So, when I first watched Three Rivers and I got to this episode, I thought that I had missed something. Something big, like… them moving into a new hospital and all of the Dr’s getting makeovers and using way too much pomade in their hair. I went backwards and watched the previous episode… no, they didn’t mention anything like that. Come to find out, this was first shot as the Pilot, and then pushed off to episode 9 when a new pilot was shot. Because putting this as episode 9 makes all sorts of sense. To… no one. Anyway, this week I present to you, Three Rivers Episode 9: “Win-Loss”
Donor: New bride Kim Mullins, tragically shot at her own wedding.
Recipient: Anton Weathers, potential pro basketball player in need of a heart.
Potential recipient: Mr.Wilson, 52 years old, married, in need of a lung transplant
Medical dilemma: The role of family in the world of organ transplant. The hierarchy of relationships and how that might cause strife.
We see Kim and her fiancée Sam standing at the altar getting ready to be married. They are both very ready, but it appears that the Mother of the Bride is less enthusiastic. I notice that Sam is wearing a yarmulke, and I think that one of Mom’s problems is that her daughter is marrying someone of a different faith. Right as they are pronounced man and wife, a stranger guns them down!
Dr. Miranda Foster is in her patient Mr. Wilson’s office and they are debating the “marvelous virtues of the Spartans”. Dr. Andy enters the room and Miranda tells him that Mr. Wilson is being a pain in the ass, to which Andy hilariously says “Mrs Wilson, tell me the truth, it’s Dr. Foster who is the pain in the ass! You can tell me!” Mr. Wilson needs new lungs, and he is deteriorating fast. He has recently refused a set of lungs due to concerns about the donor and his lifestyle. Dr. Andy reinforces that decision and says that Mr. Wilson needs to go on an ECMO machine. Mrs. Wilson is concerned because she believed it was only a tool of last resort. Mr. Wilson, understanding this already, informs her that they ARE at the last resort. What a terrible feeling that must be, and how hard is it to finally admit that you are THERE.
Next we meet Anton Weathers, a promising young basketball player at Duquesne University. He is going to be scouted by professional teams, but he collapses on the court. He is rushed to Three Rivers and Dr.Andy. Andy is wearing very lovely (but blue, sorry Ess) clingy scrubs that look like soft comfy long underwear. Andy finds that he is in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (same thing that Quol is suffering from) but Anton needs a VAD stat. Andy heads off to get ready for surgery, but Anton starts to crash, so Andy calls for his team and they do it right there (his “team” … yeah I thought of H50). We find out that Anton’s heart is enlarged.
Mr. Wilson is now on the ECMO, so Miranda and Andy check in on him. Unfortunately it seems like he only has a few days to live without a transplant. On the way out of the room, they look over to Dr. Lee, who is shamelessly flirting.
Lucy Welsh, a family care specialist, enters Kim’s hospital room to speak with Sam and Mom. She delivers the horrible news to them that Kim’s brain function has ceased, and only the machines are keeping her alive. I can’t imagine how hard of a job it is to give people this news, and then ask them to consider organ donation. I just can’t imagine.
Mom is not in favor of donation, but Sam is – and states that Kim would have wanted to help others. The mother makes some awful comment about how he “has a lot of different beliefs” and that she doesn’t want her daughter carved up.
Anton seems like a little punk, but he has a REALLY nice corner room with a view! Score! Dr. Andy starts to explain the VAD, and finds out that Anton is considering going pro. Andy tries to get him to reconsider – but not for the reason I thought – he is a Duquesne season ticket holder and the team is just starting to get good (Except for those free throws)!
Andy goes in front of the medical committee to talk about Anton and replacing his heart valve. We hear about his family history – Mother died as a result of drugs and alcohol, he ended up in foster care and got into drugs himself. Some are not willing to take the chance on Anton, fearing that he will revert back to his old habits. Andy advocates for Anton because of his bright future.
Mr. Wilson and Miranda come to middle ground over the Spartans, and Miranda asks him not to give up. In this episode, Miranda seems to have a much better bedside manner, is more of a softie than she has been in the other episodes. In the transplant committee, another Doctor states that he appears to be too weak to remain on the transplant list. Andy disagrees and says that he can still do the transplant. Miranda suggests that she talk to him to ask that he reduce the restrictions he has placed on the donor. Sue Wilson agrees to do anything to save her husband. Ryan runs up to Dr. Foster to tell her that there is a set of lungs, along with heart, liver and kidneys to other hospitals. Andy cautions (pleads to?) her not to get into a fight. In this episode we see a much closer relationship between Dr. Andy and Dr. Foster – it’s almost like THEY were supposed to be very good friends. It’s definitely a very different relationship than what we have seen between these two up to now.
Andy sits to discuss Anton and his heart. He has a genetic defect in one of his heart valves. Anton asks his lawyer what to do. They agree to do the surgery. The surgery doesn’t give the results that Andy is happy with. Uh Oh. Anton gets the bad news that he needs a heart transplant. He will no longer be able to play basketball, and he doesn’t take the news well. He still looks to his lawyer for guidance, and while the lawyer is concerned, we see a little bit of him distancing himself from the ex-player with potential.
Sam and Mom are still having a disagreement over Kim becoming a donor. She goes so far as to say that it “is all Sam’s fault” which is a pretty crappy thing to say. Sam knows that Kim would have wanted to help others live, and authorizes the donation.
Miranda and Co. arrive at the hospital and there are other surgeons there to collect other organs. Miranda is not thrilled with this development. Dr. Yorn is one of the doctors… this is not good news! Right as they are about to start the procedure on Kim, the family care specialist informs them that the mother has gotten a court order to prevent Sam’s decision from going forward. Miranda starts to lose it, but Dr. Lee stops her.
Pam finds Andy and says that Mr. Wilson is not doing well. She also lets him know about the delay in procuring the lungs. To make things worse, there is a Category 1 hurricane on the way to the hospital where Dr. Foster and Dr. Lee wait.
The Mom sees Dr. Lee at the vending machines and she makes a nasty comment to him, but he tells her that she is going to regret it and is making a mistake… for herself, not her daughter. Mom heads to the chapel and Sam finds her there. We find that Mom is carrying a lot of guilt due to her behavior towards Kim (watch your words everyone! PLEASE!) Sam shows a great deal of maturity and compassion and opens his heart to this deeply resentful person, and succeeds in breaking through.
The procurement is on, but the storm has gotten so bad that there might not be a way out. The other doctors are willing to forego the procurement and leave – one set of doctors leaves and Dr. Yorn stays. Ryan has a plan, though, and since it is NOT his first day, it’s a good one! He is having the recipients sent to Three Rivers, and has gotten a volunteer pilot from Angel Flight to fly them out in the storm. GO RYAN!! Dr. Yorn nicked the aorta and it may now be too short to transplant the heart. On the phone, a confident Dr. Andy says to bring it anyway. THE GREAT Dr. YABLONSKI can do everything. Yorn and Foster make peace and they are on their way back to Pittsburgh with lungs for Mr. Wilson. It is not a smooth flight through the hurricane!
Dr. Andy’s ass is scrubbing for surgery when Pam comes to tell him that the woman who was supposed to be the recipient of Kim’s heart has backed out due to the nick in the aorta. Hmm… anyone else need a heart ? (not YOU, Tin Man, sit down) Andy wants to give it to Anton Weathers. Anton can’t see what his life would be like without playing basketball and wants to die. Dr. Andy hints at his own backstory, and how his life could have gone very very wrong. (FU CBS!)
Just before Miranda arrives with the lungs, Mr. Wilson throws a clot and passes away. Dr. Andy is wearing all sorts of headgear (I am transfixed and a tad giggly, which is completely inappropriate given what is happening onscreen. I feel ashamed. Please don’t judge me)
Andy seems a little harsh here, and Miranda seems a little over sensitive in very out-of-character ways. He asks her to help him transplant the heart because the lungs are done.
In the OR, there are a few tense moments where the heart doesn’t pink up… but Dr. Andy pulls it off again. As Miranda rushes off, still upset, Andy is stopped by Anton’s uncle. The Uncle was called to the hospital by the lawyer, who isn’t a cad like we thought he was. Andy asks if Anton will be going home with Uncle, but he’s not sure if that will work out. But, he does seem to care about Anton.
Andy finds Miranda on the roof (again, with the ROOF) and says “ we don’t control anything” which is not what her cheating dead father believed. Andy assures her that they are only one piece of the puzzle, and without the donor there would be no chance for life for others.
Anton is back in his room with a view, watching basketball. Sam and Mom are there to visit. Anton is flummoxed and touched. The actor here does a wonderful job with this. I am enthralled. The mom asks Anton to “live for two, live for her daughter” Andy leaves the room and is relieved at how it went. He is just a piece of the puzzle of life. He walks off and meets up with other pieces of the puzzle, Drs Lee and Foster, and together they head off to save the next patient.
Once I got past the odd-ities of this episode, I thought it was OK. I don’t think it would have made a good pilot for the series, but I did like how it delved into the deeper sadder parts of organ donation. The interaction between some of the characters was very OOC, I would be interesting to know why they changed that aspect.
Organ donation truly is a Win-Loss for those involved. It is obviously a loss for someone, and their families, but it can also be a win for them – as their loved one can give the gift of life and in a sense, continue living. As far as the recipient goes, there are some things that they will no longer be able to do, but at least they will be alive. And it is a win-loss for the medical staff to see the highs and the lows from there vantage point.
Blood donation One alternative to help those with blood loss is blood donation. One pint of blood, which takes about fifteen minutes to donate, can save three lives. And then you get a cookie! Visit America’s Blood Centers to find a donation center near you.
Bone Marrow From the website for the National Bone Marrow Donor Program. “For people with life-threatening blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Matchconnects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant.” Imagine if your bone marrow could cure a child with leukemia! I encourage you to visit this website and register as a donor. This is a donation you make while still living and in the words of Rebecca from episode 5, “Alone Together,” “if you save one life, you save the world.”
Now for PICSPAM!!