Another week, another social justice crusade on the NBC medical drama New Amsterdam. This time, it’s global warming, which, according to the show, “means human suffering on a scale that we can’t even imagine.”
On Tuesday night’s episode, “Pressure Drop,” Medical Director Dr. Max Goodwin’s (Ryan Eggold) announces to Dr. Lauren Bloom (Janet Montgomery), “I’m gonna fix global warming… at New Amsterdam!”
But Max discovers how difficult this is when (shocker) no one likes his ridiculous harebrained ideas, starting with limiting entire departments to one box of exam gloves a day during a pandemic “[b]ecause global warming is a healthcare emergency” (click “expand”):
Max: Melting polar ice caps, deforestation, temperatures are expected to rise at least ten degrees in the next century, and the people in charge of solving this can’t even agree that it’s real. So now it’s up to us.
Mike: The radiology department?
Max: Because global warming is a healthcare emergency. Who do you think’s gonna bear the brunt of unchecked wildfires, mass migration, toxic algae blooms?
Nurse 1: The radiology department?
Max: Hospitals. So here, today, together, the people in this room are gonna take up the fight against global warming. Now, I would like to debut my new flagship program… “The Gloves Are Off.”
Mike: Wait, literally?
Max: Yeah, literally. Single-use latex gloves account for 20% of our medical waste. Do you know where that waste ends up, Mike?
Mike: We need to wear gloves, Dr. Goodwin.
Max: Wrong answer. On a barge, Mike. It ends up on a barge. I also would have accepted “in our oceans.” So we are all gonna try something new. We are only gonna get one box of gloves per day.
Nurse 1: Per person?
Max: Wrong again. For the entire department.
Nurse 1: What about infectious patients?
Max: Well, that’s why I chose radiology. Your patients are already diagnosed. Nobody needs gloves to simply walk a patient into an MRI.
Mike: But gloves are how we protect ourselves – from, you know, germs.
Max: Uh-huh. But handwashing is undeniably more effective, which is why every scrubs station and bathroom on this floor has been stocked with extra biodegradable soap. Now, who’s ready to save this planet? Say it with me, guys. The gloves are… The gloves are…
Max: Thank you, Jerry.
Max rightly looks like a global warming fanatic, exaggerating even the worst-case scenario predictions and claiming, “It’s now or, quite literally, never.” And yet he persists, throwing out one dumb idea after another that has the hospital up in arms and getting bogged down on a theoretical future catastrophe at the expense of emergencies here and now. Even his woke staff have to give him a reality check.
Lauren: I asked you for help this morning, and you have done absolutely nothing.
Max: I’ve been trying to make changes all day.
Lauren: To combat climate change.
Lauren: I asked you for help in my ED, Max.
Max: And my changes would significantly reduce your patient load.
Lauren: Years from now, not today. My ED is coding today.
Max: Okay, so when do we make changes? You tell me. We run 24/7. There’s never gonna be a good time to change the lightbulbs, or try a new policy, or do anything of any consequence. We all say that we wanna fight climate change, just not like this. Do you know what “not like this” means? It means never, and never means a lot of patients. It means human suffering on a scale that we can’t even imagine.
Max: No, we can be a model for other hospitals in New York, for the country, the world if we can cement one single change.
Lauren: Enough! I am running an emergency department, not an environmental think tank. I don’t care about my carbon footprint, or yours, or this hospital’s. I don’t care how many gloves I use, or how many syringes I toss, or my emissions. I care about the patients in this ED lining these hallways and waiting in ambulances halfway around the damn block. So stop making changes that are gonna help people a hundred years in the future, and get me more staff, more beds, and a second triage unit, so we can start helping people right now.
But, of course, Max gets the wrong message from that spiel and decides the best thing to do is “upset everyone” at the same time so it will “suck” for everybody and “we’ll all hate it together.” Finally, some honesty about the climate change agenda!
Max: I owe you an apology. I came in here this morning thinking that I could make changes without disrupting your lives. Clearly, I was wrong. So I’m gonna try something else. I’m gonna disrupt your lives on purpose. We’re all in favor of change right up until the moment it makes us uncomfortable. So we’re going King Solomon here. Since I can’t implement any changes without upsetting someone, I’m gonna implement all of my changes at once and upset everyone.
Lauren: I didn’t think it could get any worse.
Max: That’s what they said about climate change. I’m asking everyone to be annoyed, inconvenienced, uncomfortable. It will unquestionably suck, but doing nothing is worse. So we’ll all put up with the lightbulbs and the fewer gloves. And the surgeons will say goodbye to single-use scalpels, and the anesthesiologists will account for their greenhouse gasses. We will all dig a little deeper, and cope with a leafy salad because if we want any chance of a better future for our kids, there is only one move left: Suck it up and get it done. The only thing I can promise is that we’ll all hate it together.
Lauren: Annoying, but inspired.
Max: You know, I get that a lot.
Lauren: So what ridiculous name are we calling this program?
Max: Our last chance.
In other woke news, last week, Lauren decided that suddenly, in her late 20s or early 30s, she’s a lesbian (so much for all that “born this way” propaganda and claims that the term “sexual preference” is offensive). After a week off canoodling with her new girlfriend, she becomes noticeably nicer to her staff. So, I guess the message is that straight people are uptight and a week of lesbian sex makes one a nicer person.
Can’t wait to see what new woke emergency New Amsterdam wheels in for us next week.
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