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Chicago Med – It Is What It Is, Until It Isn’t – Review

While love is blooming for Dr. Charles and Lillianna, this episode had a lot of themes about breaking stigma, whether it is stigma around possible addictions or stigma about background and race or even some look at stigma of certain diagnosis. And in typical style, our Chicago Med doctors were there to advocate for their patients and fight those stigmas to ensure their patients had the best possible outcomes.

Dr. Marcel, Dr. Lieu, Dr. Charles and Omar Thomas

Dr. Lieu takes Dr. Asher with him to his climbing gym, and it was wonderful to see not only the team bonding outside of the ED, but also to learn a little more about Dr. Lieu. They notice Justin’s friend Omar is acting strangely and then he falls. Dr. Lieu helps break his fall, burning his hands with the rope in the process, but Omar injures both his ankles with the impact.

When they arrive at the hospital, overall Omar is doing well other than dislocating both ankles. Dr. Lieu shares that he did not hit his head but he seems to be having memory difficulties like he is stuck in a loop, and shares it seems like he was possibly having the same issue before the fall, so Dr. Marcel suggests that they consult Dr. Charles.

Dr. Charles examines him, and he is definitely having some memory issues, and he gets very upset and his blood pressure and heart rate spike up so Dr. Charles works to calm him down. Dr. Charles asks Dr. Lieu to run some metabolic testing, as he feels the issue may be more neurological and the results show it appears that he has a severe B vitamin deficiency. Dr. Lieu shares with Dr. Charles that eating disorders are common in the climbing community and they order Omar some IV nutrition. They talk to him about his nutrition and he tells them he had been dieting, and he says he is vegetarian and keto. It was wonderful to see that Dr. Charles recognized the possible signs of an eating issue based on Omar’s tray in his room, because sadly all too often eating disorders are not well recognized in men.

After some IV nutrition, Omar’s memory improves and he tells them that he has been having headaches and Dr. Charles does a test and he is not able to move his eyes. Omar is very anxious but again Dr. Charles is able to calm him, and they order an MRI and it shows that he has an adenoma and a small bleed that could be causing the eye lock, and they consult neurosurgery to fix the issue. With how astute he is with mood and psychiatric issues, it is easy to forget what a competent physician Dr. Charles is and how knowledgeable he seems to be about neurological issues. It does make sense since some neurological issues can present with changes to behavior and mentation, but this only makes Dr. Charles that much more of an asset to the ED and an even more enduring character.

Omar thanks them for their kindness and they tell him to get well.

Dr. Halstead, Maggie and Aaron Curtis

Will runs into Maggie and tells her he has an idea for the next game night at her place. It is clear that she has not shared with anyone that she and Ben are currently separated. This is very sad because Maggie is such a supportive friend to everyone, and surely they would return the favor if she is in need. It is curious why Maggie has always been so private about many things in her own life when it comes to what she shares with her colleagues (think back to when she had cancer). It is curious that we have never really had an explanation why she is so fiercely private, even after eight seasons.

A young man, Aaron Curtis, 22, comes in by ambulance who passed out at work. He is complaining of abdominal pain, and when they do an x-ray, they see a bullet in his abdomen. They turn him to find the wound which is several days old and healing over.

The officers speak with Will and Maggie about a recent robbery where the clerk and the robber exchanged bullets and they seem to feel that Aaron is their guy, but from their interactions with him, Will and Maggie share with each other that they do not feel he could have done this. Aaron later shares with Will and Maggie that he was in the store but was a customer and was not involved in the crime, but he got hit when the bullets started flying and he says knows that the crime will be framed on him. He says when it comes to people like him, the truth doesn’t matter.

Maggie and Will speak to Atwater (cue mini crossover), who says it is not his case, but Aaron seems to be a good kid from his inquiries and he feels he is not likely linked to the crime. Kevin tells them his theory is before there is a who for a crime there is a why, and with Aaron, there just seems to be no why around him committing a crime. Will and Maggie thank him, and try to figure out how they might be able to help him.

Aaron becomes unresponsive while the detective is talking to him and is having a GI bleed from the bullet eroding part of a vessel by his pancreas but he refuses surgery as he knows if the police get the bullet they will try to pin the crime on him as it will show he was at the scene. The detectives take some of the discarded pads from the floor to test and tell Will and Maggie that blood at the scene is a match to Aaron, and they have found he is only 17 so the state can compel surgery and they have a warrant for the bullet.

Dr. Marcel tries to problem solve how they can help solve the issue without removing the bullet and he is able to use the new technology in OR 2.0 to complete the needed repair to the vessel with a stent and did not need to remove the bullet.

After the surgery they find out that PD has now arrested someone else for the crime and are no longer looking at Aaron. Will and Maggie discuss this up on the roof (cue terrible green screen) and Maggie finally shares with Will that she and Ben are separated and she does not know where the future lies, and Will comforts her. It was wonderful to see Maggie open up, and the friendship between her and Will has always been a very special one, so it makes sense that other than Sharon that he might be the person she reaches out too. We can also only hope that she and Ben will be able to move past this troubled spot and reconcile in the near future.

Dr. Asher, Dr. Archer and Jodi Dunner

Jodi Dunner comes into the ED, and the triage nurse asks Dr. Asher to go and see her because she has been crying non-stop in pain since she came in. She tells Dr. Asher she is having a flare up of endometriosis, and Hannah takes her in to an exam room. However, her demeanor seems odd and she has never had a formal diagnosis of endometriosis, so Dr. Asher examines her and runs some tests but holds off on any strong pain medication for the time being.

Dr. Asher runs her name through the system that has been implemented to help identify potential drug seeking patients and her file comes up red flagged for multiple prescriptions in the past for sedatives and opioids and so she asks Dr. Archer for a second opinion. The program will require Dr. Archer to sign off to override and give her any pain medications, but Dr. Asher says while something is not right, she is not getting an addict vibe from her.

Dr. Archer examines her and she seems listless even though her toxicology screen is clear, and Dr. Archer feels she may indeed be drug seeking. Hannah is upset because she thinks that Jodi was able to fool her and she should know better, but surprisingly Dean is very kind and tells her that she wanted to help her and believe her and that is not a bad thing. This newfound comradery between these two characters has really allowed us to see a more human and refreshing side of Dr. Archer and it is one that I hope we see more of.

Suddenly however Jodi has a seizure, and she did not receive anything and is not showing signs of withdrawl, so they take her for a CT of head and chest as clearly something more is going on. They discover that she has a rare lung cancer, and show her the scan and they are hoping to do surgery but they are concerned if she is capable of consent due to her muted affect, so they consult psychiatry. While she has a slowness to her responses, they determine she is capable of consent and they get her consent to do her surgery. Hannah is upset because the new algorithm they are being asked to use labelled her as a drug seeker and they would have let her walk, and she is worried about future patients being labelled and not getting the care they need.

Hannah goes to speak to Sharon Goodwin and Peter Kalmick and she feels they should not be using the algorithm. She presents several cases where the algorithm did not work, and Sharon shares her concerns. The company will not share with them any data on how their program works and says she is not comfortable using it if that is the case and she will be petitioning to remove the program hospital wide.

Dr. Archer tells Dr. Asher that she did a great job sticking it to legal, but Dr. Asher tells him that she looked at her name and she is also immediately red flagged and so no matter how her recovery goes, somewhere she will be labelled for life. You can definitely see how these words hit Dr. Archer, especially considering not only his newly discovered respect for Hannah as a physician and dare-we-say-it friend, but also when you reflect on the fact that he just found out his son is being released from prison.

Dr. Archer and Sean

Dean gets a call to come to the jail and Sean tells him that he is being released early for good behavior. Dean goes to see Daniel, and they have a drink together and he shares with him that Sean is being paroled. He talks about how he had a patient today and how today it seems you are still rated and judged based on your past. This was another great scene as while we have enjoyed Dr. Archer and Dr. Charles butting heads, they also seem to have found some common ground over this past season, and developed a level of respect for one another, even when they at times disagree. It was wonderful to see Dean reaching out to Daniel when he wanted to mull his day over, and I hope we see more of this in the future.

When Sean is released, Dean goes to pick him up and they agree to try to start over and share a hug. This is one of the first times that we see some genuine loving emotion from Dr. Archer, and it is wonderful to be able to see this character evolve and learn more about him with his family. It will be great to see where our One Chicago writers decide to take this storyline next, and if it follows the usual pattern we have come to expect at Chicago Med, you can definitely expect some drama and excitement in the future.

What did you think of this episode of Chicago Med? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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