Episode 8

Episode Summary

It's Kate's first Friday night...
       The most serious of this episode's cases is an RTA involving three teenagers: the driver was wearing a seat belt, but the passengers - one of whom was thrown through the windscreen, the other being trapped in the car and taking twenty minutes to extricate - were not. The two passengers die, which is bad enough - but the A&E staff were misinformed by the police, and, in a tragic case of mistaken identity, tell the parents of the dead boy that their daughter survived...
       Young Rebecca is brought in, by her Norwegian carer, suffering from a swollen ankle. David persuades Yvonne to let him take the case - although strictly speaking he should be treating the injured man who is next in line - but is unable to talk the girl into having an X-ray. On checking her notes, he discovers she's suffered from leukaemia and has only just been pronounced clear. Andrew Argyle takes over...
       Kate examines William, who is terrified he's suffering from heart disease.
       And finally the victim of a stabbing is rushed in.

It's the little things that make this episode so special. The genuine anxiety invoked by the drunks (along with the thought of what could have happened if they had really turned nasty): the incipient tension between Kate and Yvonne: Stuart and Lou finally getting together: Chris's reassurance to Rob, her face when she looks at baby Harry - and Rob's (fond? wistful?) expression as she leaves the office (perfect acting from both Martin Shaw and Niamh Cusack): Rob getting back to his pragmatically compassionate, authoritative self: Mike's consideration for Geordie's parents... A wonderful episode all round.

I do like Andrew's attitude and behaviour when dealing with children (and it's a lovely contrast to David. But at least David now admits that child psychology isn't his forté.) I'm intrigued, though. How come he speaks Norwegian? I mean, it's not the sort of language you'd learn at school. I'd love to know more about his past...
       The whole scene with Rebecca was beautiful, understated and entirely believable. Although it's not likely she'd still be walking if her ankle really was broken; suggesting it might be was perhaps a little hard on the girl...
       David still prefers to deal with the young and attractive patients. So his change of attitude didn't last all that long - although I don't think he's reverted to being quite as bad as he was. The way he behaved towards Kate was really rather kind and professional (OK, it might have been a bit different if she hadn't been young and attractive - but somehow I don't think so. Is David learning from Rob?) But why is Yvonne still letting him get away with swapping cases?
       I'm really beginning to dislike Stella. It's all very well telling Mike the hospital isn't the right place for the boys - but she was the one who left them to struggle for seven years. Personally, I think she expects a hell of a lot: waltzing back into their lives, causing Mike stress (as if he didn't have enough already), confusing the boys, wanting to get to know them again on her own terms, wanting to take them on holiday with herself and her new partner - and threatening Mike with legal action if she doesn't get her own way. Not a pleasant character at all. And the situation also serves to highlight two things. Firstly, if Stella is correct, and she does, legally, have a good case for taking the boys away from their father, we may have an example of the occasional apparent unfairness of the legal system (although, of course, we don't know all the details of the case. But most of us have heard of cases where children are removed form the care of the person who has loved and cared for them for years and given over to the custody of someone who later proves to be unfit to care for them... Perhaps I'm looking too far ahead.)
       Secondly, of course, it throws into sharp relief the conflict between the family and the job - between caring for the children and saving lives. It's a conflict Rob is only just beginning to discover...


"You're a single parent and a working dad. It's not easy. Don't beat yourself up about it." Back
       "What must it be like, eh - stand here, look down at your own child?" And his insistence on breaking the news to the Phipps himself, rather than taking the easy way out and letting Rob do so (no wonder Rob looked proud of him!)
       Dr Irvine tells me that DPL is diagnostic peritoneal lavage, employed to find out if there is any free blood from organs within the abdomen, such as liver, spleen, etc. (Not kidneys; they lie in a space closed off from the rest of the abdomen - and blood wouldn't leak from the kidneys into the abdominal cavity, which explains Mike's response to Cathy's query.) Saline fluid is run into the abdomen then drained out again. If blood is present, the team know there's a problem.
       Mike simply won't give up when children are involved. The other procedure shown in this episode was a thoracotomy: "scalpel to incise the skin and chest wall muscles, then scissors to cut the muscle between the ribs. (There are small intercostal muscles that help you breathe then muscles overlie that.) Then it's a case of moving the lungs away from the heart in order to gain access." Mike seems to get all the gruesome jobs...
       That really was a lovely little exchange:-

              [David of William] "...minor anxiety attack exacerbated by the fact that you've convinced him he's about to have a cardiac arrest."
              [Kate] "I just wanted to be sure."
              [David] "Next time you will be."

       (William's response to Kate was cute, too!)
       Mrs Tarrant's conversation with Beth worried me (although I may be making too much of it.) "We'll go home and we'll start again. We've started again before." Beth has just caused the deaths of her two best friends. So what exactly does that comment mean?

My thanks to Dr Kate Irvine, without whose interest and help these reviews would be very much the poorer.

© 2000 Joules Taylor

Episode 9