After-Take: CHICAGO MED “Withdrawal”
Name of the Episode: “Withdrawal”
Beware – spoilers!
Vicky is packing for her two months trip to Bethesda for a conference. Ethan doesn’t want her to go, but he now has a little company with the parrot he’s adopted from his last ambulance call. At the hospital, Will tells Natalie he has been offered a job in California. He hasn’t made a decision yet, but he has a slim chance to still stay at Med. As he’s discussing his plan, a patient comes in with a broken leg. He was found at the bottom of the stairs, he’s still drunk before the fall. Chuck Gleason knows April because he’s a frequent visitor for his drunken mistakes. As the doctors are assessing his condition, he begins to have a seizure. April says he’s never had this happen before and this can’t mean anything good to come. Ethan gives the security guard, Earl the parrot so his kids can enjoy it; guess his company is gone for now. Inside the hospital, Chuck is suffering delirium and reacting violently, he needs to stay at least a day. He’s been given a sedative and is not safe to leave. Maggie realizes Natalie has lost her wedding ring. Maggie takes charge and assigns everyone to a section to find the ring. Reese’s patient, Rose Wexler comes in from a nursing home. She is confused, agitated and running a fever. Dr. Charles does his best to make any assessments before Ms. Wexler kicks them out of her room.
Frank McCormick comes in with heart attack, he was resuscitated briefly in the ambulance, he lost his heart rate but the team was able to bring him back. He will need a bypass to survive. However his wife has to refuse the treatment because of the transfusion of blood from the lung and heart machine; they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses and it would be against their religion. Without the surgery, he will have another heart attack, just a matter of when. Even though it’s his blood being re-circulated, once the blood leaves the body, it becomes contaminated. Dr. Downey is brought in to consult for an alternative. He suggests doing a bloodless surgery, operate on the heart while it’s still beating. Except there are significant risks to doing the surgery. Dr. Downey is sympathetic to their beliefs, while Connor thinks it’s too risky.
Sharon invites Dr. Charles out for a dinner with her husband and a friend visiting the city. He declines the offer and says he can do it next time. Miss Wexler is doing well with some fluids, but is still running a fever. Reese brings Dr. Charles to see Miss Watson; she is from the same nursing home as Rose. She is also experiencing the same symptoms. Will sees April getting an item from a fellow associate outside the hospital. He confronts her and sees she is hiding a bottle of alcohol for Chuck. Chuck does not want more sedatives, he believes all he needs is a drink to feel better. Will believes he knows best and refuses to let April give the bottle to Chuck. She angrily walks out the door and continues to treat her patients. Natalie still can’t find her ring and she begins to suffer dizziness and nausea. Maggie suggests Natalie take a break, get some water and lay down.
While Natalie is walking to her room, she collapses in front of the door. Natalie says her anemia is the cause of the problem. Since Wanda and Rose are suffering the same symptoms, Dr. Charles arrives to a conclusion. Reese finds the diagnosis improbable, no woman that old could contrive gonorrhea. Just as she says so, Maggie reports there is an elderly gentleman named Clyde inquiring about the nursing home women.
In another room, Chuck begins to throw up massive amounts of blood. Will diagnoses the problem from years of alcoholic cirrhosis, his esophagus ruptured because of all the vomiting. April gives Will a dirty look because she knows if Chuck had gotten the drink, he wouldn’t be throwing up blood everywhere. Chuck is given a rapid transfusion, the doctors inflate balloons to temporarily stop the bleeding. Natalie has multiple tests run against her will. She thinks everyone is being overly cautious. Will comes in with results and confirms she did not have a heart attack, but she did have a cardiac event. Will tries to sugar coat the diagnosis, but Natalie realizes losing her wedding ring caused the symptoms. She essentially has been diagnosed with “Broken Heart Syndrome” because of missing Jeff.
Dr. Downey and Connor work on their heart patient and things were going well until the end. Frank loses his heart rate and Connor insists they put him into the pump. Downey still wants to respect the patient’s wishes, so they try alternative methods. When those don’t work, Connor asks to get the wife’s consent to go to the pump method. Frank’s wife is brought into the operating room to show the gravity of the situation. Connor is literally keeping Frank alive by pumping the heart by hand. She authorizes the pump method to save Frank’s life. Helen drops by to check on Natalie; Natalie asks where Jeff got her ring originally. Helen doesn’t think replacing the ring is a good idea. Helen instead suggests that Natalie let go a little bit; maybe losing the ring was a sign. She needs to move forward and not look in the past.
Clyde is surprised by the diagnosis, but ultimately admits to sleeping with a few women. He insists everyone is okay with the situation; he calls their situation an assisted loving agreement.
At their age, they need some sort of companionship. Earl returns the parrot, he couldn’t get any sleep because of how much it was talking. Frank’s wife had to admit the doctors used the bypass machine after all. Frank is angry and casts his wife out of the room. Downey takes Connor to another room and says this is why they always abide by patient’s wishes. Even if it doesn’t make sense to the doctors, do what the patients ask. Connor only feels Downey is argumentative is because he will be going in for another round of shrinking his liver cancer. Through all their searching, Natalie’s ring was found. She feels relieved, but is taking Helen’s advice seriously.
Dr. Charles and Reese together realize things that are so important when you’re young, become less important when you’re older. Dr. Charles changes his mind and decides to join Sharon on their dinner date. Will sees that Chuck has seemingly recovered quickly. He asks the residing nurse what his condition is; he is having no more tremors and no more hallucinations.
Will is surprised by the improvements and accuses April of giving Chuck a drink; she says Sharon was the one who did it. Will is furious and wonders why she did it despite it being against hospital standards. Sharon ultimately didn’t want her patient to die; it’s a double standard for regulations. She made the decision and sticks to it with no regrets.
At the end of the episode, Ethan once again apologizes to Frank for the circumstances. His wife once again tries to apologize for her actions, and in return, Frank forgives her. Will watches Natalie in her room from afar and decides to call the hospital in California. Once released from the hospital, Natalie goes to Jeff’s grave and places her ring among the grass. She walks with Helen out of the cemetery to go back home to her son.
On the season finale: Dr. Downey is brought in, his cancer has spread to the brain. He asks Connor to do the impossible; will Connor end the doctor’s suffering or will he let nature take its course? Stay tuned for another after take next week!