Episode Ten

Episode Summary:-

After the sheer nail-biting drama of episode 9, we're now back to a much more low-key, 'normal' day in A&E. Low-key, maybe, but nevertheless intense as legal and ethical matters raise their heads - again...
       Joe brings in Ricky, a 14-year old male prostitute, who's been in a fight and is suffering from a tension pneumothorax and internal bleeding. Joe himself has syphilis...
       Frankie and Denise (met with first in episode 2) come in with Denise's baby, worried about her health and asking for Stuart (and calling him Dr Feeling! Luckily neither Cathy nor Yvonne seemed to pick up on it. I can just imagine the comments if they had...)
       Four-months pregnant Cassie is brought in by her husband after suffering a fall. Her left arm's already in plaster, and Lou and Rob suspect domestic violence...
       David agrees to treat Billy Duncan, an elderly comedian with verbal diarrhoea and a cut hand.
       And finally, a four year old girl with a panicking mother and part of a toy blocking her trachea...

Is it just me, or does everyone seem tired? Andrew's suffering (is it a hangover, or was he being honest when he said he just hadn't slept well?); Mike seems weary (but then, given the stress he's under that's hardly surprising); Chris isn't exactly sparkling; and poor Cathy looks like she's slept in a hedge! Then again, this is Saturday, and we've already seen what Friday nights are like...
       Andrew intrigues me. He's so wonderful with kids, yet in this episode he comes over as rather heavy (I hesitate to say sinister, but his behaviour did make me feel uneasy.) Then again, I suppose that's understandable given that the needs of the child (in this case Denise's daughter) must come first. And he relented when it was apparent that lack of knowledge rather than neglect or abuse was the cause of the baby's illness. His attitude towards Joe was startling, though. Fair enough, Joe is just one amongst hundreds and one person can't help them all - but to try to dissuade Chris from doing anything about the boy? Or was his "Stop trying to live through this place" designed to make her step back and revise her feelings? It was an odd thing to say to someone of Chris's dedication. And certainly not something likely to endear him to her. Or am I missing something obvious here? And just what did Chris's "Your reputation precedes you" mean..?
       David is great in this episode - mellowing beautifully and really beginning to become human. His behaviour with Billy is lovely (once he'd overcome that initial irritation) and asking him to become involved in voluntary hospital work is inspired. (I don't think he did it to annoy his workmates!)
       Poor beleaguered Mike. He may not have been the best husband in the world, but he's done well with and for the boys: he doesn't deserve the grief Stella's giving him. Of course children need stability - but he's provided that while Stella's been missing, and while the circumstances may not have been perfect, they've done OK. Now the boys "don't stop talking about her", which must be upsetting in the first place. To be threatened with a custody battle is just too much. Pouring the beer onto the table was very restrained: I envisaged it landing in Stella's face...
       But this is very much Lou's episode. From seeing how Cassie feels about her unborn child - "It's not a baby - it's just something inside me" - to saving the life of the four-year old and then finding out her suspicions are correct, Lou now has some serious choices to make. I liked her understated and perfectly believable reaction to the discovery (a fine piece of acting!) - and her gentle response to Stuart, when it would have been so easy to snap at him...
       There are some superb touches in this episode. The music playing in Chris's car as she hunts for Joe; the wonderful, awful visual symbolism of the child prostitutes behind the bars, as though caged or jailed; Stella's extraordinary arrogance and selfishness ('Children need their mother'? For all her protestations of having missed them for the last seven years, she doesn't seem to have tried to do anything about the fact...); Stuart taking the time to teach Frankie and Denise some basic child-care - and contraception! - and Terry's lovely comments about the same; and of course, that wonderfully daft, cute final scene... A beautifully structured, and wonderfully acted, episode.

Thinking Out Loud

In the review to Episode 3, I asked about what Robert did in Africa. According to Robert's bio., he spent some time in the Army Medical Corps and saw service in Africa as a young man - which equipped him for some St Vic's more unusual cases (such as at the end of the last series, where he had to deal with bullet wounds.) Many thanks to Francis Hopkinson for emailing me the information!


I do like Mike's new look! It really suits him.
       I'm intrigued by the photographs on and in Lou's locker. I'd love to know who and what they are! Then again, I'd like to know more about Lou herself...

Dr Irvine: - "A pneumothorax is where, either because a little blister has burst on the surface of the lung, or because something like a fractured rib or stab wound has puntured the lung, the lung itself deflates. The treatment for this is a chest drain.

Tension pneumothorax is much more serious and life threatening if missed. The lung collapses, but the hole acts as a non return valve, so part of the air in each breath is pushed through the hole but can't get back to the rest of the lung. This increases the pressure outside the lung forcing the dead space to increase in size and can stop the functioning one from working properly. As was shown, the chest drain is still needed but the extra air must be let out first." Back

Syphilis - Treponema pallidum. Dr Irvine - "There are four clinical stages.
              1 2-4 weeks genital ulcers, and painless swelling of lymph glands.
              2 6-8 weeks later, infectious rash over trunk, mouth etc. The reason Chris looked in Joe's mouth is because there are ulcers that have a specific appearance there. Swollen glands, other things can be hepatitis, arthritis, and changes in the eyes.
              3 (Tertiary) 3-10 years after initial lesion. Nodules appear in the skin, mouth, mucous membranes - the skin of the mouth.
              4 (Quaternary) 10-20years: effects as Chris said - heart, aorta, neurosyphilis dementia, tremors, ataxia (lack of co-ordination).
       Treatment is with large doses of Penicillin for 15-21 days."
       Personally I had no idea it was such a very nasty and long term disease...

Episode 8. Back

Who looked rather big for a four-year old, to me... Back

Toploader's Achilles Heel (the best single around at the moment - with the possible exception of Bon Jovi's It's My Life. Purely my opinion, of course): given Chris's state of mind at the moment it's an open question as to whether her 'Achilles heel' is Joe and his situation - or Robert Kingsford... Back

My thanks as ever to Dr Kate Irvine, for detailed medical information and patience!

© June 2000 Joules Taylor

© Wordwrights 2000

Episode 11