Episode 5.

Episode Summary:-

Sue - a 39 year old woman with a history of infertility - comes into A&E with a sprained ankle, and is seen by David Scobie. Towards the end of her consultation she mentions that she's had stomach pains for a couple of weeks: David arranges a pregnancy test. To her great delight the test is positive. But, as is discovered later, after her husband has found her collapsed on the floor at home, the pregnancy is ectopic...
       Then there's the bizarre case of the old man who has swallowed his savings - because he doesn't trust banks...
       Jason - a young man with asthma - collapsed while at his gym and has been rushed to A&E with breathing difficulties. Robert tries to treat him, but makes something of a mess of the attempt...
       Mr Symonds, who has dislocated his shoulder while tuning his piano (how the hell did he manage that?!) is brought in for treatment.
       Noreen, an elderly, awkward and somewhat senile patient at a residential home, is brought in suffering from a fall - although she insists she was pushed.
       A young bride, suffering from a nasty arm wound (looked rather as though the knife had slipped while she was cutting the cake!) is brought in by WPC Mandie - who uses the emergency as an excuse to see Stuart again.
       Two RTA victims - one serious - are brought in...

Am I alone in feeling that this entire episode felt somehow rushed? There were more cases than usual, and they seemed to be designed to illustrate problems or poignancies amongst the staff. Not that I have a problem with that - it just seemed a little too coincidental to be realistic... Another episode with an enormous amount happening.

The ectopic pregnancy case was tragic. There's something terribly unfair about women being denied - though some biological flaw - the very thing for which a women's body is so economically and beautifully designed, that of bearing and rearing children. It always seems to be the women who would make superb mothers who are afflicted, too. (That being said, the husband could perhaps have been a little more understanding - more of an 'it doesn't matter' than an 'it'll be alright this time'...) And taking this idea to one logical conclusion, Issy's pregnancy was obviously unplanned and unexpected, and to some extent could be viewed as an almost unwelcome event in Robert's life: Sue and her husband had been trying for ten years to accomplish what Robert and Issy managed without even really trying...

And on the subject of children, we can understand Stella's wish to see hers again. What I can't understand is why it's taken her seven years to get herself together! Seven years? Maybe I'm being callous, but I find it very difficult to believe it would take anyone that long (although of course we don't know the inside story. She seemed to be suffering from an abysmally low sense of self rather than depression, but I could be wrong.) But then, perhaps she hasn't succeeded - perhaps she's still "in a blur", or unbalanced. Regardless of the circumstances, I can understand why Mike wouldn't want the boys to see her again. But I'd like to hear Mike's side of the story...

The wedding celebration in reception had resonances for practically everyone there - from Robert, who's just lost Issy, through Mike and Chris, who've lost wife and husband respectively, to Stuart, who's being 'chased' by Mandie... It was sweet and very poignant.

And both Noreen and Martin managed to put their feet in it, in slightly different ways. I found David Scobie's reaction to Martin quite interesting. I can understand that David would find Martin a waste of time and space - but he only really flew off the handle after Martin's unknowingly thoughtless comment to Rob ("What's wrong with you? Has someone died?")
       Right the way through A&E David has been portrayed as an enormously ambitious young doctor, self-assured and a touch arrogant. David's character was fairly well established in the first series by his reaction to Rob (although I can't remember the exact words used - something along the lines of "he's OK" or "he's not bad".) Since then he's shown an almost purely clinical interest in the work of A&E, seeing patients as cases, not people: he's made mistakes: and he's alienated his workmates (not that it seems to bother him at all.) Yet when someone - quite innocently - hurts Rob, he reacts extremely strongly. Is there some deeper humanity under that cocky exterior? Or was he simply getting his own back for Martin injuring him when he first arrived in A&E?...
       I feel sorry for David (though I'm not sure why. Normally I'm not at all fond of people like him...) But this is the second week we've seen him doing precious little in the department. I would like to see him doing something a little more useful than wandering around either feeling sorry for himself or on the lookout for 'interesting' cases. It'll be interesting to see what happens in forthcoming episodes. I hope he doesn't go.

I'll not comment about Chris right now. I'm most intrigued by the situation, and I can envisage her being pulled in two directions by her own heart...

I like Anne Langton, the gynaecologist. She's blunt and truthful without being nasty, and that's precisely what Rob - being a fairly plain-spoken man himself - needs right now.

              "The irony, of course, about doctors is that we're very bad at healing ourselves. And that is when we put our patients at risk."

       As, indeed, Rob has been doing. But he seems to be coping, and improving little by little.
       The RTA victim, at the end of the episode, seemed to be there purely to demonstrate to all and sundry that Robert hadn't entirely 'lost it'. As such it worked very well, but seemed a little clumsy to me.

But those last scenes... Ah, those last scenes... The writers really know how to tug the heartstrings, don't they? Beautifully done. Though I question whether watching Dad learn to make Yorkshire puddings will have a profound and long-lasting effect on Harry. Never mind. It's a lovely idea...


Ambulances should never be used as taxis. It's a waste of resources. Back

Doctor Irvine has passed on to me what is apparently a well known fact - within the medical profession, at least, although I believe it holds true for a number of other fields too - that it's very often the case that the last thing the patient says as they leave the consultation is often the thing they really came to see the doctor with, but were too scared to mention. People will often size the doctor up, asking about something relatively trivial to gauge the doctors reaction - then, if the individual feels that they can trust the doctor, it's the last thing they say which has most importance to them. A strange quirk of human nature, perhaps, but a strangely familiar one. And, I would imagine, one that's easy to misinterpret or miss altogether...Back

There's a lightbox in resus - it was used for the dextracardia (from the Latin dexter = right (as in right hand) and the Greek kardia = heart: the heart on the right hand side of the body instead of its more normal place somewhat to the left) patient's X-ray. So why wasn't it also used to check the asthma patient's X-ray?

I am assured that in the case of a dislocated shoulder, the arm should be supported straight away, otherwise the torn ligaments may not be strong enough to prevent the shoulder from dislocating again.

My thanks as always to Dr Kate Irvine for her endless patience and information!

© 2000 Joules Taylor

Episode 6