The doctors might be dealing with matters of life and death, but Sharon has the hardest job on Chicago Med.
As Head of Patient and Medical Services, it's her responsibility to weigh risks, settle conflicts between doctors, and approve or disapprove of controversial and expensive procedures.
And on Chicago Med Season 6 Episode 4, her first day back in her office was particularly tough. Dr. Charles might have been thrilled to have her back, but I doubt anyone else was!
Sharon is used to making tough decisions, but COVID-era problems have made her job even tougher, and she got surprisingly emotional while talking to Nat and Marcel.
Sharon: This virus is still killing people, and there are thousands like Isabella who have had their treatment interrupted. I wish I could save every patient, but the reality is there are some we just can't save.
Marcel: The world really sucks right now.
She sided with Dr. Gillan, who wanted to eschew surgery in favor of a chemotherapy regimen that was unlikely to work for a patient who had cancer pretty much all over the lower half of her body.
It was a difficult decision because Sharon had to look at things like cost-benefit analyses and whether anything was likely to save the patient's life, while Nat and Marcel were looking at the patient as a human being who they felt deserved a chance at living more than 21 years even if surgery was a long shot.
I liked Sharon showing a human side, too, during this debate. Hospital administrators have to make decisions based on cold, hard numbers, but she wasn't a robot or a heartless person.
So, of course, she got emotional. It's been a rough year for everyone, especially health care workers, who have seen the many ways COVID-19 ravages people's bodies and leaves hospitals helpless to fix things for them.
That was the other thing that I loved about this storyline.
Everyone knows the statistics on COVID-19 deaths, but there's very little media coverage given to its corollary: people whose deaths would have been preventable if only they'd gotten treatment earlier but who avoided it because of fear of exposure to the deadly virus.
And as Sharon said, Isabella was far from the only one in that situation. In her opinion, the hospital was just as powerless in Isabella's case as in the severest COVID cases.
Of course, we all knew that Marcel wasn't going to accept that decision easily.
In some ways, his refusal to go along with the approved protocol was unrealistic. I doubt doctors can book an OR and operate on a patient they have been told not to treat surgically in real life.
But it's a comforting fantasy nevertheless. Who among us wouldn't want a Will Halstead or Crockett Marcel defying all the rules to get us the best care possible if we were seriously ill and possibly facing death?
And storywise, I couldn't help rooting for Nat and Marcel. Gillan was obnoxious, and while I understood her medical opinion, I didn't understand why she was so furious that Marcel didn't go along with it.
She seemed to take it personally as if Marcel was undermining her as a doctor. It came off as very power-trippish and made it difficult to tolerate her presence on-screen.
Demanding the two be fired seemed to be over the top. I wasn't surprised that Sharon toed the line between intense anger at her doctors for not following instructions and pride that they did an experimental surgery that saved a young woman's life.
And that was far from the only thing Sharon had to deal with, too.
Choi's conflict with Charles never reached her desk, but it easily could have. But she did have to address Maggie's concerns about Augie and give her terrible news about his chances of getting a new liver.
She was two-for-two in having to deliver horrendous news about terminally ill patients. It had to be one of her worst days on the job.
And wait till she finds out what Will did, which I guarantee is coming.
While Will sounded ridiculous lecturing anyone about ethics, considering the number of times he's broken protocol and treated patients against their wishes, I was disappointed that he gave in to Mayfield.
Mayfield: That helps your hospital. Now let's talk about mine. How's 30% sound?
Will: 30% of what?
Mayfield: Your patient enrollment fee.
Will: A kickback?
Mayfield: You could call it that. I call it a quid pro quo.
Will: Call it what you want. It's unethical and I won't do it.
April was right: Will shouldn't partner with anyone who was just in it for the money, especially not someone willing to bend ethical rules to get what he wants.
There had to be a better way to get participants for the trial.
I'm not sure Will even has the authority to give Mayfield part of the enrollment fees, but what I AM sure of is that this is going to come back to bite him and possibly put the entire trial at risk.
Elsewhere, was anyone surprised that Choi thought he knew better than Charles whether Dr. Lowdry needed a psychiatric hold?
Choi is one of my least favorite characters because he always thinks he's right. He's ruined quite a few patients' lives by insisting it's "unethical" to keep their confidence or follow the prescribed course of treatment.
Will doesn't listen any better than Choi does, of course, but at least Will is likable!
Choi has always come off as a controlling ass who doesn't care how his actions affect the patient as long as he gets to do what he wants.
He's such a know-it-all that I'm surprised he balked at Lowry's suggestion that Choi does surgery even though he isn't any kind of surgeon, plastic or otherwise.
So it was natural that Choi thought he should go over Charles' head to the medical board to restrain a patient that the doctor trained in psychiatry said did not need to be restrained.
I loved Charles putting Choi in his place. It's about time someone did.
Of course, then Chicago Med played the sympathy card, trying to link Choi's behavior to his PTSD and his need for perfection. But while he may have had solid motivations for his behavior, those issues didn't make him any more rootable than before.
The only thing more cringe-worthy than Choi's supercilious attitude was Marcel and Nat having sex.
Nat knows Marcel fears commitment and that this is likely to be nothing but a one-night stand. And even if that weren't the case, this seems like an impulsive, bad idea.
Either Nat's going to get her heart broken again, or someone's going to complain about their relationship to Sharon or both.
Your turn, Chicago Med fanatics!
Do you think I'm too hard on Choi? Do you think Marcel and Nat made the right decision? And what do you think was the hardest part of Sharon's first day back at work?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know.
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Chicago Med airs on Wednesdays at 8 PM EST/PST.