Review of The Good Doctor Episode 2 – Plus a Medical Recap

With such a medically focussed episode as their premiere, I guess I wasn’t expecting such a heartfelt one next. The beginning was a slow burn, and then they hit the ball out of the park as the lines straightened out. Like always, the medical side of the episode will be at the end of this article.

Dr vs Dr
Source: American Broadcasting Company for The Good Doctor.

We meet Stephanie, a widowed mother whose son weds next weekend. She comes in with stomach pain, but a scan shows it is a tumor, large and still spreading. It’s also a first look at Dr Shaun’s bedside manner, or lack thereof. We see the childish side of Shaun’s innocence as he asks Mr. Melendez if he was being punished, and when the other doctor says no, Dr. Murphy trust his words at face value. It shows he might understand people at a basic level, but complex interactions, such as bedside manner and being lied to, is not his first thought when talking with people.

I actually really enjoyed Nurse Fryday and Shaun’s interaction, but wished there was more – letting him talk about what he wanted before she cut him off, maybe actually talking with him about diagnosis. I think she might help him grow later in the episodes, if we ever see her return. His conversations with Carrie are also quite a leap in growth, especially when she made him do a proper greeting. These lessons were what Steve often tried to teach his brother.

A lot of the episode seemed to have different storylines – Claire and Jared bumping heads over ethical beliefs of how to take care of Stephanie, Shaun reflecting on the lessons of lying that his younger brother Steve tried to teach him, Shaun working the Scut work and Dr. Glassman and Dr. Melendez bumping heads. But, as the episode takes a turn, the lines straighten, revealing what every doctor’s focus should be – saving lives, even if you go against those above you. Jared claims Shaun’s idea on how to save Steph, Shaun goes to a patient’s home to save the little girl’s life, and Dr. Andrews sides with Dr. Glassman and explains Shaun is a surgeon, not a ‘glorified nurse’. One thing I like is Mr. Melendez might not like Shaun, but he realizes that Dr. Murphy does have a drive, and sent on a mission, like getting a biopsy rushed, the boy will do ask he is told. Even at the cost of a window.

I am very excited they are showing more and more of Shaun’s past, even if the storyline isn’t the happiest. It shows how he listens to others, even now, and is constantly adjusting. One thing I wonder is – will their father return? How will the team react to an abusive man facing up against one of their own? I actually hope this plays out, and Mr. Melendez steps in to protect Shaun. I also think Jared is jealous of Shaun, which is why he never mentioned where the idea came from. Either way, the story line is still interesting, I cannot wait until next week. Stay shiny!

Martine
Source: American Broadcasting Company for The Good Doctor.

MEDICAL TIME! Get your stethoscopes ready! Let’s dive into the medical side of this episode. Let’s focus on the two biggest cases – Steph and little Martine. With Steph, she has sarcoma, a cancer from transformed cells of mesenchymal, or mucous connective tissue or mucoid connective tissue. In the scan, the machine takes little images, and stacks them on one another. Because of Shaun’s autism, he can layer them in his mind, and see the whole picture, while the others can only see pieces. Because of this, he understands the actual size of the cancerous tumor. Instead, the doctors get their first good look during the laparotomy, or a surgery that cuts into the abdominal cavity. The reason why the doctor seems a bit nervous, if you remember last article, the aorta is one of the two large arteries that run our circulatory system. Accidentally cutting into it might lead to a bleed out and death.

A biopsy is a a sample of tissue taken from the body in order to examine it better. They send a sarcoma biopsy in, and it turns out to be leiomyosarcoma. This is important because they are determining where the cancerous cells are coming from. If they are from a different area, they can cut it out, but if it is tied into the organ surrounded by the tumor, it will literally grow from that point, making a cut-out extremely difficult. Leiomyosarcoma comes from smooth tissues, like the heart and other involuntary muscles. Meaning, the tumor most likely started in her heart or around it and is connected.

Oddly enough, the body can run on missing organs. Yes, it can be an added stressor, and with some bad habits like drinking and smoking, it can be fatal for running the body on one organ when it usually requires two. That is why Claire is a bit hung up about the loss of a perfectly good organ. Hopefully Stephanie is an organ donor. Luckily, the surgery left no ill effects, though it is early and we only saw her just waking up in the end.

look down
Source: American Broadcasting Company for The Good Doctor.

Onto Little Martine. With a stomach ache, her parents bickering, and Nurse Fryday trying to clear out every patient, this could have gone bad if Dr. Murphy did not have clear thinking on the issue. Because of this, he figured out she had intestinal malrotation. It translates just as it reads – intestine bad rotation. The intestines, both large and small, are a complex singular tube that is packed in the lower abdomen. The large intestine is about 5 feet, small is 20. Sometimes, the organs twist, and wrap around one another. Bowel and digestion is needed in life, but with a twist, the digestive function cannot continue, and lack of blood can kill off the organ piece. What makes the issue even more pressing is the organ wrapped around an artery, which as we knows supplies blood to a lot of the body. Luckily, Shaun caught it in time. I hope someday we can see him perform a surgery. See you next episode, stay shiny!

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Author: Sterling Gray

Red haired, green eyed Southern girl with an Irish flair. Intelligence only rivaled by my curiosity.

One thought

  1. Hi, I’m a 15-year survivor of leiomyosarcoma (LMS) and a longtime patient advocate. I had to check on this because some others thought the story might be based on Brooke Zepp, a friend who had an amazing surgery. (She can be Googled.) I’m going to have to watch this episode to see all the things they got wrong. As with all medical shows, it’s ridiculous that one doctor treats everything. In the sarcoma world, we’ve worked so hard to get patients to go to sarcoma specialists that shows like this undermine our work. But TV writers like rare diseases because it’s easier for them to make stuff up without people realizing how ridiculous it is. In your write-up, you might want to delete the part about mucoid. It’s correct that sarcoma is a cancer of connective tissue. That’s usually broken down into soft-tissue and bone sarcomas. As you noted, LMS occurs in smooth muscle, with the uterus one of the most common sites. As you know, smooth muscle is considered soft tissue. In more rare cases, LMS can arise in bone. If this character’s LMS arose in her stomach or GI tract, she should have been tested for a C-Kit mutation right away. Most of what we used to call GI LMS is now considered gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). Multi-modal imaging should give regular doctors a good idea about the tumor size. I hope the doctors got the results of the biopsy while she was still on the table. I’m not sure what you mean about the biopsy telling them where the LMS started. Blood vessels have smooth muscle. So, LMS can start anywhere there are blood vessels. Surgeons often have to cut around organs to get cancer out. (Sorry, I probably shouldn’t comment on this part until I watch the episode.) I hope the episode didn’t act like the patient was cured.

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