Monday, April 15, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Resident' - Devon Passionately Fights to Give His Patient the Care She Needs in 'If Not Now, When?'

FOX's The Resident - Episode 2.20 "If Not Now, When?"

Devon grows concerned when a mother's complaints go unaddressed after her delivery, and pushes Bell to take drastic measures. Conrad is faced with breaking the news to Nic regarding Jessie's worsening condition. AJ, Mina and Kit spring into action when a mother and son enter the ER with devastating injuries.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of FOX's The Resident.

"If Not Now, When?" was written by Amy Holden Jones, Tianna Majumdar-Langham & Chris Bessounian and directed by Rob Corn

This is a very powerful episode. Sure, there are absolutely some wonky bits that don't really work. As everything revolves around Devon's plight to save his patient though, it is more effective than any previous episode of the show. It proves just how much power there can still be in this format. This is a story that needs to be told with action needing to be taken in order to correct the failings of the health care system. This show has always promised to expose the failings and corruptions of this institution. This story though is actually inspired by a horrible tragedy that never should have occurred in the first place. It calls out the high maternal death rates through pregnancy complications in this country - especially for women of color. There is absolutely no reason why the statistics should be higher in the United States compared to the rest of the developed world. And yet, that's a sobering reality. It hits Devon and his fellow doctors head on here. Sure, there is also some attempt to make it a case of unconscious bias that leads to a lethal mistake being made and the system breaking down so that action isn't taken in time. That doesn't completely work because the audience is suppose to view the doctor performing the C-section with disdain. He makes a comment he believes is innocent to Devon wondering how long he has lived in the country. That's so presumptuous and offensive. Devon rightfully calls him out for it as the story develops as well. That's not unconscious bias though. That is racism. As such, he should definitely face severe consequences for his actions taken here. It's his mistake that led to this outcome. He was just more focused on getting on to his next patient so that he could deliver more babies. Meanwhile, the maternal ward may not have the same safeguards to prevent disasters like the rest of the hospital. That is a glaring oversight that should be corrected immediately. Devon is baffled that no one seems to be helping his patient. He sees it as a bias against her from the entire staff because she is the only woman of color on the floor. The nurses claim that it's a busy day in the ward. Devon doesn't see the evidence to back up that claim though. He wants to ensure that everyone is prioritizing his patient because of the issues she has. This is just a happy family who would love to go home with their new daughter and move on with their lives. Instead, they are forever changed because of their visit to the hospital. Devon understood that something was wrong. He just couldn't convince the system that more should be done. He was right but his voice was still silenced. There is one layer of his attending believing he knows better than a simple resident who had never delivered a baby before. But there is also the sense that the attending dismisses Devon again because of race. As such, it's important to have this ongoing conversation. Bell is in the position of power to change the way things are done. He wants to support his surgeon and the nursing staff. He has never seen any kind of racial bias with them. And yet, he's not inherently aware of how any action could be perceived as such. For him, it has to be more overt. But he's also willing to support Devon and Mina as they propose changes to ensure this never happens again. That should be enough even though the show remains very cynical about how hospitals issue apologizes in order to avoid lawsuits for malpractice.

The show also makes a stark contrast between the situations facing people of different ethnicities and the treatment they receive. A white family are the victims of senseless gun violence. That too is an important conversation. One where the doctors mourn and reflect on how many bullets they have had to take out of people. It's sickening and tragic. They feel hopeless because they can't make a difference outside of the operating room. And yet, they also save lives. These are life-threatening injuries. In lesser hands, both patients would have died. The wife had a bullet go through her heart. Mina and AJ saved her. The son had a bullet lodged in his spine. Kitt removed it without paralyzing him. Those are such hopeful stories of joy where lives are saved. But it's also a part of the system that knows exactly how to respond in this situation. It's not without its own set of biases. Bell tells Kitt she needs to approach the surgery as a doctor instead of as a mother who is terrified by the pressure in her hands now. That is a little patronizing. But again, it all leads to a happy outcome. This family was lucky to have the staff at Chastain. Meanwhile, Devon's patient and her family are worse off because of their time at the hospital. She needed to deliver via a c-section but that shouldn't have been fatal for her. And so, the world at large may be a mess with complicated problems. But the hospital has many faults as well and needs its leaders to take an interest in creating solutions. That occurs here. But it still comes at a great cost. These two medical storylines are propped up to compliment each other. Of course, one is more effective than the other. Meanwhile, Jessie gets an update on her kidneys. They have been permanently damaged. She will have to stay on dialysis for the rest of her life. She won't even qualify for a transplant for another six months. Nic is willing to donate her organs. All of this mostly just ties into the new tension between Conrad and Nic. They break up here and it is really weird. It's hard to get a good sense of what is actually pushing the two of them apart. Conrad says it's because they want different things out of this relationship. He wants to keep moving forward and she wants to stay the same. And yet, it's a lot of Conrad talking and Nic offering up just a few comments about how he is presuming to know what she feels. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. As such, it's difficult to feel connected to it and its outcome. It's unfortunate that they break up. They are still forced together a lot at work. But the show needs to put things into better context in the future. Otherwise, this just seems like nonsense plotting to keep that romantic coupling interesting. There was nothing wrong with them being a happy couple. The show just thinks that was boring for some reason without putting in the work for this latest obstacle.