Critical Care (1997) - full transcript

Dr. Werner Ernst (James Spader) is a young hospital resident who becomes embroiled in a legal battle between two half-sisters who are fighting over the care of their comatose father. But are they really fighting over their father's care, or over his ten million dollar estate? Meanwhile, Werner must contend with his nutty supervisor, who insists that he only care for patients with full insurance. Can Werner sidestep the hospital's legal team and do what's best for the patient? - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
Bed six's blood gases,
I notched up oxygen 60 percent.

Thank you.

Come on!

Come on!

Write the order now before
you drop off again.

You look exhausted.

Just one of the many
side effects of...

No sleep.

Dr. Faigo call cardiology.

Dr. Faigo call cardiology.

22 hours down, only another
14 more hours to go.

Some coffee, Dr. Ernst?

Thank you.

Don't tell me.
Not you and nurse Young Lust.

Just making up for lost time.

You mean that hour or two
you wasted on patients today?

An hour or two?

Don't I wish!

My best post-pubescent years were spent
being totally rejected by women.

I went from science dweeb in high school
to biology nerd in college.

What changed you into
the stud you are today?

Yeah, an "M.D." after my name.


The dork was transformed into a...





Potentially rich!

Master of medicine...

Exactly the kind of man that
every girl hopes to marry.

Is the world really that shallow?

Mine is.

Have you noticed how many of these nouns
you name start with a "d"?

Dweeb, doofus, dickhead, dork, doctor.


Have you seen my
favorite calendar?

365 holidays a year.

Yeah, right! 365 holidays a year.

Roll up a barrel, it's National Polka Week!

Maybe I will try for a nap.

Yes, it's a good idea.

Don't let me sleep past 7:00.

Can I help you?

I'm Felicia Potter.

Dr. Werner Ernst, nice to meet you.

I got a call this morning
that my father was...

Having a heart attack,
so I came right over.

How is he?


Yes! No, he made it
through, and he is resting.

But he is still in a coma?


Can I see him?

Yeah, he's in bed five.

- Right here.
- Thank you.

Stella, I think I'm in love.

I worry about you, Dr. "Wiener".

A life of no sleep and
prodigious sex is not healthy.

Who says?

Hippocrates. You know
what else he said?

No. What?

When the thing goes gets hard,
the brain gets soft.

Let me see bed five chart.

This is the current volume,

There's five more in medical records.

Take a look at the reason he was
moved from the eighth floor.

"Change of scenery".

A change of scenery.

I wonder if Butz was sober
when he wrote this.

I have to do cranial checks.
Come with me, I'll feed you in.

Bed five should be a DNO.

A NO code?

No. It's important to say
we did everything we could.

Which is doctor speak for "we put this
patient trough hell before he died".

Good morning!

- Can you tell me who the president is?
- Eisenhower.

Yeah, well, close enough.

You rest now, okay?


Not today, honey.

I just can't believe it...

Bed five has been comatose for 3 months...

And Butz made him a full code.

You ain't seen nothing yet. Look...

Look, he's had a pacemaker.

He's had...
gall bladder surgery, colostomy...

Amputation of the left toes
to remedy gangrene...

Renal dialysis, exploratory surgery
of the abdomen and...

Cataract surgery.

Of course, this is the first volume.

There's another five I have not had a
chance to read yet.

I've lettuce in my refrigerator with better
chances of becoming conscious than this guy.

Dr. Butz has recommended
a gastrostomy.

Do the insurance forms go to
Medicare or Amnesty International?

Hey, Rafael.


Can't have any fluids, remember?

Can't have any fluid because you
don't have any kidneys, so you can't pee.

I can give you some ice chips
every so often.

I don't believe in God anymore.

You want some ice chips?

God would answer my prayers
with suffering like this.

Get him out of here.
I don't want to talk to him. Get him out!

Get him out!

He's hallucinating again, poor kid.

It's all right. It's just the doctor.

All right, come on!
Take it easy! Take it easy!

Why don't you get a cup of coffee?
I can handle him.

I'll check how bed five is doing.

I came here and I wait, because...

I want to be with him if anything happens.

I don't know if he's still
here or has already gone.

I'm sorry.

I just can't take it anymore.

Who knows what he is feeling?

Suffering and pain.

Would you like to get some coffee?

Ok, shh.


I think we should just let him go, I mean.

Surely he's gone already, isn't he?

Now they want to put this feeding tube in him.
Could you explain that to me?

Gastrostomy is a small incision
here in the abdomen...

That allows us to put feeding
solutions right into the stomach.

What is it for?
I mean, what's the point?

The body needs food for fuel.

Your father can't eat.


It's the only way we can be sure
that he's getting... fuel, I mean.

So he can't eat, right?

Can't drink...

He's not conscious...

The machine is doing his breathing...

Can't walk, can't talk...

He's an athlete.
What's left?

Well, the gastrostomy is
an invasive procedure.

Your family could refuse
permission to proceed.

My half-sister Connie has
trouble accepting reality.

She wants that feeding tube
even if it means more suffering.

People often disagree about these
things, but as time goes on...

Then the physicians and the family members
usually come to a mutual decision.

But in this case, one of the
family members is totally bonkers!

Connie has become a holy, growling,
bible belting religious nut!

Dr. Ernst. Bed-five.
Family wishes to meet you.

- Excuse me.
- That's Connie.

Go meet her,
you'll see what I mean.

Don't you want to come?


Come on!

Hey Connie!

- You must be the doctor on call.
- Yes.

- I'm Constance Potter.
- Dr. Ernst. Good evening. Huh, good morning!

Why was my daddy moved to this floor?

He was getting excellent care
on the 8th floor's ICU...

But this is the hospital's
newest Intensive Care so we...

Good. Daddy deserves the best.

I can't stand seeing him suffer like that!

Don't worry! He's getting better!

I pray and pray he'll be okay and now he's
survived another trial. He's getting better!

"For we wrestle not against flesh and
blood, but against the powers..."

"Against the rulers of the
darkness of this world..."

"Against spiritual
wickedness in high places."

I know he can hear me.
Can't you, daddy?


He understands!

You might be right, but when you
feel your father grasp your hand...

It may be nothing more than just a tremor.

I mean, he trembles quite a lot,
so it's...

Hard to tell whether...

Whether he's grasping your hand in response
to your question or it's just tremorings.

I know he understands.

I've been coming to this hospital every day
for months and talking to him.

One squeeze is "yes",
no squeeze means "no".

Now you want to tell me that
that's just some kind of seizure?

Well, if there's nothing else,
I got to start my...

Morning rounds.

I got to go too, Connie.

Do you see what I mean?

I'm trying to do the best for my father,
but I got a vulture to deal with.

It's a hard time for her.
People show distress in different ways.

Just wait, you'll see what I mean.
She's nuts.

Regardless to this problem, let me know
if there is anything I can do for you.

Maybe we could've... breakfast and talk.

I can't. I don't I give up
work until 6 tonight.

- It's a long day.
- Thirty-six hours straight.

- How about dinner?
- Ok, I'll meet you at 6 in the lobby.

Great! Good.

Dr. Ernst, see Dr. Butz.
See Dr. Butz.

Go, he's in.


My favorite resident.
What I can do for you?

You paged me.

You're always pulling my leg!
I didn't page you!

Listen, so long as I'm
here, I was wondering...

Why... bed five in nine ICU
was made a full code.

Bed five? Well...

Must be because I wrote
the order, he's my patient.

Yes, you did.


I mean, does he have to be a full code?

No, he don't have to be full code.

I'll tell you what...

Next time his heart stops,
let's just kiss his ass goodbye.

Isn’t that what we all
went to medical school for?

Now, what can I do for you?

You paged me.

You joker!

Hey, as long as you're here, take a look
this cat shit.

The Medical Licensing Board coming at me
with a pack of rattlesnake lawyers.

Look at this.

Somebody filed another goddamn complaint.

Remember the first time they
accused me of being an alcoholic?

- I remember some rumor...
- Do you? Ha-ha!

You know what happened?

They kept me upstairs!

Made me Chairman Emeritus
of Intensive Care Medicine.


That's Latin for "over the hill".


This time it's not just... "alcoholic".

This time they are calling me a...

"Chronic, severe alcoholic".

Can you believe that?

Some bureaucrat writes me
this letter here and they say:

"Do you now have..."

"Or have you ever had a problem
with alcohol dependency?"

What a question!

First of all if I were an alcoholic,
I would deny it, wouldn't I?

Is that not one of the symptoms
for alcoholism? Denial!

Absolutely right.

And if I was chronic,
severe alcoholic, I'd have...

- Korsakoff -
- Korsakoff syndrome. Absolutely!

I wouldn't remember
anything at all then! So...

So why are they asking me this stuff?

- You know what Korsakoff's is?
- I remember what it is.

- I wonder if you do.
- No, I remember exactly.

Let's hear! Come on!
What is it? Right now!

What is Korsakoff's syndrome?
Right now. What is it? Tell us.

Korsakoff's syndrome is a disorder
that accompanies chronic alcoholism...

Usually results in total
short memory loss...

While still permitting to perform complex
tasks learned before the illness.


Now, what I can do for you?

You paged me.

I'm in no mood for jokes, Ernst.

I don't deserve this!

I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale.

I wrote the
"Fundamentals of Intensive Care Medicine".

Did you read that book?

- Three times!
- Did you?

- A standard text throughout the country.
- You're damn right!

And I wrote it 30 years ago,
before I started drinking and...

Chasing women and...

Having some fun.

Now I think I'm entitled to relax and
enjoy my life a little bit. Don't you?

And by the way, when I drink only
perform mundane tasks anyway...


Well, talking to you, for example.

I'm just kidding.
You are very very important.

So what's the problem?

I don't know.
What's the problem?

There's no problem.
What can I do for you?

You asked to see me. You...

Paged me.

How could I page you?
Don't keep telling me that!

I don't know how the
goddamn system works!

What happens when I page?

Just a... "beeper".

That thing beeps?

So you know what I
think I'm doing?

I'm buzzing here for cafeteria...

And apparently, you keep coming here.

You don't have a turkey sandwich
on you, do you?

- Certainly don't.
- Then get the hell out of here.

Shut the door on the way out.

All right people, let's get started.

Dr. Ernst!

If I were someone like you about to go
on morning rounds with someone like me...

I would be on time!

Dr. Hofstadter wants to see you in
his lab tomorrow, right after rounds.

Why? What's wrong?

You know he picks from residents
here to join his team?

- It looks like you're the leading candidate.
- You're kidding!

If you're chosen for Hofstadter's team,
it's like a coronation.

From then on, you're medical royalty.

You wouldn't believe the money I'm being
offered after a year with Hofstadter.

Dr. Ernst, bed five.
Family consult.

You wanted to see me?

Oh yes...

I know you and my sister
were discussing my father's care.

Her only concern is that your father's
suffering not be prolonged.

I'd watch myself around her.

My sister is... Delilah...

Dr. Ernst.

My sister is Salome and Jezebel.


She's not the reason I'm here!

I know you're skeptical, but I'm absolutely
certain my father hears everything I say.

And furthermore I've discussed his care with him
and he wants us to put in the feeding tube.

- You discussed this?
- Yes.

- Recently?
- Yes.

Well, I'll be sure to let Dr. Butz
know about that conversation.

One more thing.

As my sister doesn't want that my father
should be receiving life support...

I don't think it's appropriate
to allow her to be alone with him.

Dr. Ernst, bed nine, ICU main station...

I'm sorry. I really... have to go.

If Ms. Constance Potter wants me at any time
in the future, you make sure I'm unavailable.

- That bad, huh?
- I wouldn't believe it.

What kind of work do you do?

I'm a model.

I started modeling mostly hands.

But... I just booked my first
national magazine ad.

- Really? That's great.
- Lip gloss.

It's okay for now, but...
I intend to go back to college.

Can't be a model forever.

- You can't?
- Nope!

You're the first doctor I've met
that seems human.

This thing with my father
has been so hard for me.

I just have been so confused
about what to do with him.

What do you think your father
would have wanted?

I don't have to think, I know.

When my dad was a signalman, in the Navy,
he almost died in an explosion.

And he decided then that if anything
ever happened to him...

He did not want to hang around
paralyzed or comatose.

Did your father ever make a living will,
did he put down in writing...

What he wanted done about his medical
care if he was ever incapacitated?

Well, if he did, I never saw it.

Connie might've got
hold of that first.

She reviewed all papers
before my mother died.

How did your mother die?


Oh, I'm sorry.

It's all right.
It just happened.

Our visiting time is over, I'm sorry.
You will have to go now.

We'll be back soon, Rafael.

105. You're making a run for
the record books, fellow.

I want to die.

Yes, I know.

I know you do.

I don't wanna go back to that fucking
fellow here, and that fucking dialysis.

You tell those fucking doctors with
those fucking machines. I don't want...

Well, I'll put that in your chart, but
I don't think it's going to do any good.

Why not?

Your family requested
the full code for you.

They love you and
they don't want you to die.


Gonna need nobody.

When the time comes.


Give me a pill...

Or cut the goddamn machines.

No big deal.

I'll put that in your chart.

Tomorrow, I want you, to tell the doctor,
what you told to me.



- I know they've good food here.
- Oh yes.

Thank you.

You know, I was...

I was talking to a lawyer...

Who told me that...

I should get an injunction...

To stop Connie and Dr. Butz
from putting that feeding tube in.

- Did you talk to a lawyer?
- Yeah

And he said that...

If they put that
tube in, then...

They could keep my father artificially
alive for months, even years, and...

I wouldn't be able to stop them.

If you're talking to a lawyer,
I can't talk to you about this.

Oh! No, it's no big deal. He's not...

He's not really a lawyer. He's just a friend!
No he's a friend of mine from school.

I just talked to him because I just...
I don't know what to do!

I am sorry I can't talk to you about this.


No big deal, really.

You're nice.

You're smart. I just...

I don't usually meet guys like you.

Well just, we order dinner, okay?

We can talk about whatever
you want, even the weather.

I just...

I just don't want to be alone right now.

And I like you, okay?

Hey Star! Is this guy getting ready
to cramp on us again?

No, Dr. Hansen. He is okay.


You again?

I'm afraid so.

- Satan's Little Helper.
- Get out of here.


We need to have that little chat.


I want to die.

I understand that.

I mean, your problem is
that your illness...

Makes you absolutely useless
to other people.

From now on, you're nothing
but a burden to the living.

People have... nothing to gain
from being nice to you.

Well, your loved ones may continue to...

Display an instinctual affection, but...

Even they will ultimately shun you.

I mean...

Let me put it this way!

When you were healthy...

And were chasing money and women...

How much time did you give
to comforting the dying?

Not much.

And I'll tell you why.

Because it's depressing, disturbing, and...

Thankless work!

You see?

You just have nothing to
offer anyone anymore.

Well, except one thing.

What's that?

Health insurance.

Get him out of here!

I'm calling anesthesia

He won't make it to the
morning without a ventilator.


There I was... with nothing...

Except this little orange bikini...

And my goose bumps!

And they kept on spraying me...

For it ought to look wet,
you know, like from the sea wet.

Only it was so cold...

That the water actually
froze on my body.

So all the later shots
had me look like an icicle.

And they couldn't use
any of the shots.

That's how great modeling is.

I know how you feel.

I went through it
when I had my cancer...

I was lucky, all I lost
was my left breast.

For five years now my cancer
has been in remission.

The chemo worked.


You see?

Do you see what I went through to live?

I faced the very real possibility of
waking up in a room full of strangers...

Tied to my bed...

Kept alive by machines.

Oh, I know.

I know how you feel.


What do you do when you're not playing...


I don't have time outside my job now.
I use to like to ski.

- Oh, I love to ski.
- Really? That's great.

I have a friend who has got...

- A condo in Vail.
- I've never been there.

I've heard it's the best.

It is.
It has fabulous skiing.

- How about a night cap?
- Okay.

Why don't we go to my place?

Do you see my father?

You see how he looked?


I just can't help thinking
about him, I just...

I keep wondering if going mean
is the right thing to do.

I'm sorry.
I know you can't talk about it.

All right.

Don't worry about that.

Thank you for holding me...

I really need to be held tonight.

I like holding you.

I'm so glad you're here.

Why don't we go to the bedroom?

What do you think, medicine boy?

Looking great.

Now it's my turn to watch.

Time to take your pants off.

I'll try the old fashion
way, I thank you....

I'm sorry!

I just cannot stop
thinking about my father.

Just need to know if I should
seek the injunction or not.

Can't you just tell me
what you think?


I really can't!

How would you then...

Go home!

All I'm asking is for you
to be a friend.


- I think you should get the injunction.
- Do you?

- Yes.
- Why?

- Just take my word for it.
- Oh, no!

I need you to tell me why,
please, for my own peace of mind.

Your father...

Is in what we would call
"persistent vegetative state".

The gastrostomy, the feeding tube...

Helps to keep him alive.

It's never going to change
the way he is.

He's always going to be...

Just the way he is right... now.

I'm sorry!

Thank you for telling me.

Thanks for being honest.

I love my father, but....

He's already gone, isn't he?

I mean, it's just the machines
now, isn't it?


It's just the machines.

The patient arrived 12 weeks ago,
with pulmonary hemorrhage...

Severe hemoptysis,
dyspnea, and hematuria.

Kidney biopsy shows linear deposition
of immunoglobulin and complements...

In the glomerular basement membrane.

The blood culture shows rapid growth
of staphaureus and pseudomonas.

Lab values continue to show
progressive severe renal failure...

With raising blood urea
nitrogen and raising creatinine.


Goodpasture Syndrome?

I... want... to die.

He says he wants to die.

The patient's confusion is probably
the result of hypertensive encefalalgia.

What's the treatment for Goodpasture's?

Dialysis until the kidney transplant.

And if two transplants have been
rejected, what is your course of action?


Dr. Ernst, line three for an outside call.
Dr. Ernst, line three, please.

Dr. Ernst.

Dr. Ernst, my name is Sheldon Hatchett.
I am the attorney Felicia Potter.


We are seeking an injunction,

We would like to have your testimony.

Why would you want my testimony?

Well, to help this man and his daughter
put an end to this suffering.

Under State Law... I need
the testimony of two doctors...

That the patient is in
a persistent vegetative state.

I... I can't help you with that.

She told me what you said!

All you have to do is to say in Court
exactly what you told Felicia.

Listen, anything I may have said to Felicia
was said in confidence.

If you bring it up, I'll
deny I ever said it.

She says that she has proof.


Look, we don't need
your help to today's hearing.

We can get a temporary
restraining order.

But we do need you to testify
at the injunction hearing.

I have to go now.

Felicia or I... will call you again
soon, all right, doctor?

- She really would appreciate your help.
- Yeah.

So would I.

Welcome to the lab, Werner.
Come in, let me show you around.

Count your blessings.
Not many people get to see this.

Through these computers,
we receive up to the minute data...

From 60 hospitals in 15 states
and 11 foreign countries.

When other medical staff
are stuck, they call us.

We analyze the data...

Dr. Hofstadter diagnoses and
treats the patients from right here.

No, no I'm sorry.
I can't do it this weekend.


Come in!

Come in!

Look at the future of medicine.

Seeing patients is a waste of the doctor's time.
We try to correct that problem.

We like to think of patients as
information that can be digitized.

Then we can build computer models
for surgeons to practice on...

That will be identical with any patient.

Have a look.

Take a look!

Go ahead!

We can bio-engineer a
device to roam the body...

And automatically notify us
of any abnormalities.

We can diagnose and treat the problem...

Before the patient even
knows anything is wrong!

That's my call from Tokyo.


Hi! Kazu-san!
How are you?

You know, doctors and technicians from
around the world, work for Dr. Hofstadter.

The only people working here that are
Memorial staff are me and Poindexter.

You worked with him before?

No. Who's he?

An ICU nurse, but he's also
a genius with computers.

Come, I'll introduce you.

This is Dr. Ernst.

He's a second year resident
on the ninth floor ICU.

Rumor has it that Poindexter
has never had a patient die on him.

- Is that true?
- Pointdex?

Not while I have been on duty.

How is that possible?
I am sure Dr. Ernst would love to know!

Just a matter of carefully
monitoring the patients...

And then adjusting the
medications accordingly.

There is no longer any condition
that is truly terminal.

Just patients we choose not to maintain.

Dr. Ernst...

Internal call waiting on line four.

- Do you have a...?
- Down there.

Excuse me.

Dr. Ernst.

Dr. Ernst, this is Richard Wilson,
head of the legal department.

I need to see you immediately.

Huh, I'm with Dr. Hofstadter.

After Hofstadter then.

I'm afraid I can't spend any more
time with you now, Ernst.

I hope you enjoyed your visit.
Any questions?

Why did you want to see me, sir?

I wanted to show you this.

Each year I choose one third-year
resident to join my team.

This year it was Hansen...

For next year, you are the
leading candidate.

Really? Really?
That's terrific.

It will be if you're chosen.
We'll talk later.

Yeah, sir. Thank you si...

"If you're chosen!"
Good one, sir!

- I am Richard Wilson.
- Pleas... to meet you.

I'm talking to all the doctors
writing orders on bed five...

A patient named Potter,
a patient of Dr. Butz.

One daughter has hired a lawyer to fight
against further invasive procedures.

They've already served us their
lawsuit for permanent injunction...

By the end of the day, they want
a temporary restraining order.

- Here's your copy.
- My copy?

My God!

Why am I listed as a defendant?
I haven't done anything.

You and thousands of other people
who get sued every day.

- Me personally.
- You and all the other doctors...

Don't worry. The Medical Center
will protect your interests.

Our outside counsel, Robert Payne,
he'll take care of this.

Is he good?

He's the best.
He's the fucking Terminator.


Sign this.


It's a joint representation agreement.
Every doctor being suited has to sign it.

We provide you with legal counsel,
but we reserve the right

To stop representing you if you
actually did something wrong.

Such as?

I don't know. Battery or fraud or something.
Sign or get your own lawyer for 300 an hour.

Let me bring you up to
date on this lawsuit.

Felicia Potter is seeking injunctive relief to stop
us from putting the feeding tube in her father.

She also wants us to stop all invasive
procedures and treatments.

Her half sister Constance wants us to do
everything we can to keep the old guy alive.

Both sisters have retained
big, expensive law firms...

So there's going to be a real
carnage before this is over.

And I'm cowering in the middle.

Ain't life grand?

Now, listen to me. Don't talk to anybody
about this case, not even other doctors.

- I mean, you got to be kidding...
- Hey, doctor!

I've done this before, okay?
Let me tell you what's gonna happen here!

If we keep this guy alive,
Felicia Potter is gonna sue us...

For unauthorized medical treatment, battery, fraud
and everything else hers lawyers can think of.

And if the bed five dies, Constance Potter
is gonna sue us for medical malpractice.

No matter what you say, you supply one of
them with evidence, so keep your mouth shut!

Don't express an opinion.
Don't say even a word.

Our position on the patient's proper care is: Whatever
we've done is exactly what we should have done.

- Understand?
- Yes.

Jeez! I wish they'd teach more about
litigation in medical school.

Hi, this is Felicia.
Leave a message after the beep.

Felicia! It's Werner.

Your lawyer called and...

I'm sorry, but I can't
help you, I can't...

Testify against the...

Doctors I'm working for.


Dr. Ernst, bed five.
Family wishes to speak with you.

"Their idols are silver and gold."

"They have mouths but speak not."

"They have eyes, and see not.
They have ears, but hear not."

They have hands, but feel not ."

Shall I come back later?

No! I want to see you.

Can someone...

Mistakenly change one of these dials?

Not likely. Respiratory server
checks the settings every hour...

If a change occurs, alarms go off.

What if the alarm doesn't work?

There are two alarms.

It's okay, Dad! The doctor's just checking
the alarms on your machine...

Everything is working the way
it's supposed to.

Can the alarms
be turned off... by accident?

The alarm can only be disabled by punching
a protective code into the keypad.

Can they be turned off intentionally?

Yes... huh...

But only when the patient expires...

Or doctor has written an order
to disconnect the fan....

- Are you people trained to be inhumane?
- What did I say?

A man is recovering from
a life-threatening illness...

And just because he is unconscious it doesn't mean
he can't hear and understand everything we say!

Have you spoken to any of the chaplains
or a nun for our pastoral care program?

Yeah, they are wonderful people.
There's just not enough of them.

But the rest of you, is
all sneers and laughter!

I've heard... nurses and technicians laughing
and telling jokes in my father's room...

As if he was not there, as if there
wasn't a living person in the room.

Doctors and nurses have to find a way
to maintain some kind of objectivity.

Laughing at sick people!
Is that objectivity?

Giggling over TV programs while people are dying?
Is that objectivity?

No! It's human nature. People to giggle
or tell a joke to break the pressure...

You can't spend 12 hours a day, every day, dejected
because you're working with the terminally ill!

My father is not terminally ill,
he is convalescing!

Dr. Ernst, see Dr. Butz.
See Dr. Butz.

Dr. Ernst...

Two days ago Dr. Butz told me...

We'd be going forward with surgery to
insert a feeding tube within 48 hours...

When you see him, maybe
you could remind him of that.

- Maybe you should talk to your lawyer.
- Dr. Ernst!

I don't mean to be angry.

Forget about it.
I don't mean to be inhumane.

I know you don't.

We are all sinners.

But God loves sinners.

That's good news.

Hey Werner!
Chip of the old block!

What can I do for you?

You paged me.

Stop pulling my leg!

I didn't beep you!

Ok, I came to see about
bed five, nine ICU.

I don't think bed 5 is my patient.

No, he is. Nine ICU.

Bed five?

Bed five.

- He is...
- Just a minute. Right here.

Bed five.

What's wrong with bed five?
He is all paid up.

He has three insurance companies
paying all his bills monthly.

He is supposed to be scheduled
for gastrostomy...

And... the family won't consent to it.

You see...

Bed five is called the patient
and we are called the doctors.

I don't give a goddamn
what his wife thinks...

- I went to Yale. Where did she go to?
- It's not the wife.

It's his daughter...

And after I spoke to her, I...

I started thinking that maybe she's right
about not proceeding with the gastrostomy.

I mean, why should we feed him
if he's not gonna get any better?

I assume the man needs a tube
because he can't eat, isn't it right?

Yes! But why should we just prolong
the inevitable putting a tube in?

Well, you think just...

Because someone is going to die... soon...
We don't have to feed him.

I have news for you. We're all gonna die.
Why should any of us eat?

I'm just... just questioning...

You know what?
Being a doctor is not enough for you.

Now you want to play God Almighty.
Isn't that right?

If there's no reasonable prospect of cure
why should we proceed?

Where have you been all your life?

It's called revenue!

He has got catastrophic health insurance...

Long term health care.

- The works!
- What difference does insurance make?


It's cash, money!

Not one of those "try and collect
from the estate" deals.

And you... want to yank his tubes.


Cafeteria? I pressed billing.

This is the cafeteria, Dr. Butz.

As long as I got you on the phone,
let me be the first one to tell you...

The soup yesterday tasted like a shirt!

Billing. Steckler.

Steckler? Where is Mrs. Ritter?

This is Mrs. Steckler. Ms. Ritter
hasn't been here since 1984.

Well, I didn't say she has,
I'm just asking you where she is.

- Can I help you, Dr. Butz?
- Yeah, it's Dr. Butz.

Bring me the last bill we sent
to bed five, nine ICU, please.

Patient's name?

Why, I don't know the names
of all the patients!

- His name is Potter.
- Potter!

Or ain't that good enough for you?

You came to see me about... something.

What can I do for you?

About bed five.

What's wrong with bed five?
It's all paid up.

It's about this gastrostomy.

I know he has insurance, but...

What difference does insurance make?

"What difference does insurance make?"

This must be the generation gap.

You know, it's these HMOs
that have confused the issue.

If the patient were part of an HMO
then I could understand your dilemma.

With those babies we get paid
- not- to perform medical procedures.

It's a little like when the government
pays the farmers not to grow crops.

But with insurance we get paid
- to- perform medical procedures.

Do you understand the difference?

He's got three insurance companies
paying like clockwork.

Total last month bill,
$ 112,973.32.

What is this?

You always barge into people's offices
without being invited?

You know, you're supposed
to knock first, and then...

- Doctor, it's the bill.
- What bill?

- You asked to see the bill.
- Bill?

- Bed-five.
- What?

He’s comatose.
We're supposed to schedule a gastrostomy.

Well, do it!

My God! I get a cut for every
procedure we do on the guy.

He's got catastrophic health insurance!

My question is...

If you were comatose, would you want
to be keep alive for months by machines?

Hell, no!

When I go, I don't want
to be tortured in some bed.

I have this planned out, Werner.

I'm gonna be sitting on my back porch.

I'm gonna have a Cuban cigar in one hand...

And a big glass of Scotch in the other...


A belly full of barbecued ribs...

With a ton of sauce.

That's why I don't have insurance.

- Really?
- That's right!

And my money is tied up in a trust that forbids
anybody from using it for health care.

- Pretty smart, huh?
- What if you get sick?

If I get sick, no doctor of this planet
is gonna to come ten feet from me.

They talk about a living will.

You don't need a living will.

Just make sure you don't have
money for health care...

And you'll die a happy fellow...

With a big smile on your face, in your own
king size bed.

This poor schmuck in bed five
didn't load up on insurance...

So he could go gently into the good night.

He wanted us to put up a fight...

And he wanted us to be paid in cash.

That's why he bought the insurance
in the first place!

Now, you came in here...

Oh! You were looking for season tickets.
Am I wrong?

To what? Hockey!

I'll get you one game.
One seat, one game.

What do you want to see?

The Red Pete?

- Don't you need that?
- I'm fine.

I can't do hockey for you.

Would you like to see
"Beauty and the Beast?"

I can get you one seat.

The guy who plays the beast
is a patient.

Tough day?

I just left a meeting with Butz.

I thought you were smarter than that.

What's Poindexter doing here?

He was assigned here.

Some kind of legal brew-ha-ha going on.

I want to make sure bed five doesn't go
down that drain he's been circling.

Yeah Wilson warned me.

Wilson and Butz.
You ain't having a good day.

Hofstadter talks to me about
a spot with him next year.

So you're going with the robodoctor
to practice medicine in cyberspace?

It's the coming
age for medicine.

"I have seen the
enemy and he is us."

Tried to talk Butz into making
bed 5 no code.


I don't know what to do.
Butz wants a gastrostomy.

What are you gonna do?

I don't have much choice.

I will schedule bed 5 for a gastrostomy
as soon as possible.

You're the doctor.

Don't hold that against me.

56 bucks for a pair of these.

I know a tropical fish store selling
the same stuff for 1.50.

What is your assessment of this patient?

Him? Don't be a comedian.

- Have you ever asked him to squeeze your hand?
- What for?

Since we're on the subject, maybe
you can tell me why we are...

Dripping thousands of dollars a day
in nutrition medication into him.

People are afraid to die, so they pay us
to keep them in suspended animation.

It's been 112,000 dollars
for him last month alone.

We could've fed and vaccinated every kid
in Brooklyn on this kind of dough.

Dr. Ernst, I'm getting some bizarre
wave forms from the Swan-Ganz.

Yeah... Wait an hour and
give me another strip.

Just after the dopamine.

Oh, someone dropped
this package bag for you.

Your father is in what we call
a persistent vegetative state.

He is always going to be
just the way he is now.

- I'm sorry!
- I love him so much...

Go on...

Hi, this is Felicia!
Leave a message after the beep!

Felicia, what the fuck
are you doing to me?

I mean, where does this
fucking tape come from?

We got to talk and soon, it's important.

I... it's Werner.


- Dr. Ernst. Thank you for coming.
- Thank you.

This is Robert Payne, the hospital
outside counselor on the Potter case.

- Good morning, Dr. Ernst.
- Good morning.

And since Dr. Hofstadter is the hospital chief of
Intensive Care Medicine, I’ve asked him to come.

Please, take a chair.

As Mr. Wilson has told you, I represent
the Medical Center in this litigation.

- Coffee?
- Yes.

I'm also representing you under the terms
of the mutual representation agreement.


This case...

This case is becoming dangerous litigation.

We have discovered...

Another Potter family lawsuit...

Filed two years ago.

Apparently, Constance and Felicia
are half-sisters.

The patient in bed 5 is the father, but
he had Connie with his first wife...

And remarried and had Felicia
with the second wife.



The second wife, that's Felicia's mother...

She was the one with the money.

She set up a trust before she died.

A big trust, more than $10 million dollars.

And that's what the lawsuit
filed two years ago was about.

Who got the money?

That's a little complicated.

Apparently, Felicia's mother liked to
control things, even from the grave.

The interest from the
trust, goes to bed five.

The principal, that's the 10 million,
stays in the trust for five years.

If after 5 years bed 5 has not remarried...

And still alive, he gets the money.

- When are these five years up?
- In about three weeks.

- But he is comatose.
- Right.

He's incompetent, and because he's incompetent
the money becomes part of his estate.

What happens to the money...
if it goes into his estate?

What if he dies before
the three weeks is up?

Well, that's what we all want to know.

This fight between the sisters
might be an honest disagreement...

Or it might be one of them trying to
manipulate the timing of the father's death...

In order to get the money.

Well, that's incredible.



And now...

Something... strange has occurred.

And it puzzles me.

What is that?

We received a subpoena
from Felicia Potter's attorney...

Ordering you to appear
and testify at the hearing.


Now, we don't believe they
would've subpoenaed you...

Unless they thought your testimony
would help their case.

Now, take a few moments
to think of any reason...

Why they might want you as a witness.


Comes to mind.

Dr. Ernst,
this is the beginning of trial preparation.

Before we prepare a case, it is absolutely
essential that we know the truth...

So that we can teach our witnesses to
articulate truth to our best advantage.


You should also be aware that in any
litigation conducted by competent attorneys...

The truth will come out.

- It's only a question of time.
- I understand that.

Now, Dr. Ernst...

Can you think of any reason
that may have prompted...

Felicia Potter's attorney...

To call you as a witness?

Yeah, I...

I just.. I can't..

I don't know what it could be.


This will probably take several hours.

No need for you gentlemen
to sit here.

Was there anything else said by either you or
Ms. Potter that you haven't already told me?

I told you everything at least three times.

- You never advised Felicia against the gastrostomy?
- No.

You never indicated you believed the patient
was in a permanent vegetative state...


Not to anyone?

I told you over and over.
No. Not to anyone.

Dr. Ernst, I don't believe
you are telling me the truth.

- Have you ever been cross-examined?
- No, never.

Cross-examination can be
a very unpleasant experience.

Telling lies successfully
is almost impossible.

Lies change.
The truth does not change.

If an honest witness gets confused...

He need only remember the truth
and cling to it.

A witness who is lying
cannot cling to the truth.

Changes appear.

A good lawyer confronts those changes.

Things get worse.
Panic sets in.

Lying under oath is perjury.
Perjury is a serious crime.

It can be a devastating experience.

- I understand.
- One more thing.

If Felicia Potter's attorney
calls you to testify...

I will be cross-examining you.

Take my card.

It has my phone number,
my office number, my car phone number.

If you think of anything you haven't
told me, call me immediately.

- I will.
- Goodbye, Dr. Ernst.

Hi! This is Felicia.
Leave a message after the beep.

Felicia, it's Werner again...

I just left some interrogation
by a... this lawyer.

And you...

We need to talk.
I mean, if there's a problem...

There's got to be some other
way that we can solve this.

Please call. We have to talk.

Ring Cytology. Have them check the
lymphoid hyperplasia, and get back to me.

Dr. Hofstadter?
Dr. Hofstadter?

- Oh Ernst! What is it?
- That patient in bed 5 in ICU.

You should talk to Dr. Butz. This is
Dr. Hofstadter, let me speak to Dr. Schneider.

- None of this is my fault.
- It doesn't matter.

- It don't?
- Doesn't matter.

Oh! Thank you.

I was so afraid that it was going to hurt
my chances of being on your team.


No, no, no, not until we have the
scan date. All right?


Oh, you won't be on the team, Ernst.

It just doesn't matter whether
it was your fault or not.

Wait a minute, wait a minute!
Nothing has changed since yesterday.

If it was your fault, then you
don't deserve to be on my team.

And if it wasn't your fault,
then you are not lucky...

And I don't want anyone
on my team who isn't lucky.

Schneider, where the hell
have you been?

Dr. Ernst, see Dr. Butz.
See Dr. Butz.


They put me on hold.

Your first lawsuit, and
your first subpoena.

When I heard that, I had to
have you in for a drink.


- No.
- Are you sure?

When those lawyers start
crawling all over you...

That's when you know you're a doctor.

- They had me up on charges, you know?
- Yes, sir.

Don't worry.

We'll fight them.

I fought them before and I won,
did you know that?


I'm being rude.
Here, take some Scotch.

- No.
- Come on!

Dr. Ernst, you are needed
in the emergency room.

Sit, sit.

- Maintenance.
- Somebody paging Dr. Ernst?

- He's not here, Dr. Butz.
- What in hell?

Sit, sit.

- Are you calling Dr. Ernst?
- Yes this is the emergency room.

I'm Dr. Butz. He's with me.
What do you want with us?

Dr. Miller asked us to call him.
We're stuck up down here.

We got a 19 year old with a
potentially severe head injury.

He got turned away from University
because they couldn't get him soon enough..

Does the patient have coverage?

Excuse me?

Coverage! Insurance! An HMO, something!
Is he covered?

I'll check.

They don't even ask about coverage.

I'll tell you right now the guy
is as bare as a baby's ass.

Dr. Butz is on the phone.
He wants to know if he's got coverage.

He's got anything.
He is bare as a baby's behind.

- Dr. Butz?
- This is Dr. Butz.

The patient has no medical coverage.

What a shock.

I bet you thought University Hospital don't know
their best paying people when they see one...

I'm sorry Dr. Butz.

Dr. Ernst is with me, we're in a very important meeting.
It is going to be at least 30 minutes.

- But Dr. Miller said...
- Tell doctor Miller that his head is full of horse shit.

And if he disagrees, slip him in the
MRI machine and look for yourself.

- I can go...
- Sit down!

Sit down!

What's the matter with you?

You work for me.

And if you work for nothing when you
work for me, it means -I- work for nothing.

And I'll be damned
if I gonna work for nothing!

They said it was a potentially
severe head injury.

He's 19.

He's got no medical coverage
and he's some rowdy kid.

What'd you think would happen if I got in my car
one Sunday and drove over to this kid's house...

And said, "Hey, kid,
come next door, cut my grass, and...

If I ever get any money, I'll pay you.

Just send me the bill, kid."

What do you think would happen?

Cutting grass is a little different from
emergency medical care...

I know that.
But it's still a service economy...

And if you want service in a
service economy, you pay for it.

And if you don't pay for service
in a service economy...

You're ruining the whole country.

We provide policemen and firemen.

Who's talking about that?

If we throw off this care every time
somebody whacks him over the head in a...


We're gonna run this
country into the shit!

DR. Miller, I tried to get Dr. Ernst down,
but Dr. Butz took the call.

He started asking if the patient got medical
coverage, then said that Dr. Ernst is too busy.

What do I do?

Call him back and tell Dr. Butz...

That we have a 76 year old man
who's had a stroke.

You tell him that he has major
medical insurance...

Catastrophic insurance -and- Medicare.

And you tell Dr. Butz...

That for that patient
we need Dr. Ernst.

- Are you serious?
- Just do it.

Right away!

Well, we have to bring
this meeting to a close.

They need you in ER.
Give them a hand.


You know...

I was on one of the very first
critical care team.


We developed most of the
basic code blue techniques.

In the Bible, Jesus brought Lazarus
back from the dead...

But He did it only once and...

People were amazed.

We did every day.
Made miracles every single day.

People treated us like gods...

As opposed to overpriced auto mechanics...

Which is all we've become.

You know what,
I forgot to offer your a drink.

- Come on. One scotch.
- No.

No, sure? All right.

Good boy.


Yes, I know.
I know what you want.


- Look at this monitor!
- I thought you were mixing cocktails.

Yeah, I just glanced over at
the console and there it was.

- Did you see that rhythm?
- Yes, sure.

Wow, there it is again.

Torsade de pointes, a particularly
malignant and extremely rare arrhythmia.

I haven't seen it in 5 years.

He's got a pacer taking him
back to normal rhythm.

Right, my money says he codes tonight.

Yeah, he is full code 2.

Who made him that? The family?


Look at that.

Maximum torsade.

- You working tonight?
- No, I'm off in a little while.

- Who's coming?
- Some tech.

- Think they recognize torsade?
- Probably not.

But when he cramps, he'll set off more
alarms than a slot-machine jackpot.

So don't worry. Unless the tech's
blind and deaf they'll call the code.


Felicia? Felicia!

- Felicia I've been trying to reach you the whole day!
- I was busy.

What the fuck are you and your
lawyer trying to do to me?

Guess what? I got a screen test
tomorrow for Desirée Feral Cosmetics.

I'm in deep shit! Your lawyer sent the hospital a
subpoena ordering me to testify at the hearing.

I spent most of the day being
interrogated by the hospital's lawyer.

Oh, my lawyer has just gone
a little overboard.

Overboard? What about that video tape? Did
you just happen have a crew here taping?

- My surveillance system.
- Surv... Am I being taped right now?

Don't worry, I had it disconnected.

You know, I'd forgotten all about it
until my lawyer told me that...

You denied what you said to me.

I just sent it to you as a reminder.

You got to get your lawyer
to stop the subpoena.

I can get kicked out of my residency
program. My career is in jeopardy.

I got so much work to do before tomorrow.
You can watch if you want.

I'm finally dying, so... please!

Go away, leave me alone.

Well, I know you're dying.
That's why I'm here.

- We need to talk about things.
- Like what?

Eternal life and...

Your soul!

You're gonna be making some very crucial
decisions with very lasting repercussions!

I'm here to advise you in that regard.


There is a God...

And an afterlife?

You know, this is the
very best part of my job!

I get to talk to people who, at long last,
know what's important!

The living make such
meaningless distinctions.

How should cut my hair?

What kind of car should I buy?

- Will interest rates go up?
- I don't care about any of that stuff.


All those things:
The products you consumed...

The politics you debated,
the people you knew.

All your life's moments,
big and small...

They are very tiny now.

It leaves just you and me
to talk about your future.

Will I go to heaven?

Will I see God?

Forget about it, you haven't a chance.

But I didn't do anything.

I didn't commit any mortal sins...

- Maybe... Ok, maybe a few little sins.
- Look!

You were supposed to
love God and love your neighbour.

You didn't do either.

You loved your parents.

Big deal.

I wasn't evil or anything.
I didn't hurt anybody.

Why, am I talking to a tyro in here?

Forget about earthly notions of justice...

Where people are talking
about what you did...

We are talking here about divine justice.

Divine justice is based not only on what
you did, but on what you did not do.

And you did not do anything for anybody
unless they could do something for you.

I'm only 23 years.
I never had a spiritual awakening.

I had just left school when this happened.
Give me a break!

Come up with a better defense than
"I'm only 23", I mean...

Reason dawns at the age of seven.

Don't be stupid. Come with me.

My hell's a lot better than
the hell you're in now.

Are you going to drop the subpoena or not?

That was moisturizing.
Now a skin tone concealer...

I don't give a shit
about your moisturizer.

You know my lawyer told me that
the hospital keeps my father alive...

Because they're making
$ 5,000 a day on just...

Hook him to those
machines in that room.

It sounds like something
a lawyer would say.

Well, what do you say?
You never told me what -you- think.

Why don't...

Let people die?
Just for making money off them?

Lawyers are the reason
why they don't let people die.

Doctors and hospitals don't want
to get sued for malpractice.


Everything would be perfect, except
that my father still suffers.

When I wake up in the morning,
he is being suctioned...

And when I have dinner at night, a nurse is
moving around to see if he has bed sores....

And when I go to bed at night,
he's still hooked at that bed to live.

Will you help me?

You're not helping me.

But I could.

I don't want to hurt you.

We could help each other.

How is that?

My lawyer said that...

Even if we win...

The hospital or Connie could appeal.

My lawyer said that most
patients die even before...

The hospital is not going to agree to any withdraw
of life support without a court order. All right?

It's too dangerous . You got a lawyer!

- Connie has got a lawyer!
- I know all that!

So I'm asking you....

If there is a way...

I'm asking you to end my father's life.

Do you mean to kill him?

It would solve your problem too...

Ignore the monitor, I'm just going
to redo his leads.

When is too late for them
to bring you back...

I'll hook you back up again.

I'll call the code.

You can go now...

I love you.

My God, do you know what you're asking
me to do? I can't do that!

It would be so easy for you!

A twist of the dial. I bet you know
hundred ways to do it.


You know, maybe you ought
to look at that tape again.

It's all there.

You're saying that my father is
in a persistent vegetative state...

That I'm right about trying
to stop the gastrostomy...

All of it. And much more!

What are you saying?

I'm blackmailing you.

Natural color... Nobody uses lipstick...


I want you to kill my father.
And if you don't...

I'm gonna give this tape to my lawyer...

And it will be introduced
as evidence... at the hearing...

Along with what you said...

Which should be enough to get you kicked
out of your residence program.

And to seduce me is an
ethical violation as well.

I seduced you?


With my father in the condition he is in?

I've been very emotional!

You shouldn’t have taken advantage
of me while was in such state.

Every woman who sees
this face is going to say:

"I have got to have
Desiree Feral Cosmetics".

And every guy who
sees it has got to say...


Best for everyone if you do it.

This is all about money, isn't it?

I'm just trying to do what my father
would want me to do!

So why now then, why not wait a month?

Why should he suffer needlessly?

Just do it.

Just kill my father or...
I'll end your medical career.

End my medical career?

Do you have any idea what's
taken me to get this far?

- It doesn't matter.
- Doesn't matter?

Ten years of college.

120,000 dollars in tuition.

A year of hell working
as an intern for no money.

Two years as a resident. Still no
money, but the hours are even worse.

110, 120 hours a week.
Never enough sleep...

Never any time for myself.
It doesn't matter?

I bet you want some time alone to think.

I'm really sorry about this...

You know, I hope you make the right decision.
I don't want to hurt you.

What are you doing?

What are you doing?

You are a sick man!

You can't do that!

What are you doing?

I want to be with God.

Want to see God with your record?

No way!

They'll never let you in!
Come with me!

Don't even try!

All right, plonkee.
It's your choice.

I want to be with God.

On the count of three. One, two, three.

Squeeze my hand.

Sir, if you can hear me,
squeeze my hand.

Can you hear me?

If you can hear me, squeeze my hand.

Dr. Ernst, see Mr. Wilson.
See Mr. Wilson.

I thought you'd like to know.

We got the will.

It is a battle between the
half-sisters over money.

What do you mean?

If bed 5 dies before
the five years is up...

Which is in less than three weeks, then
Felicia gets everything.

The all ten million bucks.


If he lives for three weeks, then
the money goes into the estate.


The old man revised his will
two years ago...

Giving total control over his estate
to the eldest daughter Constance.

If he lives, Constance gets everything
and Felicia gets nothing.

Both daughters are after the money.

Cute, huh?

My God!


I should warn you.

Be careful.

Payne is convinced you know
things you're not telling us.

Have you met the new admission in bed 2 ?


I'm going to finish my cranial checks.

Do you think we could
slow code bed five tonight?

No way.

With Poindexter on duty and all
these lawyers sniffing around.

You know one of those daughters had
an outside neurology expert in here today?

He tried to tell us that bed 5 tremors were
purposeful attempts at communication.

Has the color changed?


Hey, relax!

Relax, would you?

If you can hear me, squeeze my hand.

Take it easy. The hospital's neurologist
came in right after the first one...

And said this guy's cerebral cortex
is like cottage cheese.

These tremors...

Are just patterns of disturbance...

Caused by neurological deficits.

- I want both those reports.
- Your time would be better spent sleeping.

That's always true.
I still want the reports.

- Legal has them.
- Have them send a copy.

At any rate, no slow
code for this boy.

Too many lawyers.

Something troubling you, doctor?


Oh! I was just daydreaming.

A teacher once told me:
"Be careful what you dream...

For you shall become as your dream".

Come with me.
I wanna show you something.

Did you know this guy
was a signalman in the navy?

- So?
- So... I...

I started thinking that maybe
his fingers tapping...

Was an attempt to send Morse code.

Is the only way he could still communicate.

That's not possible.

This morning I watched his finger, wondering
what he would be saying if he was sending code.

- Is it a joke?
- No!

It's no joke.

I tried to decipher what he tapped.

I take it's a message.


"If you love me".


That is the message he's been
sending over and over: "if you love me".

Ok, so let's say you
are on to something like...

He's lost all means of communication
except finger tapping...

- Why don't you tap a question and see if he answers.
- I tried that.

I asked him...

If he was sending Morse code.

- And?
- He tapped out: "If you love me".

- Did you ask him anything else?
- Yes!

I asked him if he could hear me.

He ​​tapped out: "If you love me".

Poindexter, vegetating patients have a
narrow range of movement or sound...

They repeat over, and over, and over.

I suppose.

Are you going to chart any of this?

I don't know.
I wanted to talk to you first.

Come with me.
I want to show you something.

Watch this.

Hello, dear.

Who is your favorite president?

- Eisenhower.
- Good, good.

- What is your favorite food?
- Pizza.

- What do you think?
- So far so good.

- Who empties your bedpan for you?
- Eisenhower.

- What is your doctor's last name?
- Pizza.

- What kind of car do you drive?
- Eisenhower.

- What's your dog's name?
- Pizza.

When was the last time anything
in this country made sense?


What's the best medical treatment
known to mankind?

- Pizza!
- Dr. Ernst...

Extension 9041 for an outside call.

- Dr. Ernst.
- This is Robert Payne.

Have you thought of anything else
you want to tell me, Dr. Ernst?

No, nothing.

You're hiding something, Dr. Ernst.

But the truth will come out.
I hope it doesn't crush you when it does.

Do you understand?

Yes, I do.

Dr. Ernst.

Hello, Dr. Ernst!

Don't you want to know how
things went with Desirée Feral?

- Felicia, what do you want?
- I got the job!

Soon you'll be looking at
me from coast to coast.

Well, ain't that swell.
I'm busy. I got to go.

The hearing is today.

You know what you have to do.

Do it.

I'll go get some coffee.

Oh, God!

Excuse me.

Have you been here long?

Have you some indication that is conscious?

That's not so important, is it?

I would comfort him whether
he was conscious or not.

I guess I'm asking you...

These machines can keep people alive...

Technically alive...

For a long time after they are
really, already dead.

What if he is already dead?

It doesn't matter.

If he's dead then, my prayers
and God are with him.

If he's not dead, then my prayers
and God are with him.

But after we die eternity begins...

You made one mistake.

You said "after we die eternity begins".

Eternity has no beginning, it has no end.

Eternity can't come after
life, eternity includes life.

We make eternity, every hour...

Every day, every second.

We choose what our eternity will be.

What about the people in here?
Their life is nothing but suffering.

Are you telling me that
they'll go on suffering forever?


But we all suffer.

Suffering teaches us
to love each another.

When we see others suffer, we love
them and we comfort them...

Because we've suffered and we remember what
it's like to suffer pain or loneliness...

And to have a cool hand
touch our brow.

And to have a person who
loves us for no reason.

Listen to your heart.

Think of this man as your father.

And love him and comfort him.

I feel ashamed.

Perhaps because you used him...

And because you haven't loved him.

But you can change. You can teach yourself
to love what is important.

No matter what we love, it won't be
with us after we die.

Our bodies, our minds,
everything will be gone.

In eternity, I will still be here holding
this man's hand and pray.

You will still be here,
asking me these questions...

And struggling to love me...

And to love this man
and to love yourself.

God will still be here...

And everyone who ever lived
will still be here too.

"If you love me".


It's a question that he asks.

"If you love me".

And what if you did love him?

How would you act towards him?

What would you do for him?

I don't know.

Well, look at this.

Hands-on patient care from the doctor.

I'm impressed.

"Felicia E. Potter, for herself...

And on behalf of her father, Joseph F.
Potter, plaintiffs...

Versus Memorial Hospital
and Medical Center."

And what looks to be a list
of every doctor on the staff...

Plus a couple of John
Does just to be safe...

Everybody's got a copy of this?

Angie, no sense wasting our time.
Just copy this into your notes, okay?

- Mr. Hatchett, why don't you get us started.
- Thank you, Your Honor.

- Excuse me.
- Yes, what is it?

I'm Dr. Ernst. Dr. Werner Ernst.

I'm Judge Fatale.
Are you one of the defendants?

Yes, that's right.

Why don't you sit down
here next to your attorney.

- Mr. Hatchett, let's go.
- Thank you, sir.

Excuse me. I...

Something wrong?

Yes, exactly, something is...

Very very wrong and I
want to talk about it.

This is not a discussion group.
This is a legal hearing.

So why don't you take a seat
down here beside your attorney.

I don't want to sit down next
to my attorney. Listen, I know...

It's a hearing about a man
who's my patient.

Your Honor, I represent Dr. Ernst...

As part of a joint
representation agreement...

Between Memorial Hospital
and Medical Center.

However, if Dr. Ernst is going
to make a statement of his own...

We can no longer represent him.

We've had great concerns about
Dr. Ernst ever since he received...

A subpoena from the plaintiffs.

We are not longer sure whether his interests
in this case are the same as ours.

Dr. Ernst, do you understand
what Mr. Payne just said?


He says if you are going to speak for
yourself he is not going to be your lawyer.

Yes, I want to speak.

I suggest you consult
a lawyer of your own.

I just came from seeing a lawyer.

Your Honor, this is very irregular.

- A most unusual situation.
- I understand that, Mr. Hatchett.

But this is a hearing, not a trial.

All right, Dr. Ernst, let's hear it.

I want to speak here...

I need to speak here, because...

There's a man in bed 5 on
the ninth floor Intensive Care Unit...

And we are the people who should care.


Here are his daughters.

And they should care if
whether this... lawsuit, right?

And of course, each daughter has
a lawyer, I see.

And so what we have here is two daughters
with a totally different idea...

Of what is the best way
to care for father, right?

No, that's not the dispute.
That's not what is going on here.

The fight between these sisters is about
who is going to inherit 10 million dollars.

Your Honor, please. Please.

Sit down, and let him finish.

And here, here we have
this man's doctors...

And the hospital in which he is a patient.

And the doctors and hospital have a lawyer.
And they should all care about the patient

But what they really care about
is patient turnover...

And occupancy rates...

Expensive tests, overpriced
drugs, profits!

Judge Fatale, we warned you, we suspected
this man was hostile to our side.

I understand. I understand.

And here, here we have...

I'm sorry. Who are you?

I am the lawyer for the insurance company.

Insurance! Which insurance?

Malpractice and liability.

I almost forgot about the
insurance companies.

But I don't really need to
say anything about them...

Because nobody ever believes that an
insurance company cares about anything...

Except getting paid the premiums
and honoring as few claims as possible.

I see you don't object.

And then there's me,
one of this doctors, who...

Is concerned about...

Making money...


Getting a new car...

And meeting pretty women.

Becoming a big shot doctor
when I should've been concerned...

I should've cared about this patient,
my patient.

And so here we are.

Family, doctors, lawyers...

Hospitals, insurance men.

Each of us concerned...

Only for ourselves.

Each of us pursuing our own goal.

The only one missing, is the patient.

The only one without a voice
is the patient.

And all of us together,
are the health care system...

A system as collapsed and
comatose and near death...


As Mr. Potter in bed five, 9 ICU.

And we should care.

We should care.

Thank you, Dr. Ernst.

Well, the patient does not
have a voice here...

It is the court's responsibility
to protect his interests.

And to be honest, I'm not
sure whether we hurt or...

Help that situation.

- Mr. Hatchett, are you ready to go?
- Yes, please.

I'm sorry, Your Honor.
This may be an unusual request...

But I'd like the opportunity to
talk to Felicia and Constance.

I feel it's in the best interest of the
patient to find a common ground...

On how to proceed with
caring for their father.

And I think it would be best if
it were just the three of us.

No lawyers.

Gentlemen, gentlemen.

All we can do is loose a little time.

So I suggest we take a half hour break
and let Dr. Ernst talk to the two women.

Has she won you over, Dr. Ernst?

Have you lost your soul?

I don't know Connie. Now you listen to my
proposal and then decide for yourselves.

Oh, you have a proposal,
do you, Dr. Ernst?

Yes, a very simple proposal.

The two of you will sign an agreement...

To equally split the 10 million dollars.

You also each sign releases...

To the hospital, and...

All the doctors.

And finally, each of you will sign
a power of attorney giving me...

Sole and complete authority
for medical decisions about your father.

Any questions?

- You got to be kidding.
- Why would I agree to any of this?

The reason you'll sign is because 5 million
dollars is better than nothing.

If one of you doesn't sign, I'll make
sure that person doesn't get a dime.

Don't forget, I can keep your father
legally alive almost indefinitely.

Actually with modern medical technology
I could probably give a glass of water...

The vital signs necessary
to be legally alive.

And I can end his life any time
I want just by turning a knob.

Why do you want power of attorney
over his medical decisions?

That's my fee.

I get to decide what's best for him.

What if neither of us signs?

Can you really trust each other
not to sneak back and then sign...

In which case, one of you gets nothing.

What if I give the judge this tape?

I get kicked out of my
residency program and I'll...

Be a doctor who doesn't have
prestige or make much money...

Also, your father will have
vital signs for a very long time...

And Connie will get 10 million dollars.

What about tell the judge what you
just said about killing my father?

I can get a restraining order
to keep you away.

You could.

But by then your father
will already be dead.

You're not winning.

Not this time, Felicia.

Being younger and prettier
isn't enough this time.


You forgot your Bible.

If it were any good...

I would've gotten all the money.

It's half or nothing, your choice.


I love your makeup.



Everything I believe in, is to fight for life, to
attack pain and disease and hope for recovery.

Have faith in life.

I have been taught we must fight death to death,
defeat death at any cost.

Death is the...


Never surrender.

He won't last without the ventilator.

I know that.

Didn't really solve anything, you know.

This patient will be gone when
you come back tomorrow...

But there will be a new patient in his place
and everything else will be the same.

Disease, injury, old age.

All the same old problems will be here.

Hofstadter, Butz.

It will all be the same..

No, it won't.


How could it? Tomorrow is the start
of the National Pickle Week.

Don't touch him!

- Stand up.
- Just leave him alone!

Take care.

- Buster, what's your name?
- Mike.

Mike, can you move your toes
for me Mike?

- Yeah
- Yeah?

Good. Good.

Ernst! Stay away from him!

You wanna get sued again?

Damn it, make sure he's got insurance!

Better ask him for
proof of insurance!

Haven't you learned anything from me?

Are you a doctor?

Yeah, I'm a doctor.