If you happened to leave the TV on after watching the Eagles dominate the Vikings on Sunday night, you probably got blindsided by the opening scene of Fox’s The Resident.
The new medical drama centers on Conrad Hawkins, a young, idealistic doctor (played by the age-defying Matt Czuchry) confronting a broken health care system in Atlanta. And based on the opening minutes of the pilot episode, the system is very, very broken, because the surgery that unfolds has to be the worst display of medicine I’ve ever witnessed on TV or in a movie. It’s terrifying, tragic, and absolutely ridiculous, so let’s break it down.
“Just one more, I think I got it.”
From the moment we enter Chastain Park Memorial Hospital’s operating room, it’s clear that something is about to go horribly wrong. Dr. Randolph Bell (Bruce Greenwood) is performing an appendectomy to some relaxing classical music — an appropriately laid-back vibe to close out a 30-hour shift. After one nurse declares that it’s her first surgery with Dr. Bell, everyone else forgets the grueling hours of hard work they put in at medical school and the room becomes a red carpet for photo ops. Another nurse quickly jumps in and, naturally, the first attempt at a photo leads to several, including a few selfies — all of which are taking place over this guy’s open body. “He’s out cold,” Dr. Chu says. “He’ll never know.”
For what it’s worth (which is little to nothing), Dr. Bell immediately says that the photo session is “totally inappropriate,” before he proceeds with the surgery on his own. Of course, the guy wakes up, Dr. Bell’s hands start getting twitchy, and all hell breaks loose. (Quick aside: This has apparently happened in real life, which is by far the most troubling discovery of all.)
“He’s so dead.”
Dr. Bell nicks an artery and blood starts gushing onto his mask, and the room goes into full panic mode. Dr. Chu is the only one in the room who reacts immediately, while Dr. Bell (who’s also the chief of surgery) looks on in horror. The selfie nurse switches from photographer to backseat driver, as they scramble to stop the fountain of blood from pouring out onto the floor.
Dr. Bell’s last resort is to save the man by performing CPR — to which the selfie nurse sagely notes: “CPR isn’t going to put all that blood back into his body.” The patient goes flatline, and Dr. Bell and Co. are left with a pivotal decision to make.
“Maybe he had a heart attack?”
What’s more disconcerting than the carelessness of the surgery itself is the cover-up that follows. Dr. Bell nearly floors himself after killing the patient, as he slips around in all the spilled blood. There’s a brief moment of shock and grief, before he looks around and remembers that he’s the man in charge and he can do whatever the hell he wants. Dr. Bell asks his fellow doctors what they saw — because they definitely didn’t see Dr. Bell kill this guy as they were all taking photos — and one nurse brilliantly proposes that the patient suffered from an untimely heart attack. There was no way to prevent this, they conclude.
In the scene’s final moments, Dr. Bell notices the selfie nurse back on her own. He asks her: “Who are you calling?” In her most sinister voice, she responds: “I’m erasing the photos, doctor.” As the title screen flashes and the opening credits begin to roll, we hear the familiar strains of Big Sean’s “Bounce Back.” Note its relevant lyrics: “Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back.”
Dr. Bell and his accomplices took some major L’s last night, though not as many as the poor soul on the operating table (or Case Keenum). Won’t the Good Doctor visit and talk some sense into these people?