Friday, January 09, 2009


Does anyone watch it? I used to be a huge fan (admittedly predominantly driven by my desire to be treated by Dr Kovac) but I haven't watched it for a while. Just a warning, if you are hoping to catch up on last night's episode, don't read the rest of this blog.

Flicking through the channels last night, I noticed the new series was starting. Not just the new series, the very last ER series. I figured I'd watch it, ER like most TV dramas is fairly easy to catch up on, even after a prolonged period of absence.

An ambulance had crashed, or exploded, or spontaneously combusted or something, and two of the lead characters (Abbie Lockheart and Dr Pratt for any followers) were on board. Both appeared to have minor injuries and were taken to the hospital where it was discovered Pratts were more extensive.

Pratt's brother (this is an assumption based on dialogue as I didn't recognise the character) was present whilst the doctors worked hard battling various complications that arose. Once he was stablised and on bipass, a different doctor came in to do some tests on his brain which revealed no cerebral activity.

Dr Smoulderingbutpainedlooking took Pratt's brother aside and told him that in his wallet, Pratt carried a donor card. His brother through gritted teeth answered "he's not dead yet" but agreed that should it come to that he would give consent.

Several hours passed (apparently) and the brain stem tests were repeated. The team explained to the brother that there was no activity, that there hadn't been for 4 hours and that the bipass was doing all the work of his heart which was also gone.

So far I know this is sounding like a pretty typical TV drama (well it is) but there were a few key elements that really struck me. There were a lot of close ups on the character throughout, and he looked very much alive, just like he was sleeping. There was no screaming from those around, no spurting blood and machines going off, it was all very peaceful and he looked...stable. This is, in my opinion, one of the biggest hurdles in Organ Donation, where you are being told someone has gone but your eyes are telling you something completely different.

The team then explained that he would be taken to theatre on the bipass machine to preserve the organs. They wheeled him slowly through the corridors, with members of staff gazing sorrowfully in typical TV drama style. By this time, I was sobbing, not just the odd tear, those huge noisy ugly sobs that rip right up from your chest. Some of it was to do with the fact that I cry at most things on TV (thank you mother for that gene) but there was a bigger part of me which hurt for all families who have had to go through that, who have made that decision and who have been so very brave.

I felt on the whole it was a good portrayal; the organ donation bit didn't actually dominate the storyline; it was a big part, but was made to seem like the norm, the right thing to do, no matter how hard. Also, this wasn't just a one-episode character who made an appearance to be an organ donor and then was never heard of again, this was a main character, a character who many viewers will have watched develop over the years.

A long blog about an episode of a TV drama. Hmm. But I had to talk about it as it did affect me quite deeply. TV can do that kind of thing you know.

edit - apparently you can watch the episode on catchup here.


Anonymous said...

Darn you I couldnt help but read it. Not Pratt, he's been there forever! He's the cheeky ladies man/boy from da hood doin' good. That sounds really sad, dont know when i'd get to see it though. If that's the first in the series how much more dramatic can they get?

I love ER and think that it's probably the most accurate hospital drama out there (maybe after Scrubs!)
I will miss it, esp Doctor Kovac (Yum) even though he's been round a fair few of the female staff at this point, the man whore) x

Tinypoppet said...

Dr Kovac is mine. Don't even try it.



lulu said...

Ha! I love ER and most folk I know don't share the same love for it so Im souper happy that u guys do. Goodness knows when I will get to see that episode but at least I have a little taster!!! Hope u are doing ok...Im so gald to hear about ur holiday fabulous!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Erm... excuse me for butting in, but please indulge an older lady... Kovac is mine, and the reason you haven't seen him for a while is cos he's living under my bed, oh God , I was just dreaming!, but anyway a little correction here as well, Abby was walking along the pavement when the ambulance alongside her blew up, she had just patched things up with Kovac and was on her way back to the hosp.
I will really miss ER when it finishes, it's what telly was invented for.
Maggie xxx

Alice Vogt said...

Know what you mean... Imagine how emotinal it was for me to see MY donor family on a documentary... and see her mother srying etc. Very sad.

Aunty P said...

I watch it - made me cry too! Only being older than you lot I lust after John Carter!!!!
I thought it was handled really well - I like the bit where the brother put his hand on his shoulder and asked why he was still warm. UK dramas never do it justice.xx

Gilly said...

I didn't read your blog on purpose until I managed to catch up and warch ER, it certainly give me a sore throat trying hard not to cry (which I failed miserably) it was a good story line and well done, but Dr Pratt was my favourite anyway...........

Gilly said...

Have you never heard of the word 'warch' before?? Its all the rage you know............sorry watch was what I wanted to say, I've only had one glass of wine aswell

Much love Gilly xx

triggy woo said...

i too bawled all the way through having watched ER for many too also broguth home the fact someone had to go through that to help my hubby!

Tori said...

I love Pratt!!!

I don't cry easily at TV or films but I too shed a few tears.

Anonymous said...

sounds like an acccurate portrayal dont think i'll be able to watch i though if it crushed you i'll be like a partially set jelly like wreck!