June 12, 2018

ER 1.21, House of Cards: Handle With Care

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:04 pm by Jenn

“Google Earth. Always taking pics”

Summary: This show is seriously obsessed with people sleeping. Doug is in bed with Diane, and since he slept through his alarm, she wants him to get moving before Jake finds out he spent the night. But when Doug goes to use the bathroom, he runs into Jake, who knows he’s been there the past two nights. He also doesn’t care that his mother is in a relationship.

If you’ve missed seeing Benton be short with Carter and Chen, you’re in luck! Here he is, being short with Carter and Chen. The students are supposed to complete procedure books by the end of the day, and Chen’s isn’t done. She complains that Carter’s been there longer and has done more procedures, so he has an advantage. She’s especially mad that he’s already done a femoral cutdown.

Mark wants his patient to have an ultrasound in case he has appendicitis. Susan doesn’t think it’s necessary, since he could just have gas. Swift joins them and makes his own diagnosis: the flu. The stomach pain is from gas, and the ultrasound is unnecessary. Mark doesn’t appreciate being second-guessed.

Mae is ready to be released from the hospital, but Benton and Jackie haven’t told her they’re sending her to a care facility. Benton wants to be the one to break the news, but Jackie comes along so the siblings can provide a united front. Mae doesn’t take the news well, but she doesn’t protest like she’s done in the past.

Susan thinks Swift was out of line the way he jumped into her and Mark’s case, but Mark thinks he was right to stop them from running unnecessary tests. He knows Swift’s opinion of him isn’t going to change. The two are pulled in to tend to a new patient, and Susan allows Carter to insert a central line. Chen is again jealous. Doug examines a girl named Janette who probably has the flu, though her heart rate is a little fast. Her mother, Mrs. Ryan, worries about the cost of the tests Doug needs to run, since she doesn’t have insurance. Doug promises that they’ll work something out.

Mark and Carter examine a woman named Anita who has a bad cough. Mark suspects tuberculosis, but Anita isn’t forthcoming with details that might help him come to a conclusion. She finally admits that her daughter has also been sick. Mark wants to make her stay at the hospital, since she could be highly contagious, but he can’t force her. All he can do is give her medicine and advise her to take it. Anita seems nervous about her immigration status, but Mark promises they won’t ask any questions. She agrees to stay a little longer.

Susan and Carol try to keep straight faces while welcoming two patients, elderly sisters who were involved in a slow-motion car crash. The paramedic who brings them in, Zadro, says the only danger they present is to each other. Janette gets worse quickly, and Doug has to shock her heart back into rhythm. Carol examines one of the elderly sisters and realizes that one of them, Sari, has horrible vision, even with her huge glasses. She blames her sister, Shirley, thinking Shirley blinded her in the car accident. Then Carol realizes that Sari’s wearing the wrong glasses. Womp womp?

Haleh invites Carter to perform a pelvic exam that he can include in his procedures book. Carter’s already done plenty of those, but Haleh doesn’t care. Doug tells Mrs. Ryan that Janette has a heart condition and needs to be admitted. She’ll be fine, and someone from Social Services will help Mrs. Ryan apply for Medicaid. Susan encourages Mark to talk to Swift about his behavior earlier, but Mark still doesn’t see a point. When a pregnant patient comes in, Mark tells Susan to take her.

Carter’s patient, Mrs. Blum, has requested him personally, though he’s never met her. She explains that he treated her friend Barbara, who got pregnant a week after Carter examined her. Barbara thinks Carter was the key, so she told her friend to see him in hopes that she’ll get pregnant as well. Swift asks Mark why Susan’s examining the pregnant patient Mark was supposed to see. Swift knows about Jodi and wants Mark to present her case at a conference that afternoon.

Mrs. Salazar does indeed have TB, so Mark tells her to bring her family in to get tested. Mrs. Salazar says she’ll bring them tomorrow; she feels okay and wants to leave. Mark tries to tell her how serious her illness could be, and how worried he is about her kids. He tells her straight out that her immigration status doesn’t matter. Mrs. Salazar ignores him when he angrily tells her that she’ll infect anyone she comes into contact with if she leaves. Susan pulls him out of the room and points out that yelling isn’t going to make Mrs. Salazar want to stick around.

Doug has a patient who needs a procedure Carter hasn’t performed yet, so Carter gets to do something else to put in his book. He gets peed on by a baby for his troubles, but at least Carol, Doug, and the baby’s mother get a good laugh. Susan talks to a woman named Mrs. Gainsley whose husband made her come in because he thinks she has paranoid delusions. Her answers to Susan’s questions don’t indicate that she does, but that doesn’t keep Susan and Lydia from becoming concerned over the arsenal of weapons she’s brought with her.

Jeanie’s waiting with Mae for the ambulance that will take her to her new home. Benton promises his mother that she’ll like the facility, but she doesn’t want to talk to him. Doug thinks Mark will do fine at his conference, but Mark knows the doctors attending will be out for his blood. He gets even more worried when he learns that the conference room where the “interrogation” was going to take place was too small to hold all the attendees, so it’s been moved to the auditorium.

Chen’s day starts looking up when she hears Benton chastising Carter for giving a patient water when she wasn’t supposed to eat or drink anything. Carter’s mistake leads to Chen being rewarded with an invitation to scrub in with Benton. The auditorium is full, and it’s time for Mark’s interrogation. Despite the short amount of time he was given to prepare, Mark answers all the questions like a pro. Swift defends Mark’s skills, but Coburn won’t stop pressing him. Mark admits to his mistakes, saying he should have taken Jodi up to OB earlier.

After the interrogation, Swift tells Mark that eventually he’ll get over his feelings of guilt for what happened to Jodi. Mark wonders if he’s supposed to feel relieved once everything gets worked out. Then he tells Swift not to disagree with a diagnosis in front of a patient again. Doug gets Jake a bike, which seems inappropriate when Diane hasn’t even spoken to Jake about their relationship. But it’s Doug, so I probably shouldn’t expect better from him.

Mrs. Salazar has split, and though Lydia offers to reach her at home, Mark thinks she gave them a fake address. Susan enlists him to help take care of a patient named Mr. Smiley who crashed his car. Smiley is uncooperative and resists medical attention, but since he’s drunk, Mark gets to override him. Chen’s riding high on her great day and even offers to get Haleh coffee. In exchange, she asks Haleh to throw her some procedures.

Haleh sends Chen to insert an IV on a drug addict. Wendy determines that the patient needs a central line, a procedure Chen hasn’t performed yet. As Mark, Susan, Benton, and Carol finish up with Smiley, Wendy finds Chen finishing up her patient’s central line. She wasn’t supposed to do it, and definitely not on her own. Wendy’s worried that she’ll get fired (though she wasn’t in the room and didn’t know Chen was doing it, so she’ll probably be off the hook).

Chen thinks she’s done everything right, but she realizes that she left the guide wire in the patient’s chest. Swift and Benton have to get involved, and the patient will have to go to the cath lab. Carter finds out what happened and tries to talk to Chen, who runs off in distress. And that’s why you don’t compete with your colleagues in a profession where mistakes can lead to major complications and even death.

Carter later admits to Carol that he feels responsible, though she points out that he wasn’t the one who almost killed someone. Benton comes looking for Chen, telling Carter that Swift wants to talk to her. The patient is okay, but he could sue. Diane chastises Doug for getting Jake a bike when he already has one. He can’t just get Jake everything he wants. Diane thinks Doug is trying to go through Jake to win her over.

Mark and Susan go to Doc Magoo’s together, and he reveals for the first time that he and Jen are over. He’s worried about all the time he’ll lose with Rachel. Susan urges him to go to Milwaukee and try to smooth things over. Back in the ER, Doug, Carol, and Lydia work on a boy named Billy who was hit by a truck. It goes on forever, and I’m not sure of the point, other than to demonstrate that, while emotionally immature, Doug is a competent doctor. Afterward, Diane offers a peace offering in the form of pizza with Jake.

Mae is settling into her new home, looking at old pictures with Benton. She thinks he’s younger than he is and asks if he still wants to be a doctor. She tells him that his talent is God’s gift to him; what he does with it is his gift back to God. Mark calls Jen from the doctors’ lounge and tells her he wants to visit the next day. She puts him off until the weekend. Mark ends the call by telling Jen he loves her, but she doesn’t say it back. Susan goes home to a surprise outside her apartment: Chloe. She’s baaaaaaack.

Carter goes to see Chen at her house, which is actually her parents’ mansion. It’s full of people attending a catered party. She admits that she wanted the central-line procedure so badly that she didn’t care about the patient. She’s going to quit. Carter thinks she can get past this and become a great doctor. Chen doesn’t like being surrounded by sickness, though; she only likes the science part of medicine.

Carter tells her that when he was a kid, his brother was sick, and was in and out of the hospital. When Carter saw how the doctors treated him, he realized that’s what he wanted to be. Chen says that’s the difference between them – Carter cares about his patients, and takes the time to listen to them. She’s not looking forward to telling her parents what happened, and is wise enough to know she should wait until after the party, which is for their anniversary. She’s grateful that Carter came to see her.

Mark’s horrible day ends on a high note when Mrs. Salazar returns to the hospital with her children so they can be treated. At Susan’s, Chloe reveals that her boyfriend ditched her and sold her stuff. She still has Susan’s coat, though a kid in the car she hitched a ride in threw up on it. Susan wants her to see an OB (hopefully not Coburn), since she’s only seen a doctor once in her time away. Despite all the angst Chloe causes, Susan’s happy that her sister’s okay, and is ready to help her through whatever comes next.

Thoughts: ‘Bye, Chen! You served no purpose in these episodes, and you’re mostly just annoying when you come back in season 6. Congratulations on being a waste of Ming Na’s talents.

I thought the twist was going to be that Mrs. Gainsley’s husband was dead, so she really was delusional because she was talking to his ghost.

Coburn shouldn’t be asking any questions at Mark’s interrogation, since her department is to blame for not coming to the ER.

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June 5, 2018

ER 1.20, Full Moon, Saturday Night: All Night Long

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 5:05 pm by Jenn

Yes, please take me to County for medical treatment. They really seem to know what they’re doing there

Summary: Mark is lost in thought in a trauma room, remembering how he was unable to save Jodi O’Brien. Susan convinces him to take the night off; she’ll page him if he’s needed. Benton’s mother is still in the hospital, and Jeanie offers to sit with her while Benton finishes up some work. They agree to get dinner afterward, and Carter tries to invite himself along. Susan warns Carter that since there’s a full moon, things are about to get crazy. Right on cue, a patient high on PCP and strapped to a gurney breaks a window and trashes a trauma room.

Carter catches Chen sneaking a peak at his paperwork to see how his procedures measure up against hers. With Mark gone, Susan needs another doctor on shift with her, but no one’s available. Carol suggests Doug, pretending not to be bothered when she learns that he has a date with Diane. Susan and Carter tend to a patient named David who was in a car accident. Susan lets Carter take charge, and he does everything right. Chen volunteers to help out, not wanting to let Carter take on any cases without her.

Mark has dinner across the street at Doc Magoo’s, annoyed when another patron tries to chat with him. Mr. Travis, the driver who hit David, is uninjured and wants to apologize for the accident. Carter and Chen are still working on him, deciding that whoever completes more of his stitches gets to claim him as their patient. In the hallway, Mr. Travis collapses with chest pain. Chen and Carter see the commotion as Susan and Carol tend to him, and Chen ditches Carter to jump on the new, more interesting case.

The man chatting with Mark at Doc Magoo’s arrives and reveals that he’s a doctor, Willy Swift. Carol thinks he’s the moonlighter Susan called in. Susan is pretty casual and condescending with him; she thinks he’ll have trouble keeping up with the chaos of a night in the ER. They disagree about Travis’ diagnosis, but Swift doesn’t make a big deal out of it. And he could, because he’s not a moonlighter – he’s Morgenstern’s replacement, the new ER chief.

Carol, Malik, and Haleh draw straws to determine who has to treat a patient with lice. Carol loses, and Haleh says she’ll soon be able to put away her nursing scrubs. She figures that Carol will quit her job after she and Tag get married. Tag arrives just then, and he and Carol discuss some wedding details they haven’t solidified yet. Benton joins them, complaining that Tag didn’t tell him that Mae is being discharged. Her Medicare won’t pay for any more time in the hospital, so the family needs to discuss options. Benton is determined to take her back home.

As midnight approaches, rooms are filling up, but Susan knows the patients won’t stop coming. Tag brings Carol some music to listen to so they can pick a band. He recognizes Swift, telling Carol they played football together in college. Some frat guys come in with frostbite after being left in Lincoln Park without their clothes; Susan dubs them “popsicle pledges.”

Benton finds Mae restrained in her bed and promises that it won’t happen again. He’s mad that Jeanie let the doctors restrain her for trying to leave her bed. Jeanie admits that she’s the one who requested it. Benton tells her not to come back. Carter’s next patient, Arlena, thinks her abdominal pain is due to the moon, which has putting something inside her. Carter agrees that there might be something inside her, but he suspects it’s a baby. She wants to do his astrological chart. (For the record, Carter’s birthday is June 4th, 1970.)

Susan has a patient named Jimmy who can’t stop hiccuping. His fiancée thinks it’s related to their upcoming wedding. Carol and Tag discuss honeymoon destinations and china patterns, like, have they done ANY planning yet? The patient whose leg they’re casting is amused. Swift asks where Mark is, since he’s scheduled to work, and Susan lies that he went home sick.

Carter confirms Arlena’s pregnancy, but she thinks their “journey” together isn’t over yet. She senses that he’s conflicted and trying to find his way. He should follow his inner voice and fight against people who want to destroy him. Carol welcomes back a patient who went on the run so he could have a drink. Just as Susan’s starting to enjoy most of the male doctors being gone, a cherry bomb goes off in a trash can. She and Carol decide it’s courtesy of the popsicle pledges.

County gets a call to implement disaster protocol – there was a fire at a nightclub, and they’ll need to tend to patients with third-degree burns. Doug gets called in and has to leave Diane behind in bed. She offers him a spare key in case he gets the chance to come back, though he’ll have to leave before Jake gets up. Benton is also paged to the ER (he has a short trip to make, since he’s in his mother’s hospital room), but Mark doesn’t hear his beeper over the noise in the busy arcade where he’s playing a video game.

Things are quiet when Doug arrives in the ER almost 30 minutes after he was paged. Swift reveals that there was no disaster; he just wanted to see how long it would take everyone to respond. Now he has a captive audience to go over some policies. Chen asks Carter to help her with her patient, who’s been groping her. The patient, Mr. Denardo, doesn’t appreciate being tended to by such young doctors, but it’s that or risk infection in his injured finger. Chen almost sets him on fire by combining a cauterizing tool with ethyl chloride.

Swift quizzes his staff on illnesses and procedures, stumping Doug with a question. Bob answers it correctly when she comes in to tell Susan that Mark’s on the phone for her. He’s finally answered his page and makes it to the ER and hour and 47 minutes after being summoned, as Swift is wrapping up. He recognizes Mark from Doc Magoo’s and mentions the lie Susan told about him having the flu.

Benton returns to his mother’s room and finds her on the floor next to her bed. Susan and Carter determine that Arlena is pregnant with twins, which Arlena says makes sense, as Carter’s a Gemini. One embryo is healthy but the other is ectopic and has to be removed before it ruptures. Arlena takes the news well, happy to be able to continue the other pregnancy.

Carol cleans up a patient named Talbot who claims to be a werewolf who needs to be placed in restraints until sunrise. He spooks her by growling at her. Carter hears him howling, and Carol advises him to lock the door when he goes to take a nap. Jimmy’s hiccups are gone, but they were caused by abscesses on his liver, so Susan needs to run some tests. She asks some questions that make Jimmy realize that she suspects that he has HIV. He claims that he hasn’t had unprotected sex with any men or prostitutes who could have given him the virus.

Doug and Mark discuss Swift, wondering if he’ll take Morgenstern’s recommendation to make Mark an attending. Doug can tell that Mark is distracted by the O’Brien case and encourages him to let it go. Mark can’t stop thinking about how Jodi won’t be around to see her son take his first steps in a year. Doug invites Mark to come home with him so they can talk, but Mark wants to be alone.

After taking care of a bunch of drunks and psych patients, the doctors get a trauma. Carter is pulled out of bed to help Susan and Carol give a patient chest compressions. Haleh tells Susan that a baby was found in a trash bag and is being brought in with hypothermia. (Hey, whoever’s responsible for this: Enjoy Hell.) Susan hands the baby off to Swift so she can go back to the other patient. Tag also joins the group, helping to restart the patient’s heart. Susan teaches Carter how to massage it so it fills. Once the patient is stable, Susan returns to Swift and the baby, who’s improving. Swift tells her to take a break now that things are under control.

Chen’s still taking care of minor patients, so Carter brags that he got to do an internal cardiac massage. The sun is already up when Doug makes it back to Diane, so he doesn’t have much time before he has to leave again. Jen finds Mark sitting on an El platform, the same place Doug left him hours earlier. Doug called her and sent her to talk to her soon-to-be-ex-husband. Jen reminds Mark that he’s human, so he can’t save all of his patients. She seems to think that having breakfast will solve everything.

Jimmy’s fiancée asks Susan if there’s a chance she could be sick, too. She confides that she thinks Jimmy’s keeping something from her. Benton goes to Jeanie’s house and meets her husband, Al. Benton admits that he can’t take care of his mother on his own, like he thought he could. He asks her to help him find a facility where she can get the care she needs. Susan and Carol congratulate each other on how well they rocked the full-moon shift. Carol asks Susan to be a bridesmaid, warning that she might not be as excited about the honor when she sees her dress.

Susan then finds Swift trying to fix a sink in a bathroom, since maintenance hasn’t shown up. He suggests that she apply to be chief resident and is surprised to learn that she’s only a second-year resident. He wants to make some changes to the chain of command in the ER. Carter claims he had a great night, and he calls in a radio request for Susan. The two of them and Carol end their shift by dancing to “Twist and Shout.”

Thoughts: David is played by a practically unrecognizable Adam Scott. Al is played by a different actor here than in later episodes, and this guy is handsome, but he’s no Michael Beach.

This episode is a good example of why I could never be a doctor: Any job that requires me to be awake at 2:30 in the morning isn’t a job I want.

Early episodes really had a lot of storylines that never got resolved, and too many patients to keep track of. Think of all the first-season patients whose fates are never known. There’s so much left open.