Each week Chicago Med has a myriad of medical cases ranging from ordinary to extraordinary, and each doctor treats each patient differently. The point is that they are there for their patients, to speak about conditions they don’t understand when they are at their most vulnerable. This power is incredibly important for patients who don’t have the ability to speak for themselves. Then it becomes the medical professional’s job not only to treat the patient, but to advocate for them as well.
A young girl from Ecuador in need of heart surgery is an educational case for several. April needs to be busy after losing her baby, so taking care of a scared child makes sense. She ends up taking care of the mother, who is a drug mule. Revealing this to the hospital board would mean alerting the DEA, who would deport the mother where she would be killed. April does whatever she can to help this mother, even if it means compromising her and Dr. Choi’s licenses. Dr. Latham, whose TMS treatments have been successfully aiding in his communication with others, isn’t just connecting better with his colleagues. He’s the one person who can calm the little girl. The problem is that during the surgery Latham can no longer see his patients as just patients. He sees them as people, with feelings and emotions and a potential future. Having that in his head rattled him to the point that he couldn’t finish the surgery. Because the TMS treatments could have affected Latham’s ability to focus on his patient’s immediate needs, he decides to suspend them for the moment. He can use other therapies to help with his Asperger’s, but his social skills are not worth a patient’s life. That Latham recognizes this means he is on the right track no matter what.
Reese gets a lesson in the complexities of adolescent psychology. During a visit at a teen treatment center she connects with one of the patients, so much so that the girl attempts suicide so she can be transferred to the hospital to try to talk to Reese. Whether or not she is mentally ill will be debated, but the circumstances on which she was committed were not ethical. An adolescent patient’s future should not be based on testimony from a mentally unstable parent and an egotistically defensive doctor. Even when the girl cuts her wrist thinking that she’ll never get out of the facility, Dr. Charles and Reese aren’t convinced she’s crazy. Losing hope is a sign of being human, not insanity. Challenging the court order makes the most sense to advocate for a patient who can’t properly advocate for herself.
Dr. Manning is appalled to realize that Theresa, a comatose woman was raped and impregnated. It’s the worst kind of abuse. Manning is just as appalled when her patient’s parents decide their daughter should continue with the pregnancy because they want a living piece of her. Putting aside all of the moral quandries of this decision, it is not medically advisable for a comatose patient to carry a pregnancy long term. Before Manning feels comfortable letting her patient go, she runs every neurological test in the book to be sure Theresa has every chance to speak for herself. On a hunch, Theresa is tested again for Locked In Syndrome. Theresa has in fact been conscious, but locked in her own body for 5 years. Once this is confirmed, doctors can take steps to improve Theresa’s condition so that she may communicate her wishes about her own body.
The lesson of this week is that there is always hope, there is always another avenue.
Chicago Med Season 2 Episode 16 Review: "Prisoner's Dilemma"
This week’s Chicago Med has the doctors advocating for several patients who feel trapped by each of their own circumstances.