The $10 Million Dollar prize
When you’re late to the staff meeting, you cede a little control and Max finds that vacuum taken up by the Dean of Medicine. He tells the staff he has a $10 million donation coming for the hospital system. The catch? Only one hospital can get the money per the widow. She has visited University, but still wants to visit New Amsterdam. Dr. Goodwin joins the meeting and knows the game afoot. The Dean has earmarked the money for University but needs New Amsterdam to play their role. He promises that money will flow to address the budget needs of the Dam. After the Dean exits, Max asks who wants ten million dollars.
Dr. Goodwin proceeds to give Mrs. Ryland a tour of the Dam, at least until he is called away. He finds her in a chair later in the day, surprised by her continued presence. She had cleared the day to visit New Amsterdam and stayed even after Dr. Goodwin had been called away from the tour. When Max sits beside her, the showed him the plans the Dean had sent her of the Arthur Ryland Heart Institute at University Hospital. Mrs. Ryland asked Max why he had fired Dr. Merritt, the cardiologist who had treated Arthur after his first heart attack. The answer was as “Dr. Max Goodwin” as it gets: “because he only cared about money”. Mrs. Ryland said the same about her late husband. She didn’t love the plans finding the center garish and vain. That’s when Max asked her what she wanted.
It was at a visit to the nursery that Mrs. Ryland (with a little encouragement from Max) decided where to donate her money. The Dean was not pleased to hear that Mrs. Ryland planned to give the money to Riker’s Island, enabling changes for the prisoners including a nursery and Kangaroo Care room for newborns. Max offers a passionate speech on changing the system, breaking cycles and preventing generational relapse. Can we get a Dr. Goodwin at every hospital yet?
Persona vs Physician
In this episode Dr. Helen Sharpe comes face to face with this one truth: celebrity has overshadowed her credentials. Dr. Sharpe is extraordinarily qualified, but patients aren’t sure they can trust her to put her patients first. Twice people have commented on her Birkin bag, which was a gift rather than the purchase of someone as wrapped up in their celebrity as we might have all believed her to be. Along the way, we begin to see the many layers of Dr. Sharpe open, our own rose blooming at the Dam. On this day, challenged by donors and patients to find her true self, Dr. Sharpe reclaims her purpose as a doctor. She knows her role in the press has been helpful to the hospital, but the pull of the Hippocratic oath wins out. Dr. Helen Sharpe is an excellent Oncologist and she is determined to be an even better physician. The timing is excellent as Max finds himself in need of a world-class Oncologist.
The Georgia Complication
The complication is that his wife, who doesn’t know he has cancer, is dressed and ready to leave the hospital for her parents’ house in Connecticut. Max doesn’t want to visit her there, he wants her to stay in NY, to stay at the Dam, and most of all to stay with him. As Georgia continues to pull away, Max leans in to try to figure out how to keep her near. Clearly they love each other, but Georgia is not convinced that Max can keep his promises after so many broken ones.
After his visit with Dr. Sharpe, Max goes to visit Georgia but finds she has already been discharged. We know Max always moves at a quick pace, but what makes him run? Trying to catch Georgia before she and Luna get out of the Dam. He just catches her and kneels in front of her wheelchair all but begging to be the one to take care of them. He asks Georgia ‘if he can’t take care of them then’…and leaves the remaining words unspoken. Why be a doctor at all if you can’t be trusted to care for those you most love? Finally, she agrees and for at least this moment, Max’s footing in life is on slightly more solid ground.
We get a little more insight into Dr. Kapoor in this episode. An acutely observant staff member in the café’ notices patterns and moods. Early in the episode she noted Dr. Kapoor’s choice of chocolate croissant to “treat” his furrowed brow. As he looks at his phone she asks if he missed an important call. A call he isn’t sure is coming. She tells him he was ghosted. Later, Dr. Kapoor adorably returns to the café’ and asks what being ghosted means. Upon hearing the definition, he sighs. He admits that it is his son ghosting him, but then decided maybe he ghosted his son first. Even I want to give Dr. Kapoor a hug and help his resolve this situation that is clearly causing him pain.
Three episodes in, New Amsterdam is hitting on all cylinders. The character development is brilliantly interwoven into the cases. The writers are doing a fantastic job at illuminating medical conditions, issues surrounding costs of healthcare, and the impact of medical issues on life. Sure, they miss the mark on some of the smaller details, but it doesn’t detract from the story or the meat of the show.
One of my favorite parts of New Amsterdam is that the story of the doctors is at the forefront. The medical cases are realistic, important and play a great supporting role, but it isn’t trying to recreate an emergency every minute. This is a slower paced medical drama, different from the others offered. Then again, if the goal of the Dam is to change the system, they can’t follow the model of everyone else, can they? I can’t wait for my next appointment at the Dam.
No, Georgia, it turns out Max isn’t the only one who loves it at the Dam.
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