New Amsterdam Episode 2
Our second visit to New Amsterdam opens with a pensive looking Dr. Max Goodwin speaking. As the scene widens we find Max cracking Dad jokes to his baby over his wife’s sleeping form. Like many expectant fathers, Max is taken with bonding with his baby any way he can. He begins singing “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher”. As the song proceeds, his wife awakens with a smile and as he concludes, he kisses her pregnant form and tells the baby, “time to go to work”.
Time to work
Quickly, the pace of Max’s day changes as he rounds with the department chairs. Dr. Frome is right on his heels when we hear his now familiar refrain, “How can I help?” Frome quickly requests the removal of the candy from the vending machines in the pediatric areas. As they exit an elevator, Dr. Bloom catches him with a snag for getting rid of the ED waiting room. Max quickly catches onto her need for additional nursing staff. Pushing the department heads as hard as he pushes himself, rounds continue through a stair climb. Dr. Kapoor mentions the crippling costs of healthcare and is chastised by Max for bringing things down. Undeterred, Kapoor continues with his pitch for revising the patient bill of rights for the hospital. Max praises Kapoor for bringing things back up. Here we get a glimpse of Max’s desire for levity amidst the constant pressures of emergent crises, cost management, and raising the standards of healthcare.
A man of his word, Dr. Goodwin meets with the custodial staff and explains their important role in infection control at the hospital effectively making them feel a part of the team. He tells a brief story of how a janitor from his previous clinic helped with infection control and saved lives. Dr. Goodwin proceeded to ask them, “Cómo puedo ayudar/ How can I help?”
He proceeds with a board meeting where he tells the Board his plans, explains that costs will increase, and asks “Who’s with me?” As expected, he is answered only by cranky and baffled looks. He continues with the Board explaining that they need to deliver better healthcare with fewer resources, but pleads for their help and ideas. Unsurprisingly, he is met with silence. Dr. Goodwin starts to “dance” in the front of the room threatening that he will continue to do this until they speak up. Just after he moves into his version of the Robot, one brave Board member speaks up, “What about group appointments?” Relieved to have someone participating, Max asks for more. The idea is to create group appointments for like conditions: diabetes, hypertension, etc. All of this before the opening credits. Max is a busy man.
Meet the patients
Our first patient, Josette, enters the ER after collapsing while receiving an award. Dr. Bloom and Dr. Reynolds concur that the problem is cardiac, specifically acute mitral valve regurgitation. A “leaky” heart requires prompt care to save the patient. She is quickly moved into a trauma room as they begin care to stabilize her.
We next find ourselves strolling the halls with our two beloved brain nerds, Drs. Frome and Kapoor discussing Dr. Frome’s children and Dr. Kapoor’s lack thereof. In an awkward segue where Iggy calls Kapoor old, the conversation shifts to the longevity of the changes put forth by Dr. Goodwin. Dr. Kapoor is skeptical that the Dean will allow changes to progress for very long.
We meet Dr. Frome’s patient Leo. Leo is a young boy playing with Legos in the floor. Dr. Frome (who tells the boy to call him Iggy), asks the boy for confirmation of information given him from the boy’s mother. Leo is having difficulty staying awake and has been wetting the bed. Iggy does his best to set the boy at ease as he begins to look over Leo’s chart discovering a lengthy list of powerful daily medications in the boy’s record. Dr. Frome who quite engaging is unable to elicit much response from Leo. His treatment plan: take Leo off his medications and find the boy locked away inside. At this suggestion, Leo makes the first real eye contact of the conversation.
As a patient complains about not knowing the cost of a procedure a passing Max informs him of the law restricting hospitals from disclosing the costs of treatment and continues in his state of perpetual motion. Dora catches up with Max reminding him that he is perpetually late and cannot continue to ignore the calls of the Dean.
As he continues to push forward he is stopped by Dr. Helen Sharpe. After engaging in a brief verbal sparring match, he dismisses Dora with the task of getting him an apple. Living up to her name, Dr. Sharpe very pointedly tells Max he needs to slow down and take his diagnosis seriously.
Broken Heart Syndrome
Drs. Floyd and Bloom find that the Josette suffers from a particularly acute case “Broken Heart Syndrome” in which the stress was so great it caused significant physical damage to the heart muscle. As Dr. Floyd discusses the surgical repair, the family asks to perform a protection ritual requiring a small cut to the skin filled with herbs. The response is a quick and adamant no as any cut to the skin carries some risk of infection. As a part of his day, Dr. Goodwin discusses the ritual with Dr. Reynolds. Holding firm in his position, and after reminding Max that he fired the entire Cardiac Surgical department due to high infection rates, Dr. Floyd begins to transport the Josette to the OR. Josette remains unstable for transport, crashing and exhibiting complications each time Dr. Floyd tries to begin transport.
After further intervention coupled with some prose from Dr. Reynolds on why rituals are not necessary as compared to his skills, he and Dr. Bloom once again prepare to transport the patient. Once again they are hindered by complications. Some issues between the two seem to bubble up as Dr. Bloom reminds Dr. Reynolds that ultimately it is about the patient and what they need and “why can’t he just give her that”. Ultimately the ritual proceeds and Dr. Floyd safely transports Josette to OR. As we watch him scrubbing in, reciting “Invictus”, Dr. Bloom points out that these “habits” are in fact his rituals.
Just when we think all is well, Dr. Reynolds is faced with a crisis. Josette’s heart stops again and none of the measures are working. Unwilling to give up “hope”, Dr. Reynolds keeps trying until we all breath a sigh of relief at the resuming beep of the monitor. Dr. Reynolds delivers good news to the family and everyone can breathe a sigh of relief.