By Anna Bennett
Even though March 12th is World Kidney Day, March really is World Kidney Month. We are seeing mainstream press write about dialysis, kidney failure and transplant. CKD5 is in in prime time, watched by millions of people who are emotionally attached to the character played by Noah Wyle, Dr. John Carter. In tonight's third episode "What we do" of the Carter is sick story line, he is back, has revealed that he is in kidney failure due to prior trauma and amyloidosis secondary to chronic inflammation from Schistosomiasis. He is back in Chicago, and waiting on the UNOS list for a deceased donor kidney. We covered all of this is our prior posts. (3/7 episode SPOILERS after the jump)
Tonight, Carter passed out while treating patients in the ER. As his coworkers treat him, more people are now aware of his condition. His incenter runs are 3x a week for 4 hours. (he would have been so much healthier at home on NxStage) Wow, while he is being treated, Carter tells Gates to summon his Nephrologist from another hospital (Northwestern). (Now that can only be on TV)
The John Stamos character, Dr. Tony Gates covers transplant options, questioning the length of the UNOS wait time, offering County's paired donor program in which a non matching donor is matched to another recipient, and that recipient's donor is matched to Dr. Carter - the first of these transplant chains was done in NY.
Dr. Carter could not tell his wife what was going on with him medically. His withdrawal and fear of rejection is common, but it cost him the love and support of the woman he loves. Dialysis is depressing, scary, and some people choose to be scared in silence. But the depression can be treated.
ER is really doing transplant a favor. They are trying to cover a lifetime of disease and waiting in a few episodes. Tonight, the character of Sam Taggert (Linda Cardellini) is waiting for a transplant flight (a heart).
Carter was not able to summon his nephrologist (hah a bit of real life there!) and he is in the stretcher being transferred to NorthWestern.
The show ends with Carter turning off an alarm, and speaking to the camera. I have a feeling that we'll have him around for a while.