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Chicago Med – Know When to Hold and When to Fold – Review

4 Apr 2023

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If we were to sum up this episode in one word, it would probably be change...changes to people's lives, health, mindsets, futures...and once again our Chicago Med writing team has done a wonderful job weaving together medical and personal challenges for our Chicago Med characters in a seamless and eloquent way.

Dr. Archer, Maggie, Dr. Hudgins, Sean and Dr. Asher

Dr. Archer has his Peritoneal Dialysis catheter inserted. He has not told Sean yet and is upset to find out Hannah helped Sean get a job at the hospital, as he says it is only a matter of time until he finds out and he does not want to derail his progress, but Hannah encourages Dean to tell Sean, saying honesty and trust will help his recovery.

Dr. Hudgins asks Dr. Archer about how he is feeling and Dr. Archer is rude to him. Vincent Jones comes in from an MVC and Dr. Archer continues to give Dr. Hudgins a hard time as they treat the patient. Zach intubates him and orders tests and he has a dislocated hip. They take him for a scan and Dr. Archer appears to be in pain as he treats him.

Zach has only observed the hip reduction before so Dean tells him he is assisting, but when Zach tells him he is concerned because the procedure is very physically taxing, Dean yells at him and says he will not be advised by a resident and kicks him off the case and Maggie gives Zach another patient to see. Maggie tells Dr. Archer that she will not have him speak to residents that way and he says he just wants to get the procedure done, so she calls in an orderly, Murphy, to help. Dean hurts himself and Maggie sends Murphy to IR with the patient and takes Dean to a bed.

Maggie attends to him as he tore a stitch and Maggie tells him there is no shame in having an illness. Maggie shares with him her story of what it was like when she had cancer. She said people who are being kind is not an act of pity. All they want to do is support him and he needs to let them, and that it is not weakness to let people be kind, it is strength. And she also tells him Zach is a good doctor but he just needs to be encouraged and that is their job. Dr. Archer updates Zach on the patient and tells him there is a simulation dummy in one of the rooms and that he will show him how to reduce the hip and he can do it.

Hannah comes upon Dean telling Sean about what is going on. He asks her if she can do him a favor. She helps him get connected to his PD and he says she does not have to stay but she says she is a night owl. They laugh as the episode closes.

This was such a great development in the Dean Archer transformation. Last season, he would have never have been open to having Hannah or Maggie give him any advice, and would have rudely dismissed them. But his relationship with his team members in the ED and perhaps his illness and his growing friendship with Hannah seems to have really opened him up and made him much more receptive to listening and respecting his colleagues in a new and improved way. We can only hope this will continue and perhaps even improve even more in the future.

Dr. Halstead, Dr. Asher and Ms. Wallace

Doris, Maggie and Will are bowling and Maggie invites Grace Song to join them. Maggie is trying fix up Will and Grace. Grace shares with Will that she has played for years and then she beats them all. The next day in the ED she asks him to play again but he declines, and Hannah teases him about his new crush, but he says she is misreading the situation and they are just friends.

Kara Wallace has been vomiting non-stop for a few days, and Dr. Halstead works her up for GI problems. She is 6 weeks post-partum from IVF and Will consults Hannah to make sure he is not missing anything. Dr. Asher says she could have pre-eclampsia even though it is postpartum, and she apologizes for teasing him earlier. She orders some labs and meds for his patient.

There are no signs of pre-eclampsia and they think maybe it is just stress. They go to speak to Kara and let her know it may just be stress. Suddenly she gets a facial droop and collapses with weakness and they initiate the stroke alert. After some brain scans, they diagnose her with Moya-Moya disease which is a progressive disorder that blocks blood flow to the brain. They suggest medications and to wait for surgery at a better time but she insists that she wants the surgery to correct the problem so they refer her to neurosurgery.

Will tells Hannah they are getting ready to operate on Kara, and Will tells Hannah he is interested in Grace. He says his dating track record has not been great here and she says she wonders if all the excuses are about Natalie. She said it always felt like he was carrying a torch for her, but he says now it is him trying to get it right, and she says he is a great guy and deserves to be happy. Will then sees Grace in the locker room and offers to buy Grace a coffee and she says how about a drink instead.

It is wonderful not only to see Will making another attempt at love, but also see the great friendship he and Hannah have. It seemed like earlier in the season he may have wanted to try to rekindle his past relationship with her, so it is nice to see him moving on. We will now all need to keep our fingers crossed as poor Will was right that he does not have the best track record with love and relationships within the hospital.

Dr. Marcel, Dr. Abrams, Goodwin and Qwan-Yu

Qwan-Yu has ankylosing spondylitis and it has fused the vertebrae of his spine. He lives bent over and has not laid on his back in 19 years and his mother, Dashiyah, cares for him and keeps his hope alive. They discuss the technical challenges of this type of surgery but with OR 2.0 they are able to help and Dr. Marcel spoke to Jack Dayton who agreed to take the case as long as they are able to make a film about it.

Dr. Abrams comes in to speak to Qwan-Yu as he will be the lead surgeon. The film maker asks for him to speak to the camera in plain English and he declines and refers them back to Dr. Marcel. Dr. Thomas comes to speak to Sharon and she says she is worried that cameras will not make for the best healing environment, but he says this surgery puts Gaffney on the same playing field as the Mayo clinic.

Dr. Charles comes to stay with Qwan-Yu’s mother and the nurse preps him for the OR. His mother is upset that she can’t go into the OR as she always helps with his care. Dr. Charles stays with her and takes her to a waiting room right near the OR. She clings to a necklace he had on.

Dr. Abrams is not happy about the cameras filming the surgery but says if he did not take the case someone else would have paralyzed the kid. Dr. Marcel tries to explain that without Jack and the 2.0 the surgery would have never happened and Sam says neither would have Crockett’s involvement. They are operating on Qwan-Yu and Sam keeps getting more annoyed with the camera’s and they try to convince him to use the 2.0 technology vs. taking him to an MRI.

They are waiting for an update and Goodwin leaves to take a call. His mother tells Dr. Charles the story behind the stone, and that she made him the stone into a necklace as hope that one day her son would play again. The filmmakers come out to speak to Dashiyah about a possible complication in the OR and Goodwin says now is not the time. Goodwin says they film at her discretion and that they cannot speak to Dashiyah before the surgeons provide an update. Dr. Charles takes her to his office.

Dr. Marcel and Dr. Abrams are not seeing any cord injury, so they continue the surgery. Suddenly there is an emergency and Dr. Marcel is concerned Qwan-Yu has a pneumothorax and he has to do a needle decompression. The camera crew is trying to get in and ask questions and Dr. Abrams tells them to be quiet.

Dr. Charles gives Dashiyah some tea and gets an update and tells her the surgery went well. Daniel tells her that with time and rehabilitation, Qwan-Yu should live a relatively normal life. She says this is the day they have been waiting for, and she then says she is not sure what will happen now. Daniel works with her about how her feelings are normal, and that she is not being selfish. He reassures her she will always be his mother and one half of the same stone.

Dr. Charles brings Dashiyah to see Qwan-Yu and he is so happy to be able to see her. Goodwin makes the cameras wait and George tells her this is what the audience wants to see, but she says the family deserve a little time without cameras and she has to look out for her patients. She reminds him, who are we if we do not look out for our patients.

Dr. Marcel finishes the interview with the filmmakers and he says the main thing is they were able to do a revolutionary surgery. He goes to speak to Dr. Abrams and Sam tells Crockett that Dayton’s vision of who to help is narrow and that word has come down that OR 2.0 is now only for paying customers.

This was a complicated storyline that really touched on many different elements. It revealed some possible motivations behind helping the patient, and while it could be a great outcome for the young man’s future, there was also an underlying motivation of gaining publicity for the hospital and the 2.0 technology. We also were able to see Sharon, and even Sam in his own way, fighting for the best care for their patient, and that this required setting limits with the film crew. We also were able to see Dr. Charles’s amazing compassion for Qwan-Yu’s mother, and helping her to see that whenever you experience a life change, even if it seems amazing, there can still be a grief process as you think about losing what was there before. And this also helped Dr. Charles to realize how this was being mirrored in what he was going through with Anna too.

Dr. Charles and Anna

Anna is applying to university and they discuss all the options she is considering. Daniel thought she was considering staying closer to Chicago and is surprised that she is applying to Stanford.

He goes to talk to Anna after his day at work and she says she had changed her mind about applying to Stanford, and he tells her what she has accomplished in school gives her the right to apply anywhere in the country and she does not need to worry about him, so she applies.

Again, such a wonderful example of how Daniel takes what he learns from patients and applies that to his own life to make things better for his personal life also. It also shows what an amazing and proud father he is. And who wouldn’t love Dr. Charles being their dad…

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