Two medical episodes in a row!
The Good Doctor has often gone off track recently, delving too deeply into characters’ personal lives and getting away from how Shaun’s autism affects his chosen career.
The Good Doctor Season 4 Episode 10 didn’t focus much on Shaun’s difficulties. Still, it did offer some compelling medical storylines, and the cyberhacking subplot wasn’t as much of a disaster as I was afraid it might be.
The first thing the hour had going for it was that Morgan was not obnoxious!
I was surprised that she had such a great bedside manner with her liver transplant patient. Morgan is usually brusque, self–centered, and generally annoying.
But this time, she seemed to have borrowed some of Claire’s compassion and determination, refusing to give up on getting her patient the liver she needed no matter what she had to do to get it.
I’d have been interested in Shaun’s take on dealing with a patient with Downs Syndrome.
Autism and Downs are two different conditions, of course, but they both come with their own challenges. Plus, Shaun is not always empathetic to other people who are different in this way, which might have been fascinating to explore.
Despite that not happening, though, this was a riveting story. I liked that Morgan was able to go the extra mile for this patient without being annoying and that The Good Doctor touched upon some of the transplant system’s inequities.
Lim: The surgery won’t be a problem, but finding her a liver transplant might be.
Morgan: Her scores were perfect.
Lim: Shouldn’t be a problem on our end, but that still leaves us competing against every liver recipient in the region. No procurement coordinator is going to discriminate against a patient with Downs Syndrome, but they are going to give a patient with a shorter life expectancy lower priority. She also lives alone and has no family.
Morgan: She worked so hard to be independent and now it’s gonna be held against her?
The whole fatty liver conundrum reminded me of what recently happened on Chicago Med, though this went in a totally different direction. I liked the organ donation chain idea, though I wondered if the ethics committee would have a problem with it.
Personally, I think it’s a great idea, but could the board have been worried about coercion or people not understanding exactly what they were signing up for?
The board wasn’t consulted, so we’ll never know. But that would have been an equally compelling angle for this story to take.
Anyway, I was glad that everything worked out in the end. Jamie was so sweet throughout this ordeal that it was impossible not to root for her.
The Good Doctor also touched upon how the stigma of being formerly incarcerated affects medical treatment.
Woman: He killed someone?
Park: It was 20 years ago, and it was a complicated case.
Woman: I don’t want to save someone like that.
Morgan: You wouldn’t. You’d be saving an innocent woman.
Woman: I understand. But I don’t want my kidney in a murderer.
I wonder what the real complication in the murderer’s case was since Jordan made up an emotional story about being abused. It also might have been emotional for the donor to meet the man and see if it was so easy to turn him down face-to-face.
But Jordan’s lie dovetailed nicely with the whole Claire storyline, so I can’t complain.
I knew that Claire’s patient had a secret, but I didn’t expect it to be that he never had cancer in the first place.
I can’t put my finger on any specific instances, but I feel like this has been done before. It’s almost, but not quite, a medical drama trope for a patient to have never suffered from a serious ailment.
Claire is also always struggling with ethical dilemmas over things like this.
Claire: He lied, cheated and stole just to get himself on a Wheaties box.
Shaun: He didn’t steal the money. He gave it all to charity.
Claire: That doesn’t matter. He should be in prison, not in our OR.
Olivia: Can we do that? Refuse to treat a patient?
Claire: We refuse treatment all the time to patients who are non-compliant.
Lim: What’s going on? This isn’t the first patient who’s lied to you.
Claire: He didn’t just lie about not smoking or drinking. He weaponized empathy and used it to become a national hero. How does that not piss you off?
Lim: It does. But I can be pissed off and still be professional. Get him prepped for surgery.
I was glad that Lim told her to separate her personal feelings from her professional decisions, but that was somewhat hard to take from someone who fought the need for PTSD treatment even after it affected her work.
Lim’s advice was sound, but she hasn’t exactly been following it herself. Plus, I had to wonder what happened to her PTSD symptoms.
She was mad at Claire for telling Glassman about them but didn’t seem to be having any more PTSD-related problems at the hospital.
That’s disappointing. PTSD doesn’t disappear the second you get treatment, and The Good Doctor is usually better about mental health storylines than that.
Anyway, I was glad that Claire wasn’t the whistleblower. I don’t like it when TV doctors impose their judgments on patients’ personal decisions like that.
And the guy did have a point that he helped a lot of people, even if he did do it under false pretenses.
Olivia’s decision to take credit for it seemed foolish, though.
I get why she did. She hasn’t been happy since her residency started, and her uncle’s attitude has never helped.
Olivia: I’m fine.
Andrews: That’s a sure indication that someone’s not fine.
Olivia: I suck at this. I froze up, almost killed the patient. I always freeze up and Lim knows it. I feel like an imposter.
Andrews: It’s a stressful job. Patient is a jerk, get used to it. Chief of staff doesn’t respect you, prove yourself to her. If you’re gonna be successful as a surgeon, you’ve got to develop a thicker skin.
Olivia: My skin is fine. I’m not –
Andrews: Suck it up and get back to work.
Hours before Olivia decided to burn her bridges, Andrews told her to suck it up when she tried to explain that she was struggling with Imposter Syndrome — something that many doctors-in-training undoubtedly deal with.
But getting herself fired wasn’t a great solution. How easy will it be for her to get a job in some other area when she was fired for leaking confidential information to the press?
It’s not like she exposed some important scandal like doctors trying to get patients hooked on painkillers to enrich their own pockets. She took credit for exposing a patient’s lie that had no bearing on most people’s lives.
And either way, now she has a reputation for being a snitch.
I suppose she could just leave her residency off her resume, but if a potential employer Googles her, as so many do nowadays, that could be a problem.
That wasn’t as annoying as Lea, though
Shaun: So I have an interesting patient. He says cancer made him stronger but that’s impossible.
Lea: Shaun. Would you interrupt Glassman while he is doing brain surgery, offer him a sandwich, and start telling him about his day?
Shaun: That is different.
Lea: Why? Because his job is important and mine’s not? You have any idea how insulting and demeaning you’re being, just like every man I’ve ever worked under. You don’t respect me.
Shaun: You can’t bring sandwiches into an OR.
I get that Lea is frustrated with the way women who work in STEM are treated.
The insurance guy assumed she was a man when he heard she was in IT, and Glassman had earlier made snide remarks about being surprised that Lea could change a tire.
Plus, Glassman seemed overly eager to appease the hackers instead of listening to Lea’s advice.
But she seemed to keep making blanket assumptions about sexism that weren’t warranted.
It was foolish to assume Shaun wouldn’t interrupt Glassman for that reason.
Anyone who knows Shaun knows that actually, he HAS done the same thing, minus the sandwiches, to Glassman too many times to count!
And she should know that Shaun says whatever’s on his mind because he’s Shaun, not because he doesn’t respect Lea as a woman or think her job is important.
She did have a point when it came to Glassman, though.
There was no reason for him to harangue her before thanking her other than to make her feel disrespected.
I was disappointed that the ordinarily likable Glassman was so demeaning toward her this time around.
Your turn, Good Doctor fanatics!
What did you think of Claire’s dilemma, Olivia’s decision, and Lea’s conflict with Glassman and the world?
Hit the big, blue, SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know your thoughts.
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The Good Doctor airs on ABC on Mondays at 10 PM EST/PST.