Summary for "Heartbreak"
From email@example.comMon Mar 20 00:44:43 1995
Date: 19 MAR 1995 17:19:00 -0500
Subject: Summary, 1-1-95 (repeated 3-6-95)
CHICAGO HOPE, Season 1, Episode 1.9, "Heartbreak"
Written by Michael Nankin
Directed by Bill D'Elia
Original air date, January 1, 1995; repeated March 6, 1995
PRELUDE: HEY, ROOKIE!
Dr. Arthur Thurmond enters his OR, and he isn't happy about it (apparently
he doesn't enjoy operating right after lunch). Camille Shutt introduces
Thurmond to Sarah Jane Petty, a new nurse who is doing her first scrub
ever; grumpy Thurmond's attitude won't help. As Thurmond waits for Sarah
Jane to pass him the first instrument, she freezes, and Camille finally
has to walk her through the steps. Thurmond ultimately demands that Sarah
Jane leave the OR, which she does, in tears.
PLOT ONE: THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER.
Rabbi Taubler, the man who married Aaron and Camille, is about to have a
heart transplant. To the Rabbi's comment that "marriage seems to be
agreeing with you two," Aaron sadly tells the Rabbi that they are
separated. The Rabbi is surprised, but quickly recovers, saying "It
happens to the best of them. This was the best of them, I thought." When
Aaron answers, "So did I," Camille glares at Aaron, and the room becomes
very quiet. Breaking the uncomfortable silence, Camille assures the Rabbi
that he'll get the royal treatment, and Aaron tries to soothe his fears
with the news that Jeffrey Geiger is the best surgeon, the absolute best.
Unbeknownst to Aaron, though, Geiger has asked Dr. Danny Nyland to do the
procedure, his first transplant.
The Rabbi is moved into the OR, where Camille promises that she'll see him
in the morning. Calling for the music to begin, Geiger tells Nyland that
he's on. An alarmed Camille finally learns that Nyland is doing the
procedure. When she reveals that the patient is a friend of hers and
continues to argue, Jeffrey becomes even more stubborn, saying "I am in
charge in this room, therefore what I say goes. Are we clear?" As Camille
watches nervously, the first incision is made.
Alan Birch and Detective Stacey Haloran are in the theater observing, as
Alan grows more agitated. Phillip Watters joins them, and Alan asks if he
knew that Nyland would be doing the transplant, but that detail appears to
be news to everyone except Geiger and Nyland. Stacey, now dismayed
herself, wonders if the patient knows that Nyland is performing his first
heart transplant, and Alan answers that the patient certainly does not
know. Asked if a patient doesn't have a right to know if his surgeon has
done such a procedure before, Alan responds, "Certainly not. What patient
would consent to that?"
In the OR adjoining Geiger's, the donor heart has been harvested as Geiger
and Nyland have removed Rabbi Taubler's heart. Camille goes to get the
donor heart and is handed the basin containing the organ, but as she
returns to Geiger's OR, a medical technician knocks a stack of supplies
from a shelf by the door, which hit the basin, which overturns, dumping
the heart on the floor. It slides to the opposite side of the room, where
another technician kicks it back across the room underneath and behind a
supply cart. Alan, in the operating theater, is stunned: "Oh my God! Oh my
God! This is NOT good! Where did it go?" The unflappable Geiger simply
says, "Somebody? Go pick the heart up?"
As Billy Kronk pulls the heavy cart away from the wall without damaging
the heart anymore, Nyland crawls on the floor trying to reach it. Finally
the heart is retrieved, and Geiger assures his team that they'll be fine,
telling them not to panic and playing down any concern he might have. A
terrified Camille brings the basin bearing the donor heart to Geiger,
waiting for him to remove it, reluctant after the earlier disaster, but
Jeffrey instructs her to take it out and hand it to him, which she finally
The transplant is completed, but when the heart is taken off bypass, it is
fibrillating. Geiger shocks the heart with the defibrillator paddles;
nothing. The defibrillator is cranked higher, and he shocks the heart
again; nothing. He shocks the heart once more and a sinus rhythm returns,
to everyone's relief. As Geiger is ripping off his surgical gown and
gloves, he reminds his silent team that no one is at fault and that what
happened in the OR should stay there. Camille, dejected, leaves the OR
followed by Nyland, who is trying to reassure her that the dropped heart
wasn't her fault. She explains to Danny that she didn't mean to be
doubting him, but he is apparently untouched by her lack of faith in his
Something has gone very wrong with the Rabbi though. His blood pressure
has dropped, and he's in full arrest. While Camille performs CPR, Geiger
realizes that he's bleeding internally, then decides to open the Rabbi's
chest right there in the CCU. Shoving Camille out of the way, Geiger cuts
through the bandages, then into the Rabbi's chest, retracting the ribs.
The Rabbi can't be helped, though, and he dies. Camille is devastated;
leaving the room, she leans against a hallway corner to support herself as
Aaron passes by, pausing for just a moment to look at her and walking
away. Geiger, following behind him, stops and tries to convince Camille
that the Rabbi's death had nothing to do with what happened. As Geiger
later tells the Rabbi's family, "He was 76 years old . . . [the] rate of
success especially at his age is marginal at best. We were all hoping to
beat the odds."
Camille, talking with Phillip and Alan, discovers that they have decided
not to reveal the fact that the heart was dropped, justifying their
decision with the explanation that it had no medical effect. They also
believe that telling the family would only compound their grief. Camille
is angry and charges them with a coverup, but it's more her guilty
conscience than true outrage.
Learning that Rabbi Taubler's body is being used to teach medical students
how to intubate patients, Camille and Nyland insist that the instructor
stop using the Rabbi's body as a teaching tool. When Nyland asks if she's
still feeling guilty, Camille responds, "How can I not? Everything on the
line and I pull a Bill Buckner with the heart. How can I not? You?" Danny
is also downhearted, "My first transplant. I'm 0-for-1."
A young woman is in labor, about to give birth, with Camille as her coach.
The baby is finally born; the doctor hands the baby to Camille, who turns
and drops the baby. DEKE! It was all a dream. But Camille wakes up to a
nightmare: she's in Nyland's bed -- with Nyland! Realizing what time it
is, Camille jumps out of bed, telling Danny that she is supposed to meet
Aaron at the Rabbi's home for pre-shiva and that she's terribly late. She
grabs her nurse's clothes and makes her escape, with no time to spare and
no chance to go home, shower and change.
At the pre-shiva, Aaron is talking to the widow when Camille finally
arrives, wearing her raincoat, clasping it at her throat to cover her
nurse's uniform. Mrs. Taubler, pleased to see them together, tells Camille
she has something for her, then walks away. After Aaron glances at Camille
strangely, she presses him for a reason, and he tells her that she smells
like sex. Forcing a smile, Camille asks him what he's talking about. Aaron
clarifies, saying that, "I'm talking about the fact that you get this
odor, not odor, but smell, nice smell, very slight, but nice, from sex.
And after sex, I always used to smell it. I smell it now." Camille becomes
self-righteous, asking how he can say such a thing at a time like this.
When Mrs. Taubler returns, she presents Camille with the silver wedding
cup the Rabbi used at her and Aaron's wedding ceremony. "It's a mitzvah. A
happy deed. In death he brings you together. The cup from your own wedding
is in your hands, something you maybe dropped along the way is returned to
you. Drink from it with joy." Camille can't stand it any longer, and
launches into the true story of what happened in the OR. Her final words
to Aaron as she leaves the gathering are, "And I did have sex!"
Mrs. Taubler has sued the hospital. She, her son and their attorney are
meeting with Alan and Phillip. Alan maintains that the fumble had nothing
to do with the Rabbi's death, but that circumstances certainly call for a
complete investigation. In order to do so, he informs them that he is
ordering a complete autopsy, which could take two or three days. The widow
is horrified; her husband must be buried by the next day under Jewish law
and tradition, and she refuses to grant permission for an autopsy. When
Alan asks if she is denying the hospital he right to investigate the
Rabbi's cause of death, it becomes apparent that Alan is using this as a
negotiating tool since he knows the widow will never allow an autopsy on
her husband, who must be buried the next day. After Mrs. Taubler and her
party leave, Phillip can only stare at Alan, who demands that he not look
at him that way. "I know he was a human being but someone's got to look
out for liability. And that's me, dammit, so don't look at me that way."
At the Rabbi's funeral, the congregation, including Aaron and Camille
seated at opposite ends of the temple, is asked if anyone else would like
to say a few words. Camille steps forward, gingerly, amidst a sea of
whispers. As Camille briefly pauses by the widow's side, the amazed widow
nods imperceptibly as if to give her tacit approval. From the pulpit,
Camille announces her name, revealing to the mourners that Rabbi Taubler
had conducted her wedding ceremony -- "He used to joke that I was his
first shiksa" -- which almost didn't come off because of an argument
between Camille and her father 40 minutes before the ceremony. She had
demanded that her father leave, but Rabbi Taubler had pulled her aside,
pointed at her father and said, "This man, he should be at your side."
Camille says that she is telling us this because she was very close to her
father and for him not to be present at her wedding would have been a
great tragedy. Rabbi Taubler had reminded her that, "Such a fundamental
anger could only come from love and that deep feelings, even when they
manifest as hatred, are, nonetheless, deep feelings. I have been very
lucky in my life. I have known great pain but I have also known great
love. And because of Rabbi Taubler and his wisdom, I am able to remind
myself that in the eye of the deepest despair you do find love. I cling to
that. I cling to that like it's everything." Tears fall from Aaron's eyes.
PLOT TWO: LOVE AND WAR
Leaving the Rabbi's room, Camille is infuriated at Aaron's inference that
it was her fault the marriage ended. Later, after the scene at the
pre-shiva, Aaron scratches Camille from a procedure he is to perform. She
confronts him and he treats her rudely, telling her that she is acting
erratically and that she looks tired. Unfortunately, the patient is still
awake; Aaron tells him he's canceling the procedure and will do it
Phillip, trying to act as both arbitrator and chief of staff, reminds
Aaron and Camille of his earlier warning concerning domestic tension
between the two of them. Aaron, sarcastically remarking that there is
nothing remotely domestic between then, insists that he threw her out
because of her erratic manner, such as announcing at a shiva that she
helped killed the deceased and that she's having sex. Camille counters
that the real reason she was thrown out of the OR is because she had sex
(and in the middle of their heated argument, all Phillip wants to know is
who Camille was having sex with). Their words grow more intense, and
Camille finally throws Antonovich up to Aaron. Defending himself, Aaron
repeats his belief that no surgeon would want her on his team because
she's an emotional wreck, but Camille demands to know where he's been
during this difficult time for her, reminding him that whenever he
stumbled, she was always there for him. "Even Geiger showed some comfort."
Aaron reminds her that this is what she wanted, for their lives to go
their separate ways. But Camille maintains that she just wants Aaron to
stop punishing her, though he insists that he isn't: "You want to leave
me, leave me. You want to feel sorry for yourself, do that too. I have the
right to hurt!" Camille's answer shows her ambivalence: "And so do I. Just
because the divorce was my decision doesn't mean I don't have the right to
Camille leaves and stalks down the hall, angry and hurt, when Nyland sees
her and asks if she's okay. She stops to tell Danny that what happened
between them was ". . . . just one of those things," but when he tells her
that's okay and acts rather casual, Camille is just a little bit crushed
that he didn't at least try to argue.
Aaron, enters the OR to do the procedure he had canceled the day before.
Ranting and raving over any number of things, including "how about nobody
drop anything," he learns that the patient hasn't been anesthetized.
Looking down at him, Aaron tells his patient not to worry, that ". . . .
everything is going to be fine, I'm at my best when I'm agitated." But
leaving the OR, he returns to the scrub room, stares at himself in the
mirror and slams his fist into the towel dispenser. Geiger, coming around
the corner at that moment, says, "Hey. That's my favorite towel
dispenser." Aaron finally laughs, but in a way that suggests he's laughing
more at how ridiculous everything is than anything Jeffrey said.
PLOT THREE: CAN YOU SAY "SETUP"?
Dr. Thurmond is stalking the hallways of Chicago Hope when Sarah Jane
calls out to him, apologizing and assuring him that nothing like that will
ever happen again, although he doesn't remember her at first. Once he
does, he fires her, but she begs him not to since she's always wanted to
work at Chicago Hope and will do anything to keep her job. Starting to
walk away, Arthur tells her, "All right. You're not fired." But this is
not enough for Sarah Jane, who'd rather be fired since at least then she'd
feel "like a human being instead of some minor annoyance." This catches
Arthur's attention, as he stops and answers, "All right. You're fired."
Begging Thurmond to just give her five minutes in an OR to show what she
can do, Sarah Jane tells him that if he's not convinced she belongs, then
he can fire her. Arthur asks her, "Are you a nut?"
Later, in Thurmond's OR, Sarah Jane is waiting for Arthur, who tells her
they're going to do a liver resection, then asks her to tell him about the
instruments. Among other things, she notices that he will need more stats,
that the forceps are in the wrong order, and that there are no sutures.
Arthur seems to be impressed and they begin a fake procedure on an anatomy
toy encased in a plastic box. As she hands him the instruments, he
commands her, "Harder! Faster! Anticipate!" Within moments, she is handing
him the right instrument, in the right way, with the right pressure, even
knowing an alternative when one method might fail. Finally, Arthur is
convinced, and after he tells her that she's a good nurse, Sarah Jane
responds by saying what a sweet man he is. Arthur reaches out with one
big, gnarled hand and clasps both of her smaller, smoother hands in his.
Lurking in a hallway, Sarah Jane sees Thurmond leaving the office wing and
thanks him for taking the time to see her work, saying that she really
doesn't know how to thank him. Arthur tells her she can thank him by being
a pro every time she steps into an OR, and she promises to do her best.
"Also," Thurmond adds, "maybe we could have lunch." Sarah Jane seems taken
aback, but agrees to be his guest for lunch one day soon.
Sarah Jane describes her version of these few encounters with Thurmond to
Alan and Phillip, claiming that although she's been rehired, she's not
entirely sure why, but that she thinks Thurmond is interested in her.
(After all, Sarah Jane "can . . . well, I can sort of tell when a man is
attracted.") Telling Alan that Arthur has asked her out to lunch, Sarah
Jane explains that she accepted because she didn't want to offend him and
that it could be innocent. Sarah Jane professes that she doesn't want to
make trouble, but maintains that she shouldn't have to be going out with a
senior surgeon to avoid getting fired. Phillip promises that he'll talk to
Thurmond and deal with the situation.
Confronting Arthur over his invitation to Sarah Jane, Phillip makes it
clear that the invitation was inappropriate since Sarah Jane thinks that
Arthur is hitting on her, especially considering how convincing she is in
the telling. Insulted, Arthur is indignant that anyone would construe his
actions in such a way, not to mention the fact that Phillip hasn't even
asked him for his version of the events in question. When Phillip asks,
"Are you sexually attracted to her?" Arthur responds, "Phillip, of course
I am. I've been attracted to lots of nurses. Even that big one last year
who turned out to be a gelding. I would never act unprofessionally. You
know that." Trying to open Arthur's eyes to how these events could be
interpreted, Phillip explains that Sarah Jane seems to feel pressured to
go to lunch with him and to be nice to him, which is unacceptable.
Smarting from these words, Arthur can't believe it; he thought Sarah Jane
just liked him. But Phillip reminds him, "You're Arthur Thurmond, the
legend. She's a first year nurse. She has to like you. Cancel the lunch."
Thurmond, angry that his actions have been so wrongly understood, calmly
informs Sarah Jane that he has been made aware of her concerns. She tries
to apologize, but he's not buying it, realizing that she has cultivated
him perfectly, using her charm to get herself rehired and buying herself
tenure, so much so that if she were to be fired now, it would be perceived
as retaliation. Sarah Jane finally drops the
butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth act and purrs at him, chin tilted down
and eyes cast upward, "You give me too much credit." Thurmond knows that
she's won this round and admits as much to Sarah Jane, but cautions her
that when she makes her next mistake, he'll be watching, warning her that
he doesn't make threats; only promises.
FINALE: SOME DAYS YOU WIN, SOME DAYS YOU LOSE
Sarah Jane has sued both Arthur and Chicago Hope, claiming a hostile
working environment. When Phillip asks him if he had threatened her with
retribution, Arthur insists that he just told her to be careful. "That's
not sexual harassment, telling a nurse to be careful?" Face to face for
the first time since the suit was filed, Sarah Jane coolly answers
Thurmond, "You made advances, I complained to my employer, you responded
with a threat. My attorney said it's actionable. It's not right that
doctors bully nurses. Sooner or later somebody should take a stand. I
figure, why not me?" As she haughtily walks away, Phillip is too stunned
to say anything more than, "That girl's gonna be trouble."
Alan, confessing to Stacey how badly he feels about his treatment of Mrs.
Taubler just to prevent hospital exposure, is beating himself up pretty
badly. She reminds him that he was just doing his job, but he doesn't want
to hear it. Alan came from a family of doctors; he wanted to be a doctor
all his life, but didn't have the stomach for it. He still believes that
he can contribute something: "I protect these doctors. I would do anything
to protect them. There are a zillion lawyers who could do what I do, but
they're doctors. I'm The Eel." Stacey is surprised, since he'd told her
the nickname was the Snake because it sounded better and commanded more
respect. Trying to comfort him, Stacey answers, "You're not an eel; you're
not a snake. You're an adorable man." When we last see them, they are
kissing passionately on the couch in Alan's office.
At Rabbi Taubler's gravesite, the final prayers are sung. Aaron and
Camille are worlds apart, not just in spirit but in their places among the
crowd. The Rabbi's son rises from his seat, picks up a shovel, scoops out
a pinch of earth from the pile next to the grave and drops it onto his
father's casket, deep in the ground. He hands the shovel to his mother,
who repeats the gesture with determination and strength, though her
heartbreak. Mrs. Taubler then carries the shovel over to Camille and hands
it to her, to Camille's astonishment. Camille repeats the gesture, then
looks up, flustered, finally finding Aaron in the crowd. They catch each
other's eyes as she walks to him wordlessly, hands him the shovel, and
takes her place back among the mourners. After Aaron has taken his turn,
the shovel is passed to the next person. Walking to Camille's side, Aaron
gently gropes for her hand. They clasp their fingers together, quietly but
RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS:
As always, Chicago Hope has one (or more) themes running through the
various subplots. My interpretation of this episode's theme is
expectations -- of ourselves, our friends, our families, others outside
our circle, and of events. Certainly, Camille, Geiger and Nyland would
expect that the Rabbi's transplant would come off like so many others,
without a dropped heart. The Rabbi's family would expect that the hospital
and its staff would do what was necessary, all in a professional and
timely manner. Anyone would expect that mourners attending a pre-shiva or
a wake would behave in a certain manner, not disclosing or revealing
either gory details or personal issues. Finally, Arthur Thurmond would
expect a new nurse to appreciate his attention and encouragement, and not
consider it sexual harassment!
Well, everybody was relieved of their expectations, to put it mildly.
Also, confrontation and resolution (or the lack thereof) have been one of
David Kelley's mainstays for many years, and here he and his staff fully
display that talent in depicting such events. Some of the best moments in
this episode are the result of conflict: Aaron and Camille, arguing in
front of an exasperated Phillip, who eventually just leaves the room
quietly, his absence going unnoticed. Geiger in the OR, demanding that
Camille and the rest of his team recognize his authority. And Alan's
meeting with the widow after she has filed suit, using his lawyerly wiles
to avoid costly litigation, even at the high cost of his personal
I only have a couple of minor quibbles:
Mrs. Taubler wouldn't permit an autopsy (such antipathy towards
autopsies is common in the Jewish faith). Why, then, would her husband's
body be used as a teaching tool? Was permission granted? If so, by whom?
Camille accuses Aaron of not being there for her in her time of
crisis, using the fact that she has always supported him as additional
ammunition. While it's true that Aaron gave Camille little or no support
during all the tumult, I have to comment that Camille seems to want to
keep part of their relationship alive, but only on her terms. Time and
again we've seen her "be there" for Aaron, holding him and giving him
comfort, then turn around and push him away. If I were Aaron, I'd be
confused, too, and probably wouldn't leap at the chance to be a
sweetie-pie and offer Camille the comfort she wanted.
GREAT DIALOGUE (AS ALWAYS):
Thurmond to Sarah Jane, "That's the anesthetist; his job is to prevent the
patient from running away."
Geiger to his team in the OR, after the transplant: "One more thing. This
patient has a fine strong heart in him. He'll probably out live us all.
We're human. What happened here was nobody's fault. What's more, this
patient does not need the added stress of knowing we played kickball with
his new heart. Nothing leaves the room. We're agreed."
Camille at the pre-shiva: "The doctors tell me that I didn't kill the
Rabbi, but during the procedure I dropped the heart, it went splat onto
the floor and it skidded over to a door where it got whacked again and I
also think that one of the technicians accidentally kicked it. We picked
it up and put in your husband and now he's dead. They say you can play
basketball with hearts. Maybe they're right but I just can't keep this
inside any more, I just can't. And I did have sex!"
The hardest part about writing this summary was trying to forget that it
originally aired immediately before the "Quarantine" episode. Knowing the
events that followed "Heartbreak" made it quite difficult to keep
everything in perspective.
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