The reason behind Dr. Wheeler’s presence recently in the ED became well known in the opening minute of the hour. Dr. Wheeler walked into the ED and greeted the familiar faces as he would any other morning, but then he made his way to the roof where he wasted little time in jumping off the ledge. Though the staff was not aware, we’ve seen Dr. Wheeler struggle for the better part of the season. Sadly, his story came to a tragic end. Though the doctors and nurses of Chicago Med are obviously impacted by the events of the morning, the work doesn’t stop—instead, they carry the grief with them.
“We’re in the business of saving lives. And the moment people lose confidence in their leader, the fight is lost.”
Ethan and Will argue over the treatment of a boy who presents with stroke symptoms. This was tough to watch—I hate seeing these two at odds! But it was to be expected. In times of grief, Ethan tends to throw himself into his work even more and operates with a “by any means necessary” attitude. In this case, that included going directly against his attending’s (Will) orders. In the end, they were both wrong—their patient’s symptoms proved to be psychological.
While Ethan’s grief manifested quickly in his work with his patient, Will’s took time to present itself. As uncool as it was to see these two argue, I appreciated the juxtaposition of their grief—it showed that grief is different for everyone, even over the same event. In the end, both felt a responsibility for their fallen colleague; “Maybe what happened wasn’t my fault, but I didn’t help.”
“Am I a monster?”
Natalie, Noah, April, and Clark treat Dustin, a young boy in the ED after falling in freezing water. Because bypass machines were unavailable, Natalie sets up a rotation of manual compressions, all while trying to warm Dustin up at just the right speed. Naturally, Dustin’s parents are terrified, and that panic comes out as anger toward Natalie. Always the pro, Natalie handles it with class, but later breaks down. This isn’t the first time her heart has been questioned (remember when her nickname was the Ice Princess?), which is heartbreaking. She’s one of the sweetest, most caring ones!
Alas, the moment I’ve been dreading. Things officially ended for April and Tate, who decided their lives just didn’t align. Even though this was a long(ish) time coming, I’m still upset. I loved these two together and I appreciated the show giving significant time to a romantic storyline that involved someone outside the hospital.
“He just saw a kid in trouble and reacted.”
Jim, Dustin’s savior, ends up needing heart surgery with Connor. Though Jim’s ailments seem to solely be of the heart, Sarah can’t help but look for psychological needs, likely because she’s processing Dr. Wheeler’s death. She asks, “How did you know he needed help?” and it’s clear she’s wondering for herself as well. Both Connor and Sarah lament the wasted opportunity to help Dr. Wheeler, but they also didn’t have all the pieces. That’s the scary thing—do we ever really know? As Connor says during Jim’s surgery, “I know that you feel like you let Wheeler down, like you missed the signs of him needing help. As doctors, all we can do is learn from that and try not to miss them again.”
Leave it Maggie to bring comforting words to Dr. Wheeler’s grieving father. Like she says, none of them really knew Dr. Wheeler, but even the smallest anecdote she shared gave us a solid look at Dr. Wheeler’s character—he spent time in the children’s oncology ward performing magic tricks for the kids, so that for even just a moment, they didn’t have to think about their illness.
What did you think of the episode? Were you surprised by Dr. Wheeler’s suicide? What will the lasting effects be?