New Amsterdam 202 “The Big Picture”
So now that we know who died, how will that play out for the doctors at New Amsterdam? Well, for the most directly impacted, Max Goodwin, is working very hard to not show his grief. As he assembles the staff, people begin to wonder and guess what is getting ready to happen. Floyd and Iggy remember that the last time Max assembled the whole staff, he fired the entire cardiac surgery department (only to hire Floyd back the same day). Vijay has other hopes. Having lost his own wife some time ago, Vijay hopes that Max is announcing a leave of absence to tend to his heart and leave The Dam in the capable hands of Dr. Helen Sharpe.
How Can I Help?
Max has enlisted the help of Sandra (from Billing) Fall to help in preparing his presentation as he is without an assistant now. Dora took a job she couldn’t turn down in HCC. Max is still driven by his desire to help and his need to change the system for the better, but everyone notices a lack of spark in our intrepid Medical Director.
Max’s big project this week? Taking better care of the staff so that they can give better patient care. (Are we all pretending not to call out this very pot meet kettle moment? Cool.) He introduces the New Amsterdam census. His way of finding out how to better the lives of the staff at The Dam. Unsurprisingly, he is met with a distinct lack of enthusiasm from the staff, save for the ever-optimistic Iggy Frome. At one point, the staff grits out Max’s own “How can I help” back to him. I’m not sure this census is going to change The Dam for the better. Perhaps this time Max’s head isn’t in the game and he’s just a little off course.
As the story progress, Max and Luna meet with staff members in groups regarding their reported problems on the census: not enough sleep, not enough meals with family. Common complaints of families and people everywhere.
Floyd as a Mentor
Last week we saw Dr. Richards take Duke under his wing. We’ve seen the hard-charging leadership from Floyd, we know he is a skilled and gifted surgeon. Does he have what it takes to foster this relationship successfully and help his intern achieve his goals? In the OR, Richards surprises everyone by allowing Duke a closer look at the patient while the remaining interns are viewing on the monitor. Floyd instructs him to put a couple of stitches in the patient. A timid Duke, pauses and then follows instructions. True to his word, he does have very gifted hands and looks to have the makings of a great surgeon. Lauren needs a Cardio consult in the ER for a case of shingles. Duke is sent with a clear checklist of procedures.
When he arrives in the ED, Duke follows the procedures until he gets distracted by the typical disruptions in and ED. He forgets to check the patients ear but clears him for discharge. The patient comes back via EMTs later in a worsened condition and now having seizures. Duke doesn’t admit to his mistake, but Lauren is sure that the intern failed to check the ear. Constant unmedicated pain, a patient in worse condition due to a mistake by another department, and likely a little bit because it is Floyd, causes an eruption from Lauren.
When Floyd and Duke discuss the lie in his office, it seems inevitable that Floyd will remove the Duke from the program. However, Floyd doesn’t do that. He knows that one mistake can derail, and entire career and he wants to see Duke achieve success. Maybe Floyd will be a good mentor after all.
The Unmedicated Recovery
In the ED, Lauren is working to follow protocol better and call for the appropriate consults as she continues to struggle through her painful healing process. She is trying every possible remedy, but nothing is helping. Also not helping? Her attitude and her PT’s unwillingness to accept her excuses. The work, the pain, the emotions of the day boil over and Lauren finds a more creative way to address the pain which seems to work quite well.
When she returns to the ED, she is calmer, more focused and better able to balance the demands of her job. Personally, I think Bloom is doing very well gutting through this difficult situation. She offers and apology to Floyd and even Casey notes that something has shifted in his boss.
Is that Vijay or Iggy?
Vijay Kapoor doesn’t have a specific case in this episode. It appears he is channeling his inner Iggy Frome to meddle in Max’s life. Kapur is very concerned that Max doesn’t seem to be grieving the loss of Georgia and from experience, he knows it is crucial. He tries to speak with Max about grief and grieving several times only to be shut down by Max. At one point, Max literally turns and walks away.
In the end, Vijay finds Max on the roof and shares the sweet story of how he took up cooking his wife’s recipes as a way to manage his grief. When he cooks, he invokes memories that remind of the good times and keep her memory close for him. Max discloses that if he stops and lets himself truly grieve, he will never come out of it. He doesn’t have that choice; Luna is depending on him to keep moving one foot in front of the other. In the end, Vijay is satisfied that Max is, in his own unique way, grieving.
Following the success of Max’s treatment and having taken over half of the department, Dr. Castro is excited to expand her targeted treatments. She and Helen speak with the current oncology patients to discuss the likelihood of targeted therapy helping each of them. It is a longshot among longshots in the cancer world, but when it works…Max. While none of the patients get too excited, they do get tested for treatment potential. In the end, 17 new patients are found that qualify for targeted therapy, none from the Euchre group. While they are at peace with the news, Helen is not. The one who really had their hopes up for this treatment was in fact, Dr. Helen Sharpe.
Let Iggy by Iggy
This week’s crusade by Iggy Frome? Educating prisoners. Iggy will always look to help some underserved population. Prisoners who receive education are less likely to recriminate and The Dam has both a prison ward and classrooms. The timing doesn’t quite work out and they get off to a bumpy start trying to get the children out of the ward before the prisoners arrive. The warden takes all of the books Iggy was going to teach. “Teach whatever you want, but don’t give them any ideas”. That’s just what Iggy does. Rather than focusing on teaching a specific piece of literature, he uses an idea to springboard for the people. How can they retool the “skills” they used to find themselves in prison into a more productive use? They each seem to see a light about the concept, except for one.
He swallowed a fork because surgery recovery is a vacation. He will never get out of prison and thinks he has nothing to offer. Do you think Iggy agrees? Of course not, Iggy sees the man’s intelligence and offers to help him train to teach the classes at the prison. No one had ever told him he was smart. Dr. Iggy Frome will always find the good in people.
Time in a Bottle (or a Bus)
What comes of the New Amsterdam census? Max finds the common problem amongst the staff. Time. Everyone needs more time. But life coaches, physicists, religious experts, none of them have ever solved the problem of time. Is Max hiding a time turner? Nope. He starts a direct route bus service for employees. No stops or transfers allows faster commutes, employees can sleep, and everyone gets a little bit of time back. Nicely done, Dr. Goodwin. Amidst his grief and without his usual spark, he can still find a way to help.
Who will help Max?
We have seen Vijay try. Helen repeatedly tries to get Max to talk but he has a wall up. Something has shifted in Max. Will he open up soon? Will it be to his trusted confidant, Helen? Or will we see him in Iggy’s office? It seems we will just have to see what Max does and trust him.
This is a different show than we saw in season 1, but it’s equally good. I applaud the writers and creatives for following through on the bold changes in Max. It would be inauthentic if he lost Georgia and his spark was immediately back.
Similarly, it wasn’t just Max who was changed. You can see the effects of the crash bubbling under the surface for all of them, even if they weren’t in the ambulance. I look forward to watching it unfold and I suspect we will all need to invest in a gross of tissues to get through this season. The thing that hasn’t changed is the quality of story telling and the applicability to everyday life.
Let’s visit the hospital again next week, shall we? See you then Dam Fam!
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