Making the Difference

CATEGORY: Cast (Series)
RATING: PG-13 (I guess, my stuff's pretty tame)
SPOILERS: no, my season 7 premiere
SUMMARY: Season 7 premiere County returns, various plotlines are begun....Carter's in rehab. A trauma shakes the ER.

Episode 7-01:

Previously on ER….

From “Loose Ends” (REAL ER EPISODE)

Mark: I called all his Navy buddies. Just got off the phone with Rachel. He never did his taxes so they’re….all a mess. I’m selling his house in San Diego. (sighs) I promised him I wouldn’t sell it…but what am I going to do with it?

Elizabeth: (nods)

Mark: I just…(voice cracks, takes off glasses, rubs his eyes, lets out a sob from deep inside him that causes more sobs to follow)

Elizabeth: (wraps her arms tenderly around his neck and kisses his head reassuringly…)

FROM “Such Sweet Sorrow” REAL ER EP

Doug: Where are the girls?

Carol: With my mom. (smiles)

Doug: (snickers)

Carol: Doug, it’s beautiful here.

Doug: (nods, eyes drop to the ground, then back at her. After a heavy pause, he leans forward and kisses her passionately, savoring every moment)


From “May Day” REAL ER EP

Kerry: How could we never see it Mark? He had all the signs…

Mark: I know. It’s just that it’s Carter. You don’t expect it.

Benton: You’re outta control man. Today it’s fentanoyl, then what? You’ll become just like your cousin, a babbling gork in a nursing home!

Carter: (gives Benton a visceral glare, then punches him squarely in the face.)

Benton: (rubbing cheek) Ok, you wanna fight that’s cool. But you get your ass in that van.

Carter: (gradually, his face collapses as he bursts into pathetic tears, dazed, not believing what he’s just done. He drops his briefcase and Benton pulls him in closer, and Carter bows his head)

Benton: It’s ok…

Now, MY ideas


(Mark is walking to the ER in the cold, drizzly weather. Dave is ahead of him riding his bike, and he watches as Randi drives by and honks over at Dave. Mark sighs and shakes his head slightly, then tightens his scarf and hat a bit.)

Randi: (pulling over Mustang convertible) Hey!

Dave: What are you crazy? Driving with the top down?

Randi: Hello!!?? You’re riding your bike to work.

Dave: Oh yeah. (embarrassed) So, uh, nice car.

Randi: Thanks. If was my ex boyfriend’s.

Dave: Really? How’d you get a hold of it?

Randi: He collected them. Gave it to me for my birthday.

Dave: Oh. How - ?

Randi: He was pretty rich - got rich FAST. Let’s leave it at that. I love guys with nice cars and nice gifts. (smirks, chewing gum, drives off. Dave is left with a frustrated look on his face, as he stands still a little above his bike. Mark walks by and pats him on the back)

Mark: Rough break. (he walks on and sees Elizabeth getting an expresso. She takes a sip of it and burns her tongue, and then blows on it. Mark gets an expresso near her.) Hey Elizabeth. (kisses her cheek) I’m missing you.

Elizabeth: (smiles. They walk towards the ER entrance) I saw you yesterday.

Mark: We need to do something exciting. Add some spice.

Elizabeth: To what?

Mark: To us.

Elizabeth: I like the sound of that.

Mark: (grins, wraps arm around her waist) Dancing….amusement park….bungee jumping….working in a busy metropolitan ER.

Elizabeth: We’ve done some of those!
Mark: Speak for yourself.

Elizabeth: (opens lounge door, they enter) Really, though. How about….a picnic.

Mark: In the snow?

Elizabeth: (smiles broadly) Exciting.

Mark: Hmmm… Tonight. I’ll figure something out tonight.

(Elizabeth kisses him on the lips and pulls away slowly, just in time for Romano to burst in)

Romano: Lizzy…Mark….(says , “Mark” in condescending tone, then regular again)….Lizzy, I was looking for you.

Elizabeth: Really? (gives Mark a sympathetic look, follows Romano out the door. Camera follows them down the hall from the front)

Romano: Yes, the inspector’s coming today.

Elizabeth: Really.

Romano: Yes, Lizzy, Really. I want everything in tip-top shape on the OR front. I’m too busy to check. Alright?

Elizabeth: Robert, is it really necessary to -

Romano: Why do you keep questioning my judgment?

Elizabeth: Robert, really, I -

Romano: Ahh, Peter. Top of the morning to you.

Benton: (startled, hand is on doorknob to Exam 1) Yeah. Hey.

Romano: Just wondering what you’ve been doing with yourself for the past 2 days?

Benton: Huh?

Romano: (stops in front of him, looks at him grimly)

Benton: Oh, (glances at Liz) Yeah, I took a personal leave. I was visiting….someone.

Romano: Thanks for telling me. Oh, and the week before that? (resumes his walk, Liz and Peter follow)

Benton: (rolls eyes) Yeah. Visiting….Dr. Romano, you -

Elizabeth: Talk to Mark, Robert. Talk to Mark about it if you really care so much. (testing him)

Romano: Hey, it’s ok. Geez, everybody thinks I’m going to kill them. (smiles, side tracks into a trauma room)

Elizabeth: (they both stop. Elizabeth sighs) Peter, how is he?

Peter: (scratches back of head) He…he’s doing well. He’ll be out soon. That’s what his nurse said. They cut off the fetanoyl completely. But withdrawal’s not over yet. It’s…been rough…

Elizabeth: (takes his hand) I’m sure he’s so grateful for you…for what you did…

Peter: (nods, pauses, then looks up over her head) Yeah. I gotta go. See ya.

Elizabeth: See ya.


Scene 2

Trauma Room, Luka, Abby, nurses

Luka: 1…2….3…

(slide patient onto bed)

Luka; All right, Abby, first step is to what?

Abby: Umm….ABC’s.

Luka: Right.

Abby: (checks down man’s nose and throat) Airway is clear. (Presses stethoscope to man’s chest) No breath sounds. (checks for a vein) Circulation is thready…

Luka: Give him 4 cc’s heparin drip.

Abby: He’s cyanotic.

Luka: Intubate him. I’m going to do a lavage.

Abby: Right. (perches behind man’s head, slips tube down…mumbles to herself) Visualizing the chords…

Luka: Hurry, Abby. He’s tachycardic…

Abby: (pulls out cover) There.

Luka: (glances at her)

Kerry: (enters, limping) I’m here. What’s up?

Luka: Abby, bag him.

Abby: (amazed, startled) Right. Sorry….I just….that was my second intubation.

Luka: Lavage positive. Paddles - Abby, paddles!

Abby: (grabs paddles)

Kerry: (presses up and down on man’s chest) Compressions…

Abby: Charge to 100, CLEAR! (slams paddles onto man’s chest, Kerry pulls away)

(beeping returns methodically)

Luka: He’s back. Get a surgical consult.

Romano: Here.

Luka: (pulls over ultrasound) All right, Abby, what do you see?

Abby: (runs to Luka’s side, stares at screen) Looks like the bullet nicked his liver.

Luka: Yes. There’s internal bleeding. Looks like the bullet’s moving a bit too. All right, Dr. Romano, he’s all yours.

Romano: Thanks, Luke.

(Luka and Abby exit, throwing their gowns to the floor. Luka sighs and glances at Abby)

Luka: That was…all right. Not a great start, but a start.

Abby: Sorry. I was - not up-to-speed. I just…I’m not used to it.

Luka: No one is at first. That’s not an excuse. You have to on top of things. More alert, ready. Just -

Abby: I know. There’s no excuse.

Luka: Yes. Next time try to pay more attention.

Abby: (nods, Luka leaves, she sighs)

Kerry: (approaches) Abby, good morning.

Abby: Hello, Dr. Weaver.

Kerry: I have a suggestion.

Abby: Oh…ok. I’d definitely welcome suggestions. (smiles weakly)

Kerry: I think you should try a rotation in the pedes ER today.

Abby: a rotation?

Kerry: (begins to walk towards admit, Abby follows, Camera moves around them as they walk) Not a complete one. Just check out Pedes - for how long is indefinite. I just think it’s a good place for you to get your feet wet.

Abby: Technically, I mean, well…I should already have gotten my feet wet.

Kerry: Don’t be silly. Just try it. We have expectations for you that you really have been meeting.

Abby: (nods) Well, thank you Dr. Weaver.

Kerry: (smiles dryly) Report to Dr. Finch. (limps away)


Scene 3

Curtain area 2, Dave and young, 35ish male patient

Dave: And how often do you run, Mr. Bolton?

Bolton: (winces away from nurse trying to hook him up to the EKG) Well, I run whenever. Especially when I don’t want to. (smiles) Then I run 10 miles. Today, I ran 15. There’s no stopping me. I have no limits. I didn’t want to run…but I did.

Dave: (looks at him curiously) And you have a family history of heart attacks?

Bolton: OWW! (shouts as Conni tries to stick an IV into him) Yes, but who cares about your stupid “history”. That’s a bunch of horse garbage. You know, you doctors -- All you do is play with our minds. You drive to work in your nice Lexus cars with leather seats -

Dave: (presses stethoscope to his back, sighs) Take a deep breath for me.

Bolton: (breathes in deeply, keeps talking) And you publish a sentence in a 17,000 word article about living in “moderation.” It’s horse garbage. How can a glass of red wine a day keep me from having a heart attack? How does genetics - that made up world - how does it affect my life? (glances at Mark’s nametag) Greene, I can run 15 miles on this heart of mine.

Dave: But, Mr. Bolton, you came in here complaining of shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness.

Conni: Temp’s 104.

Dave: And you’ve got a high temperature.

Bolton: (snarls) Try me. Give me an Advil and let me go. I’ve got more running to do.

Dave: You came in here for an Advil? Mr. Bolton, I’m sorry, but we’ll have to admit you. You could be having a heart attack…

Bolton: What’s this about a heart attack? (tenses)

Dave: (looks him in the eye, trying to intimidate him) Your exam shows onsets of a heart attack.

Bolton: Yeah right. You just want another case on your resume. To make some money for your corrupted self…(raises voice) I don’t deserve this!

Dave: Mr. Bolton -

Bolton: (stands) I have no limits. (begins to walk away)

Dave: (steps quickly to him) Mr. Bolton, you DO have limits. (Stops, not knowing what to say. Spots Dr. Greene) Dr. Greene! (runs to him) I got a guy leaving AMA, onsets of a heart attack.

Mark: Why is he leaving?

Dave: Spite.

Mark: (creases brow, confused, paces towards man. Dave follows) Sir, you’re leaving?

Bolton: Damn right I am.

Mark: You’ve got to stay. You will have a heart attack this afternoon unless you stay for observation. Please, Mr. Bolton, you must stay. Is there anyone we can call?

Bolton: (pulls on pants as he walks briskly towards the exit) I’ve got 5 miles left…. Oh, here’s your stupid patient gown! (throws it at Dave’s face. Dave looks at him indignantly)

Mark: (shrugs) He’ll be back.

Dave: Should I run after him?

Mark: Haven’t you got other patients, Malucchi? (flips through charts)

Dave: Dr. Greene, shouldn’t we get him back? He’s going to have a heart attack any minute.

Mark: I know, Dave, (faces him, chart in hand) There’s nothing we can do. Just mark AMA on his chart and pray for him. You’ve got to get to the patients who care enough to stick around here. All right? (trying to be patient)

Dave: It just…doesn’t seem like our job to let them go.

Mark: It’s not our job to run after them either. I do like this new Malucci-vigor. (smirks, walks away)

Dave: (scowls at the floor, marks on the chart, walks off-camera)



Scene 4

Deb in Lounge, sitting at the table, writing some letter, talking on her cell phone.

Deb: Suyuan, for the last time, I’m sorry. It’s not like it was my fault. I didn’t know if you’d listen to me. (Deb coughs and wipes her nose, letting out a nasal breath. Then she sneezes abruptly, having to wipe the piece of paper slightly. She groans and blows her nose, releasing sounds of individual secretions being emitted from her nose.) I’m so sorry, I have a cold. (sarcastically) Am I allowed to have that? (pauses, placing the phone slightly away from her ear, trying not to listen to the loud screaming at the other end. She is trying to act indifferent, realizing that is the only way she can deal with her family anymore. She leans back as she folds the piece of paper into thirds and slips it into an envelope. She sticks out her tongue to lick the adhesive, doing it while she is shouting into the phone, making her words incomprehensible) ugh, Suyuan, sphomechtieme

(Luka enters, then Mark shortly after him)

Deb: (continuing) you thest haf ta schop blaming others and realize your mistakes. I said, sometimes you just have to stop blaming others - Ok, fine, you know what --

Mark: Come in here for some coffee too? We got a trauma on the way.

Luka: I don’t drink coffee. (smirks) I like ginkgo tea.

Mark: Seriously?

Luka: Keeps me focused. My uncle used to try it all the time…

Mark: In ol’ Croatia?

Deb: (stands, walks over to her locker and opens it, placing her stationery inside. She halts her actions, turning all her attentions to the person on the phone) Suyuan, Suyuan! Listen to me! (pauses) Argh….(shuts off phone, places it in her locker. Glances nervously over at Luka and Mark.) Um, I’m sorry. That was - my sister. Blaming me as usual for not letting her back into my family’s life. She’s the one - I’m sorry. It’s complicated.

Luka: It’s okay. (pause, they watch her sidestep to Benton’s locker, slipping the envelope inside.)

Mark: Want some gingko boloba?

Deb: (grins) Who’s stealing my gingko?

Mark: (looks at Luka, then back at Deb. Luka sniggers)


Scene 5

Abby and Cleo, walking to Pedes

Cleo: You ever work with kids before?

Abby: (they turn a corner) I was an OB nurse.

Cleo: Oh, hey, I didn’t know that. (smiles)

Abby: Hmmm…gossip doesn’t travel as fast as I thought it did. (grins back)

Cleo: (opens door to exam room, looks back to her almost confidentially) It does, it just takes longer to get to Pedes. (they enter the room, she takes a deep breath. There is an African American with a screaming baby in her arms) Hey, Mrs. Washington? I’m Dr. Finch. (outstretches her hand, the woman shakes her head grimly)

Woman: I’m sorry…(speaking fervently) I can’t… (baby screams louder)

Cleo: I understand. I’m Dr. Finch and this is Ms. Lockhart. What’s wrong?

Woman: My baby….he’s -

Cleo: How old is he? And what’s his name?

Woman: He’s 15 months and his name is Ethan.

Cleo: (begins to wrap her arms around the baby gently, gradually) Ok.

Woman: Careful! I was picking him up…(her voice thins weakly) and I heard a crack. (lets Cleo take him. Abby comes up closer)

Cleo: (notices the boy’s wrist is flared back, his legs clamped in an uncomfortable position. Cleo gently places her hand on one leg and tries to right it into place, but it doesn’t move. She fears breaking something else, so she stops. She clears her throat and asks) Ma’am, do you breastfeed or bottle feed?

Woman: (sighs, tries to calm down) Breastfeed. I don’t know why this is happening I -

Cleo: Ok, we’ll send him to x-ray. (places baby gently in a nurse’s arms) Run a CBC, hemocrit, CT as well, please. (glances at Abby, then back at the woman) Excuse us. (they slip into the hallway) What do you think?

Abby: We can’t tell.

Cleo: I think I have a good idea. (crosses her arms, stares at woman through exam room window.) Child abuse probably….malnutrition.

Abby: (nods) Maybe. We’ll have to wait. (checks chart) Baby’s weight is low…only 15 pounds. At 15 months?

Cleo: Yeah…the woman’s probably bottle feeding but not using the right formula. But maybe not. We can only treat the break.

Abby: Hmmm…The height’s low too. Did you see all the deformations?

Cleo: (nods) I don’t know what to make of it. (looks at Abby) Ms. Lockhart, really, you don’t have to be act so unassuming. I know she’s black…I’m making assumptions…You’re white. If you made these assumptions I’d be okay with it. I mean, I know, at least I’d think, that you weren’t looking at skin color…You’re in the same place as I am. (smiles) Just a little tip I should reveal here and now. It’s all about the diagnosis. That’s it.

Abby: No, no…I’m not ruling out anything. It’s - it’s too early to tell. (creases eyebrow, stares intently at chart)

Cleo: (nods, backs away) Yeah, (both their pagers go off) Looks like a trauma.

Abby: Let’s go. (smiles insecurely)


Scene 6

Ambulance bay, Luka and Elizabeth simultaneously run outside

Luka: (sniffs the air) Smells good outside. (grabs the gurney)

Elizabeth: (chuckles, glances at the paramedic) What’ve we got?

Medic #1: Shootout downtown. This is “Noodles.” 18 year old male, 2 GSWs to head, ALOC, minor abrasions on neck and chest, fell 10 feet off 1st story window after being shot. BP 80 palp, puls-ox 45, pulse thready, unresponsive.

Elizabeth: Trauma 1…


Trauma 1…Slam patient onto bed swiftly.

Luka: I need a CBC, hemocrit, type and cross for 4, 4 units O neg on the rapid infuser and an ultrasound.

Elizabeth: Airway obstructed.

Luka: [CLOSE UP] Hmm?

Elizabeth: (patient begins to convulse a pit, coughing up blood) What’s the GCS?

Lydia: (grimly, clipboard in hand, marks on it with a pencil) 4.

Luka: 4?

Elizabeth: Get neuro. I’ll put in a trache. (situates herself)

Lydia: (punches numbers in the phone) This is ER. I need a neuro consult to trauma 1. Luka: Babinski?

Malik: Positive. Poor bastard.

Elizabeth: Trache’s in.

Luka: He’s stabilized.


Scene 7

Greene and Benton rolling gurney into Trauma 2

Medic: 12 year-old boy, bystander, ran into the street and got hit by a semi, severe head and shoulder lacs, several fractured ribs, major abrasions all over, BP 70 over 30, ALOC, puls-ox 40, pulse 70.

Mark: 1…2….3….

Benton: Get lytes, type and cross, 10 units of O neg, CT, ultrasound.

Mark: 10 units?

Benton: (surprised) Yeah. What’s wrong with that?

Mark: Peter, we’ve got other traumas coming in. We need to be careful.

Benton: This is a kid, Mark. A bystander…

Mark: Worse comes to worse we’ll auto-transfuse. One step at a time.

Benton: (glares a litte) Fine. 6 units.

Mark: 4 cc lydocaine push. Neuro consult.

Benton: (sighs)

Lily: Pressure’s dropping.

(the beeping suddenly becomes rapid and the green trail on the EKG transforms into peaks and drops)

Benton: Damn. (glares at Mark)

Mark: Paddles. Charge to 100, CLEAR!
Lily: No response.

Benton: Mark, why don’t -

Mark: again, CLEAR!

CLOSE UP - Benton’s face as it turns away from Mark and cringes as the beeping comes back into rhythm.


Scene 8

Romano, Cleo, Kerry rolling gurney into Exam 1

Medic: 17 year old female, 5 months pregnant, minor stab wounds to the abdomen, BP 90 over 40, pulse 120.

Girl: (moans vaguely) I wanna go home….

Kerry: Make sure the crash carts in there are ready.

Chuny: Ready.

Romano: 1…2…3…

Kerry: Hook up the fetal monitor, I want lytes, chem. 7, hemocrit, um….BAL and tox screen -

Romano: Tox screen? Hmmm…that’s interesting.

(policeman enters)

Police: Excuse me.

Kerry: (ignores him) type and cross, give her 5 cc lydocaine and 1 cc morphine drip, 2 cc heparin push, 3 units O neg transfusing. Get me an ultrasound and Abdominal series.

Girl: I didn’t do nothing….(shuts eyes)

Chuny: Pulse dropping. 80, BP 100. Fetal heart rate low, 60 bpm. Fetal BP 50.

Police: Is she asleep?

Romano: Yup. Makes our job easier.

Kerry: Prep for a parental lavage. I need a 13 gauge needle stat.

Police: (leans over Kerry’s shoulder, watching her) We have to take her into custody.

Kerry: Not now. (inserts lavage needle)

Police: I know. Someone let me know when she comes out of surgery.

Kerry: Lavage is positive.

Romano: Get her to the OR. (rolls her away.)

Kerry: (strips of her gloves) what did she do?

Police: Well, (glances at Trauma 1) if that guy dies, (looks back at Kerry) she’ll be charged for first degree murder.

Kerry: (shakes her head) It’s crazy. But all right. We have to stabilize her condition first. Completely.

Police: Of course.


Scene 9

Exam 2, Abby is suturing a stab cut on a man’s arm. Man is jittery

Abby: Please stop moving. (trying to position irrigation needle)

Man: Shut up. Let me go. (watching through window as they roll the girl to the elevator lobby)

Abby: (softly, timidly) What’s your hurry?

Man: That bitch. That bitch who shot my brother.

Abby: (begins to suture) Just relax. Only 49 more stitches.

Man: (sighs, glances at Abby) Will it leave a scar?

Abby: (looks at him with wide, challenging,unbelieving eyes) Yeah, but your tattoo covers it.

Man: (nods, looks firmly away)



Scene 10

Benton and Mark rolling the gurney out of Trauma 2.


Neurologist #1: Peter, why don’t you scrub in?

Benton: Sure. I was planning on it.

Neurologist #1: Really?

Benton: Well, the kid was my patient and all. But thanks anyway. (pauses, not sure what to say)

Neurologist #1: Anytime. We’ve heard good things about you from Dr. Anspaugh. (walks to elevator)

Benton: (rubs his palms together, gazing after neurologist for a moment before turning back to Mark, who waits patiently) I’m sorry. I - overreacted. You were right.

Mark: (slaps Benton’s shoulder) Happens to everybody. I’ll let you second guess me next time. (smiles weakly) The - The ambience around here lately has been…tense.

Benton: Yeah.

Mark: Catch ya later.

Benton in Neurology

Brain surgeon (Dr. Ahar): Suction…Dr. Benton, you know it’s best to come in at a 45 degree angle when dealing with children I think. Their brains are less developed, more sensitive. That’s a little techinique I picked up. (reaches into boy’s head, looks up at the fiber optic television screen)

Peter: Uh-huh. (clamps)

Ahar: Wow, I don’t even need to tell you what to do. Seems like you’d pick up fast up here in neurology.

Peter: (eyes dart to him, back to his work)

Ahar: You interested in it, Dr. Benton?

Peter: Never really thought about it much. I got a spot in cardio thorasic.

Ahar: Oh, well, if you change your mind.

Peter: (shakes head) No, change my mind? That’s probably not possible. I’m enjoying the program. I have had more time on my hands, so it’s working out. If I could ask, sir, but…why are you so eager to have me?

Ahar: We’re expanding our department actually. Need some fresh residents. In my opinion, there is more demand at the moment for brain surgery. You should spend a couple weeks with us. See if it sparks your interest.

Peter: (nods) I’ll think about it. I can’t be everything…

Ahar: Right, right. You just have to be sure.

Peter: Should I tie off the cerebral artery?

Ahar: (chuckles) Getting a little ahead of things? Just take care of that clamp, Dr. Benton. One thing at a time…


Scene 13

Abby in Exam 2, finishing up sutures. Cleo opens the door.

Cleo: Ms. Lockhart, I need you. Got the results back for the Washington baby.

Abby: Be right there. (rolls tool tray away, throws gloves into the trash can) You’re welcome (to the man)

Man: Yeah whatever. (bumps past her and towards chairs. Abby looks at him apprehensively as she walks next to Cleo, then relaxes. ) So….

Cleo: I called the social worker. This kid has got everything. (shows her the x-rays on a light panel. Points to certain regions pertaining to her words) Two fractured ribs…fractured wrist, compound femur fracture…sprained ankle. Got the number of a specialist who deals with malnutritioned babies.

Abby: I see. You already called the social worker?

Cleo: Of course. This woman’s hurting her baby. Either that or she can’t afford the necessities. Either way, whether it’s voluntary or not on her part, we can’t let this happen.

Abby: But, you’re going to take her baby away?

Cleo: I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. It’s not my job. Depends on the situation. Completely upon the circumstances…(trails off, they enter the exam room, where another black woman in a business suit is talking calmly to a bemused Mrs. Washington) Mrs. Washington - you’ve met Ms. Rafael? Your son has multiple contusions and fractures and his lab tests reveal severe malnutrition. I’m concerned that he’s not getting enough nutrients at home.

Mrs. Washington: (astounded, her voice has been reduced to a soft, weak pitch) What? I feed him three times a day…I take care of myself…

Cleo: I believe your son’s bones are so weak, and he’s not growing properly because of this. (sits down beside her) That’s what’s causing this easy breakage. I don’t know how…but Ms. Rafael is going to help you.

Mrs. Washington: You think I can’t take care of him? I’m not poor!

Cleo: I’m not saying that. I just see that your boy needs help.

Abby: (studying the chart, blurts) Vitamin D.

Washington: What? What? Am I doing something wrong?

Cleo: (turns around cautiously to Abby) Yes, Abby, er, Ms. Lockhart?

Abby: (swallows, steps forward) Your baby has rickets, Mrs. Washington.

Washington: What? He’s had all his vaccinations!

Cleo: (glares at Abby) Ms. Lockhart, can I speak with you outside?

Abby: Absolutely. (gaining confidence)

Cleo: (does not take her eyes off of her as they step outside the door) What are you talking about? (huskily)

Abby: Rickets. Disease caused by lack of vitamin D, symptoms are classic - deformations, bone weakness, stuntness of growth and weight…and…she’s black.

Cleo: (creases brow) What has that got to do with anything?

Abby: I read an article recently that told how black women who breast feed their babies aren’t giving their babies the vitamin D they need. It’s not intentional…because of their dark skin they do not absorb it from the sun and…

Cleo: Right…Ms. Lockhart, I haven’t even heard of rutz? Rickets? I guess I vaguely remember it…but it died out forty, fifty years ago.

Abby: It’s making a comeback because --- Well, it’s in the article. Because more black women are breastfeeding.

Cleo: So, you’re saying this is a misdiagnosis?

Abby: I am 80 percent sure, Dr. Finch. That boy needs vitamin D medication and physical therapy.

Cleo: (scrutinizes her) Show me this article.

Abby: It’s on the web. Where can I get to a computer?


Scene 14

Elizabeth and Romano operating.

Elizabeth: This poor child. Hasn’t even been born yet and its mother is a teenage criminal.

Romano: Think about the power you have right now, Lizzy.

Elizabeth: Yah, Robert. Especially with the Investigator watching.

Romano: I think he’s flirting with me.

Elizabeth: That’s good Robert. It’s what you need. So…why do you think she did it?

Romano: Oh, maybe cuz the other guy got her pregnant.

Elizabeth: (shakes head) So awful.

(behind Lizzy’s back, the OR doors open and Abby’s patient, the man with the sliced arm, and two other bulky young men enter. Elizabeth looks up as Romano looks beyond her and freezes.) What? What do you see?

Man w/ Tattoo: Back away, lady.

Elizabeth: (turns around and her breath stops. The man has a gun pointed at the girl’s heart. She doesn’t back away.)

Man w/ Tattoo: I’ll shoot her. Or you. Whoever’s in the way.

Romano: Lizzy…

Man beside other Man: Shut up!

(Elizabeth’s eyes dart from the girl to the gunman, to Romano, to the tray table and back again.)

Man w/ Tattoo: Get away from that bitch. She shot my brother…(brandishes gun more, tightening grip)

Elizabeth: (reaches for a syringe blindly…anything…she picks up a syringe of lydacaine and puts it in front of her, brandishing it almost like the gun.) You need this injected into your first. If I don’t in the next - (she glanced at the clock for effect) 20 seconds you will go into a coma. We don’t have any extra masks for you…You must hurry.

Man w/ Tattoo: (cocks head sternly, then steps forward) Hurry up. (keeps gun pointed, rolls up sleeve. Elizabeth for a moment worries that her plan is backfiring. Romano watches, speechless, a few random grunts trying to make themselves into coherent words from his throat. As Elizabeth is situating the needle above the man’s forearm, trying to think about her backup plan, as if she had one, the man winced away and dropped the gun to his side.) Forget this bitch. (starts to exit the room, glances back, voice quivers a bit) Don’t try to save her ass. (exits. Elizabeth sighs with inexplicable relief. There is silence as all the nurses and doctors stare at her)

Romano: You ok, Lizzy?

Elizabeth: (glances at Investigator, who is staring straight at her with wide eyes, her voice is soft, intimidated, numb) Yes, but you’re dealing with him. (nods her head to insinuate that she means the Inspector.)

Romano: (cackles)

CLOSE UP: Elizabeth (sighs and shuts her eyes for a moment to recover)


Scene 15

Mark and Dave in a trauma room, nurses. (they move the patient onto the bed and the medic rounds off the stats)

Medic: 35 year old male, OD on what looks like Demerol and narcotics. BP 150 over 100, pulse 130.

Mark: Malucchi, this is your AMA.

Dave: Hmmm… No limits eh? And he overdoses on narcotics?

Mark: Dave, you can take this one. I’ll just lend a hand. (smiles)

Dave: Thanks. OK, chem. 7, tox screen, stomach pump, 4 cc’s syrup of ipecac to induce vomiting, type and cross for 4 and have 4 units O neg standing by, 5 cc’s adenosine IV push and 2 cc’s atrophine IV drip. Get a barbituate and CBC.

(the green line on the EKG drops sharply, and the tone screeches into a single tone)

Mark: He’s flatlining.

Dave: Paddles. Charge to 50, Clear!



Scene 16

Abby and Cleo in Pedes Exam Room

Abby: (clears her throat, is sitting on a stool beside Mrs. Washington, talking slowly and gently) Rickets is a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency…It’s making a comeback, and has to be treated with medication and physical therapy.

Mrs. Washington: (eyes begin to fill) I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt my baby.

Abby: It - there wasn’t exactly a way you could have known, Mrs. Washington. Be sure to take vitamin D vitamins twice a day while you breastfeed, including with your future children.

Mrs. Washington: (nods, wipes eye) Ok. Ok…is Ethan going to be a normal kid?

Abby: It’ll be a long road….But we’ve caught this. There’s a lot of hope here. (smiles slightly) You’re a good mother, Mrs. Washington.

Mrs. Washington: (sniffs) I try. Thank you, Ms. Lockhart. He’s everything to me…

Abby: (stands) It’s my job. The nurses will take care of you from here. (pauses, licks her lip, looks at the floor. After the pause she nods and walks out the door, Cleo in tow.)

Cleo: (nods) That was excellent, Ms. Lockhart. (stretches her hand out for Abby to shake) I would never have caught it. Good job.

Abby: (smiles) Thanks. It’s just…something one of the…elderly…charge nurses taught us “kids” in OB. She rattled off on all the ancient childhood diseases….

Cleo: Well, I’ll definitely put in a good word to Dr. Weaver for you…

Abby: (grins) I need it. (not really listening, seems to be pondering something)


Scene 17

Admit desk, Deb, desk clerks, Mark, Luka

Mark: What happened to your shirt, Deb?

Deb: (passing by, glances down at her chest, which is splattered with a grotesque putrid brown liquid) Oh, stomach contents of some kid. Don’t worry - I’m on my way to the ladies room…(smirks)

Mark: (shuffles through charts, signing them) So, Luka, know of any good date ideas?

Luka: (smiles) Why do you ask?

Mark: Trying to liven up a relationship. I’m stuck really….should I take her out to some Italian place or -

Luka: How about a homemade dinner?

Mark: Well, she mentioned something about a picnic in the snow. I don’t know if that’s possible.

Luka: (picks up phone, glances at Mark) I’m not the one to ask for dating advice. But just be impulsive…whatever pops up in your mind. (dials a number, looks away)

Mark: (nods, continues work thoughtfully. A young woman pounds on the counter with agitation)

Woman: Excuse me. (slaps a stack of papers on the desk) I don’t need this crap. My mom came in here with the flu and we’ve been waiting 45 minutes.

Mark: You’ll just have to wait a few more minutes. We’re a little backed up.

Woman: (leans forward) She has AIDS - get these insurance forms out of my face. We can’t afford them anyway. (scowls)

Mark: I’m sorry you had to wait. I’ll take a look. (walks away from desk and bumps into Elizabeth) Hey (smiles)

Elizabeth: Hi.

Mark: Heard about Corday’s last stand up in the OR. (heads towards an exam room)

Elizabeth: (giggles) Oh really? Yes it was…less than comfortingly.

Mark: (slides arm around her waist, strokes her side) I’ll pick you up tonight at 7:00, ok? I’m off after this one patient.

Elizabeth: Ok. You have something planned?

Mark: Just a surprise. (smiles, pecks her on the lips, walks off-camera)


Scene 17

Doc Magoo’s, Abby is nursing a drink at the bar, looking captivated by it. Dave enters and nods as he acknowledges her presence, and plops down beside her.

Dave: How’s it going?

Abby: (jumps a little) Oh, hi Dave. I don’t know - I’m just winding down.

Dave: Yeah. Hey, want the next one to be on me?

Abby: (smiles) That’s ok. I’m fine with two beers.

Dave: (presses his lips together, slowly rotates his head to get eye contact with the bartender) One Miller’s, on the rocks. (looks back to Abby) How was your day?

Abby: Very educational….I messed up but later redeemed myself.

Dave: Oh really?

Abby: How was yours?

Dave: Lost an AMA, got him back, lost him again.

Abby: (nods) Hey, Dave, you ever disappointed with being a doctor?

Dave: (takes a sip of beer, shakes his head) No, I love being in charge.

Abby: I mean though…is it ever…too much like…waiting tables?

Dave: (snickers) How long have you been sitting here in Doc’s diner?

Abby: (grins impatiently) I mean, too much of trying to get as many cases as possible? Isn’t it…harder that way to make a connection with the patient? Or a diagnosis for that matter?

Dave: Depends what kind of doctor you are. (looks in his beer)

Abby: Even then - today I had a case where if I really listened…spent more time with the patient…I could have diagnosed just like that. Helped her…psychologically. I guess that’s what I’m missing from nursing - the well-rounded care -

Dave: Missing? You going back to nursing?

Abby: No, no…well, I don’t know. You think I should?

Dave: You should keep at your training. (tinge of flirtatiousness) You’re going to be a great doctor.

Abby: Maybe I want to be a great nurse. (staring past Dave) Maybe that’s it.

Dave: I don’t even know if you can. How much longer is your ER rotation?

Abby: I got 6 months left just for the ER rotation. A year paid off for med school…But - really…should I be even thinking like this?

Dave: Just let it come to you. It was pretty automatic for me. My parents wanted me to make something of myself instead of being a slug at home, so I went to med school. Here I am!

Abby: (raises beer glass) Here we are!

Dave: (laughs) Cheers!

(they both take a sip)


Scene 18

Kerry is in the dim lounge, signing off on charts. Romano enters.

Romano: Kerry!
Kerry: (through her hand, her head is bowed over charts) Go away Robert.

Romano: Wow. Just thought you’d want to talk to the County supervisor and the inspector.

Kerry: About what?

Romano: (sits down across from her) About County’s need for security.

Kerry: Oh, yes. That’s today?

Romano: Yup. Not very Weaverish to forget appointments, hmm?

Kerry: (checks watch) Robert I’m off in 15.

Romano: And this matters because?….

Kerry: (sighs, pops two Tylenol in her mouth) You’re not helping my migraine.

Romano: That’s my undeniable charm. (sleazy smile)

Kerry: (sighs, exits the room, sees two men, outstretches her hand) Good evening, Dr. Widelman, gentleman. I’m Dr. Weaver.

Chavez: Dr. Mike Chavez, Inspector.

Widelman: Kerry, Dr. Chavez saw a disturbing incident today. You heard about the man who pointed a gun at a patient’s heart in the OR?

Kerry: (glances over her shoulder) Oh, yes, our Chief of Staff Dr. Romano didn’t talk to you on this matter?

Chavez: No, he told us you were in charge of security.

Kerry: (clears her throat, vexed at Romano) Not entirely, but all right. We - We have security officers on call 24-7 in the ER. The OR is another story. I’m in charge of the emergency medicine staff. Once again I stress that Dr. Romano is the man to speak to about the OR. But we’ve been discussing (begins to walk, the men follow) placing security cameras in each trauma, exam, and operating room, and we have photo identification and social security passwords for each employee. Our security in the OR is limited, but that is all I can vouch for.

Chavez: If the security at County - mainly during trauma situations and in the OR, doesn’t improve by the time I return in a couple months, I’ll have to take legal action.

Kerry: Legal action? Sir, County has had few of these incidents - only sparingly. Our system has worked for the past six years I’ve been working here --

Widelman: Kerry… Dr. Weaver - The security in County’s ER needs work.

Kerry: (creases her brow at Widelman) Yes, but not enough to shut down County.

Chavez: County won’t necessarily be SHUT DOWN - just actions will be taken. That is all I’m saying at this point.

Kerry: Our budget -

Chavez: Safety comes before the budget. Have I made myself clear?

Kerry: (looks at each man, then reluctantly nods) Yes, I’ll look into it.

Chavez: Thank you. I’ve got to run. It was a pleasure, Dr. Weaver, Dr. Widelman. (walks off)

Kerry: (looks at Mr. Widelman, opens mouth and then shuts it)

Widelman: It’s your department, Kerry. (exits towards elevator lobby)


Scene 19

Luka, in apartment

Luka: (walks in, sets down his keys, presses the button his message machine to play back his messages. He has none. He picks up his mail and fishes through it as he peels off his coat and tosses it on his couch. He sits down and tosses bills on the coffee table in front of him as he slips his shoes off. He sighs and leans back on the couch, propping his feet up, then pauses when he comes to the last envelope. He switches on a lamp and opens it with keen interest…His eyes dart back and forth as he reads the letter, and a smile finds it way to his face. It fades but that joy is still in his eyes as he continues to read. He then abruptly reaches over to his phone and dials a complicated number.) Yes, may I please speak to a Branko Melcetic? Thank you…(there is a pause, he rubs his forehead, then suddenly brings his hand away as he begins to speak excitedly) Halo prijatelj! (he smiles and begins to speak in Croatian)


Scene 20

Mark’s apartment. Mark and Elizabeth enter laughing as Mark opens the door. Elizabeth gives her coat to Mark and her eyes dart to the floor. She chuckles. There is a trail of large, fake black ants leading into the next room.

Elizabeth: Mark, what’s all this?

Mark: Follow the trail. (smirks)

Elizabeth: (tiptoes next to the ants. Camera follows from behind…She gasps as she sees a plaid blanket on the carpet with two candles lit and two plates covered with metallic covers, looking out at the night sky through the open doors of the balcony. Elizabeth gazes at Mark, then kneels next to the “table”, lifting one of the covers. She takes a whiff of the homemade spaghetti) Mark, it’s wonderful.

Mark: We’ll have coffee outside. I thought it’d be more comfortable to eat the main course inside. I’m trying to be unconventional.

Elizabeth: (walks over to him and kisses him on the lips) I love it. (kisses him again) Let’s eat! (they sit down) But where did you come up with this idea?

Mark: It just came to me. Oh, could you slide out that CD from that shelf right behind you? This song’s almost over.

Elizabeth: Of course. (takes a moment to gather her bearings as she swivels around and slides out the CD. As she does so, she dislodges a long but thin black box which drops onto the carpet, sprawling out dozens of wallet-size pictures.) Oh, I’m sorry.

Mark: (pushes himself along the carpet over to her) Let me get those.

Elizabeth: (peering at the pictures. There are pictures of Mark as a boy, in his graduating class, in med school, small report cards, old driver’s licenses) This are precious!

Mark: Yeah, it’s my blackmail box.

Elizabeth: (picks up another picture, cocks her head) Hey, you have more hair in this picture. And who’s she? You guys are having such fun… (points to someone in the picture)

Mark: (takes the picture, closeup. It is a picture of Mark and Susan in the photo booth) Oh…wow, I never thought I kept this.

Elizabeth: (leans a little closer) Who is she?

Mark: Oh, Susan? She used to work at County. Transferred to Phoenix three years ago.

Elizabeth: Hmmm. (nods absent-mindedly) You still keep in touch?

Mark: (shakes his head, slips the photo back into the box) No, actually. Haven’t talked since she left. (puts box back, kneels there for a second, eyes gaze away)

Elizabeth: (tenderly sneaks in a kiss. Mark kisses her back, his hand clasping the back of her neck. Elizabeth pulls away and smiles)


Scene 21

The night sky through the window. Camera pans away to reveal a dark figure closing the window with much effort. The figure turns around and we see it is Carter - his eyes are sunken and dark gray circles encompass his eyes. He has a bristly beard, and he stumbles to his bed, lies down, shivering slightly. He moans a little and lets out a rattling cough. A nurse enters. She is elderly, and waddles in with a smile.

Nurse: How’s my favorite young doctor?

Carter: (clears throat, sits up, smiles weakly) All right. (his voice is unrecognizably hoarse)

Nurse: (smiles and picks up at the chart at the edge of the bed. Scans it, looks it over) Dr. Carter, are you really off all medication? (Carter nods) Well, I commend you sir. (performs a clumsy salute) You’ll be out of here in no time.

Carter: (tries to laugh, speaks shakily) Could you turn up the thermostat, Ellie?

Nurse: It’s already 80 in here, but anything for you doctor. Let me get you an extra blanket. First things first though. (Rolls in a cart with a dinner tray. She lifts a cover to reveal some steaming meat) It’s veal. Isn’t that your favorite?

Carter: Yeah. (puts his arms to his side as Ellie lowers the tray onto his lap)

Nurse: (puts blankets at the edge of his feet) Here are your blankets. And I’ll go see about that thermostat. You eat everything, all right? (begins to walk out the door. Suddenly turns around) Ooh, I almost forgot. (takes out an envelope from her pocket with a sly expression on her face) Mail for Dr. Carter. From - Dr. Chen. (hands it to him)

Carter: Ah…I’ll add it to my collection. (nods towards the pile on his side table)

Nurse: (giggles squeakily) Gosh, Dr. Carter, look at all those! (starts to toss a few of the letters and torn envelopes in her hands, then sets them down. A few drop and she picks them up. Her tone changes to a more serious, personal pitch) So, are these letters making a difference?

Carter: Definitely. (opens envelope, coughs into his arm, begins to read the letter. His vision blurs and he blinks his eyes and rubs his forehead. He sets the letter down and leans back on the pillow.)

Nurse: (rests her hand on his head) You still have that temperature. My maternal self can always sense these things. Want a Tylenol?

Carter: That’d be nice.

Nurse: Nothing against one dose of Tylenol. (checks the chart) Yeah. You’re fine. Here are two Tylenol.

Carter: Thanks. (swallows them, drinks all the water)

Nurse: Well, you have a good night, Dr. Carter.

Carter: You too, Ellie.

Nurse: (from the doorway) I haven’t forgotten about the thermostat!

Carter: (smiles) Ok.

(Ellie exits)

(Carter is alone. He sighs deeply and stares at his food. With a determined looks on his face, he begins to saw into the veal. With a slightly shaky hand he leviates the meat to his mouth, and chews and swallows. Content with this achievement, He tries again, taking another bite, but cringes out of a sudden lack of hunger. Disgustedly, he sets down his knife but it slips off the tray and onto the floor. He groans as he slides the tray atop the blankets and swings his feet to the floor, standing with all his strength. Holding tightly onto the table with the letters, he bends, grunting a little to add more strength, and raises the knife back onto the tray. As he stands his mouth opens a little and his eyes squint together as a dull, familiar pain shoots up his back. His hand rests on the small of his back and he moves quickly back into bed, as though he knows the pain stops under the covers. He breathes in…and out…shuts his eyes…and the pain stops. He clears his throat, brings the tray back to his lap and looks down at the food. He picks up the fork and scoops up some corn, then slips it into his mouth. He swallows it forcefully, then puts the fork down with a clatter. He lifts the tray onto a nearby cart and rolls it away. He rubs his temples in a clockwise motion, breathing in…out…slowly. He pauses all his motions, looks around the lonely room. His arm weakly turns out the light, and in the new dim hue of the room Carter lies down to sleep, adding more blankets as his shivering becomes more rapid, more intense…His tosses and turns a little, coughing into his pillow to muffle the violent sound of it. There is a pause, and he abruptly yanks all of the covers off of him, feeling a bout of heat. He moans slightly, and the screen fades to credits as his cough rattles on.)


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