige is only alive because he wouldn’t jump, too.

Abby goes across the street to invite Neela to get dinner with her. Neela still has an hour left of work; her shifts at the mini-mart are longer than at the hospital. Plus, the only skills she’s learning at the mini-mart are ones like cleaning out the hot dog machine. Susan joins them and orders a coffee and an intern to replace Howard. Abby tells her that Neela’s having a very early midlife crisis combined with a delayed teen rebellion. Susan is desperate, though, and she knows Neela can’t be enjoying her new job. She’s right, and it just takes one complaint from a customer to get Neela to agree to take Howard’s spot.

Carter meets up with Elizabeth by the river, where she tells him she’s not taking Weaver’s offer. There isn’t enough of a future for her at County, so she’s leaving. Carter offers to talk to Weaver for her but Elizabeth feels good about walking away now. She’s lost Mark and other friends, and she has no reason to stay in Chicago. She’s known that for a while now but hasn’t let herself accept that she needs to close this chapter of her life and move on.

He asks where she’s going to go next. She hasn’t made a firm decision but she plans to go back to England for a while. She asks Carter to apologize to everyone and say goodbye for her. She doesn’t want to cry in front of everyone. She starts to leave, turning back when Carter asks what to tell everyone. “Tell them…it’s been lovely,” she replies.

Thoughts: Wendall is played by Mädchen Amick.

Goodbye to Alex Kingston, who smartly decided after a full season of getting nothing to do that it was time to leave. She’ll be back a couple more times, though.

Now that I’ve recapped this episode, I plan to never watch it again, and hopefully someday forget about it entirely. It’s heartbreaking just thinking about it.

I think it’s really interesting that Alex asks Sam if she wants to live with Luka. I don’t see him as the sort of person who thinks of others a lot.