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Chicago Med - To Lean In, or To Let Go - Review

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Dr. Scott and Dr. Charles treat an overdose patient (and their battle with Dr. Archer)

As Dr. Scott was discharging a pediatric patient, a young woman comes running in saying she does not want to die. It is revealed that she took about 12-14 sleeping pills about 15-20 minutes before presenting to the ED, and Dr. Scott begins to treat her (cue the disgusting activated charcoal…yuck!) and asks for them to page Dr. Charles.

When Dr. Charles joins in the assessment with Dr. Scott, we find out that the patient says she was drinking and was talking to her mom and they don’t have a relationship, and this is why she acted impulsively. She keeps asking about when she can leave, and shares that she is heading to Congo, and she is a human rights attorney for UNICEF trying to help save children in foreign countries.

Every time I watch Dr. Scott, I fall in love with how kind and caring his character is a little more, and this was all to true when we watch him and Dr. Charles talk to their suicidal patient. They try to encourage her to talk to someone as the weight can come off your shoulders, and both of them share stories from their past of when they needed help to get through difficult times when you are focused on helping others. While we had the “dream team” speaking with her, it was a long and challenging task because she was clear that she views any type of self care as being self indulgent. Eventually she breaks down and she says it is not the first time she has tried to hurt herself. Dr. Charles tells her he had a feeling that was the case and that he wants to voluntarily admitted herself. Eventually, she reluctantly agrees to be admitted. However, there are sadly no inpatient psychiatry beds in any hospital nearby. This is an all true reality for mental health patients and the overburdened system that is lacking in resources, and once again we get to see the realism that the Chicago Med writers bring to this series touching on real issues and struggles from the healthcare system.

Enter Dr. Archer (aka the devil in a lab coat), who tells Dr. Scott and Dr. Charles that they are not running a bed and breakfast and that they need to look at the state mental hospital. Dr. Charles and Scott both do not feel that is the right environment for their patient, and Dr. Scott argues with Dr. Archer, saying he runs the ED like a “drive thru car wash”, and that he needs to start thinking about the patients first. I for one was yelling, “Bravo! Go Dr. Scott” as not only was he showing how much he cared about his patient, but who could not love someone who puts Dr. Archer in his place. We also learn more about why Dr. Scott transitioned from being a police officer to becoming a doctor, and it was a very touching story that really showed what a big heart he has, and so nice to see him developing a relationship and trust with Dr. Charles when sharing his story.

Ultimately, they do have to send her to the state hospital, which she is very upset to hear, but Dr. Scott and Dr. Charles work together and speak with colleagues and former colleagues from PD, and make arrangements for an easier transition where they can make her feels safe. As she is leaving the ED with two police officers, Dr. Charles tells Dr. Scott that while this was not what they wanted, they had done their best to get her treatment she needed and make her feel safe, and sometimes you have to focus on the wins.

As always, Dr. Charles has some wonderful words of wisdom, and I cannot wait to see more of this dynamic duo in the season to come, and feel that they are well suited to work collaboratively with patients experiencing emotional distress.

Dr. Halstead and Dr. Hammer treat a patient with Addison’s Disease

An ambulance arrives and both Dr. Halstead and Dr. Hammer jump to take it. Again we get to see a little of that old rivalry crop up, and I certainly hope that the source of this unspoken heightened uncertainty in their relationship will be revealed in more detail as the season carries on. The patient is Brandon, a 17 year old with Addison’s disease who collapsed at the park with a high blood sugar. He has no history of Diabetes but he is on Prednisone for his Addison’s, and Will and Stevie want to investigate if the steroids could be the cause. The patients mom arrives and is super overbearing, stating she manages all her sons meds, diet and exercise…she is very upset as her son is supposed to start a new trial for Addison’s and Diabetes is an exclusion criteria.

Stevie and Will start discussing possible causes and Will is wondering if mom has Munchhausen by Proxy because she is so controlling, but Stevie disagrees so they decide they need to look at other possibilities also. As Will’s suspicions grow, they decide to have a social worker come to meet with them, and at this point the mother becomes infuriated, and says she knows they are blaming her and think she is hurting her son, and she is not. Brandon sticks up for her and they say they are trying to help Brandon, but she demands to speak to their supervisor. At this point Brandon breaks down and says he took extra meds because he does not want to do the trial.

Brandon admits to Will and Stevie that he does not want to join the trial because he feels he has missed out on so much and he wants to go away to college (in London) and his mom doesn’t get it. He says he knows his body better than anyone and he can handle things himself, but his mom ends the conversation stating London has to wait and he is doing the trial. Will is upset as Brandon will be 18 in less than 6 months, and he feels he should have a choice, but Stevie says to Will “it is not our call”. However, in true Will Halstead style, that answer is not acceptable to Will, and as you watched the scene unfold, you could literally see the wheels in Will’s mind turning the way we have seen many times before, usually ending in repercussions for Will with Goodwin after he acts on his idea.

Will tells Brandon there is something he can do, and presents him with an option. Brandon tells his mom that he is seeking counsel to become emancipated as he does not want to do the trial. His mother is furious and Stevie is also very angry with Will, saying he is tearing the family apart and that he was always sticking his nose where it did not belong, just like he always has. I found this comment very interesting, as perhaps this is the start of our Chicago Med writers leading us into some of the back story of Will and Stevie’s relationship in med school. When Will asks why she is sticking up for Brandon’s mother, she says his mom needs someone in her corner too and Will says she needs to remember Brandon is the patient and their job is to protect him and present all the options to him.

Stevie reaches out to Ms. Davies and says she admires how much she cares for her son. We learn that Brandon had his first crisis after his father was killed in a head on collision. She was so scared she was going to lose him and this is why she is so determined to help and protect him. Stevie reassures her and says that she has done such a good job caring for him, she is sure he knows how to care for himself. She also shares that she always wished for a mom like her. This is an interesting comment considering what we have already learned about her mother, and perhaps this is foreshadowing the story that will be revealed over the course of the season related to Dr. Hammer’s family. Could this be one of the places Will stuck his nose in where it did not belong? Only time will tell…

The story concludes with Brandon’s mom agreeing to let Brandon not do the trial. Will tells Stevie that he heard that she talked to mom, and we get to see a glimpse of some flirting between these 2 characters as she says if Will had spent more time on studying vs his hair he would be less broke. This was some fun banter and enjoyable to watch, but Dr. Hammer better be careful what she says about Will’s hair, because it would be fair to say that it has its own very dedicated fan base that will be very offended by any negative hair comments.

Dr. Archer, Vanessa and Dr. Marcel

It is Vanessa’s birthday and she finds a cupcake in her locker. It turns out it was Maggie that bought it for her and after some pleasant conversation, Vanessa agrees to go for a birthday drink with Maggie.

Dr. Archer seems to feel that Vanessa is showing good initiative and has her join him when a trauma comes in. There are no rooms available so they have to take 2 patients to the Hybrid OR Room and bring in stretchers to be able to treat them. Archer and Vanessa are dealing with a motorcycle victim who was hit by a car and Dr. Marcel is treating the woman who hit him. While an ED can be extremely busy and in this case it could have been a matter of life and death, I do wonder about the legal and ethical implications however of treating two people from the same accident in the same room. If I recall correctly, Ambulance 61 received a disciplinary action against them in one of the early seasons by transporting two victims from the same accident (a child who was hit and the man that hit her) in the same ambulance, even though it was critical. I am curious if those same concerns would not apply in this scenario also. However, just like with Ambo 61, they needed to do what needed to be done to help the patients, so perhaps we can overlook that detail for now.

The motorcyclists arm is quite mangled and Dr. Archer tells Vanessa that it likely needs to amputated and Vanessa is concerned that may be a bit to drastic and feels that perhaps they should try a graft and try to re-vascularize the arm, but Archer says that is a bad idea that would only lead to a bad outcome. Vanessa says ok and that maybe it was not a good idea, giving Archer a chance to flex his ego, saying that she will to determine the best treatment options once she has as much experience as he does. However, Vanessa and Marcel share a look in the Hybrid room, which definitely made is seem like perhaps Vanessa’s idea was more viable and realistic than Archer had lead her to believe. I am personally very impressed with the skill Steven Weber brings to playing the character of Dr. Archer, because he has really mastered how to create the egotistical and passive aggressive behaviour we have come to know from this character, which is what makes Dr. Archer such a disagreeable person to have to watch interacting with the characters we love.

Vanessa talks to Marcel, and he encourages Vanessa to stand strong if she feels something is a good idea, and that she should talk to Archer again about presenting the graft as an option to the patient. He says her idea was not dumb and tells her that it is what he would have done. Vanessa decides to take the plunge and talks to Archer, trying to advocate for the patient and stating she had discussed the idea with Dr. Marcel. Dr. Archer deals with the situation in his all to familiar passive aggressive way, and says to present the option to family and if they agree she and Marcel can take case and also take the responsibility for the treatment and the outcome, no matter how good or bad it may be.

This leaves Vanessa seemingly upset, and when Maggie notices, it sets off the “momma bear” instincts and she talks to Marcel, indicating that Vanessa reports to Archer and he should be careful what he encourages her to do that could cause problems for her.

Marcel and Vanessa complete the OR, and the outcome for the patient is good. Marcel saves his arm, and they both recognize that they seem to make a good team. Vanessa is thankful for his advice, and she mentions to him the mentor program that Goodwin had been speaking with Marcel about, stating she is not matched with anyone and she asks him to be her advisor, to which he agrees. I think this will create a wonderfully new rich layer to the dynamics of the ED, since we know that Vanessa ultimately reports to Archer, and he and Marcel do not often see eye to eye. However I think this new mentoring role is a wonderful way for us to continue to see the softer, kind and caring side of Dr. Marcel, and I am sure that many fans have been ready and waiting to see more of this this season.

Marcel does mention to Vanessa that Maggie was worried he had given her bad advice, and this ends up causing another riff in the Vanessa and Maggie relationship, as she decides not to go for drinks with her, and is upset that she is butting in where she should not be. There certainly was the potential for friction when Vanessa and Maggie began to work together, and while we are all hopeful for a happy ending and outcome for them and their relationship, I think that it is important for viewers to see the realism of how difficult these types of reunions can be, and our Chicago Med writers are definitely up to the task of giving us just that.

Goodwin, Will and the Dr. Cooper Investigation

At the beginning of the episode, Goodwin is filling in Will on some things that she found out about Dr. Cooper and there seems to be a lot of evidence of potential kickbacks, so Will says he will ask around about the Vascon uses in ICU. Will pokes around the ICU, trying to speak to the nurses about how much Dr. Cooper is using the Vascon and Cooper overhears and joins the conversation and he talks to Will about some of the statistics and how much he loves the Vascon, even though it is more expensive. Will updates Goodwin Halstead about Cooper’s hard sales pitch, and says he will continue to ask him about it and see what he can find out. But later he returns to her office, and says he thinks that the approach they are taking with Cooper is wrong. Will says he is going to cry broke to Cooper and see if he could try to bring him in. Goodwin says she definitely chose the right man for the job, which was a very interesting comment to hear, since reckless and behind the scenes plotting are usually something Will ends up in trouble for with Goodwin, so seeing her encourage this side of him is an interesting curve this season for sure. I for one and loving this partnership in this investigation, and am anxiously awaiting to see the next steps and if they will be able to get the evidence they need.

Goodwin also spent time in this episode talking to Marcel about resident mentoring program, which he said he would think about (and ultimately agrees to when Vanessa asks him). While they are talking, Goodwin is lightheaded and she tests and realizes her blood sugar is high and she decides she needs to go see endocrinology. Dr. Yang comes to see Goodwin, and tells her that her labs show her blood sugar has been climbing for over a month. She says this can happen over time and that she is going to adjust her meds, but asks her if stress may be causing the issues. Goodwin of course denies that she is under any additional stress. While I understand that perhaps some of her stressors have to be kept confidential (like the Dr. Cooper investigation), I am not sure that the best plan is to lie to her doctors, especially when it is negatively effecting her Diabetes. I am also quite curious if her old friend Dr. Charles is aware of what she is going through, and if perhaps a visit and a coffee chat with him is long overdue. I know I would enjoy seeing this friendship rekindle and strengthen again this season.

It definitely was a week of highs, lows, happiness, sadness, stress and tension all rolled into one hour like only our One Chicago franchise can deliver. It seems that there will be a lot of new dynamics to be explored as we climb aboard the Chicago Med roller coaster for Season 7. I know I am in line and cannot wait for the ride…how about you?
What did you think of this episode of Chicago Med? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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