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Recap / Bull S 5 E 6 To Save A Life

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Season 5, Episode 6

Directed by Bethany Rooney
Written by Chamblee Smith

To Save a Life

An emergency room doctor is sued for malpractice after she ignored direct orders to save one near-death patient in favor of helping another who was also critically injured.
  • Ensign Newbie: The doctor is initially dismissive of Chunk, who had only officially passed the bar exam recently, taking her case instead of a TAC lawyer more experienced with medical malpractice suits. However, Bull advocates for Chunk, saying that the subject matter isn't as important as Chunk's ability to communicate with a jury. Additionally, Benny is busy running for District Attorney.
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  • Hero-Worshipper: One of the witnesses is another doctor the client worked with, who idolized their boss Dr. Park, and is willing to perjure herself (with unproveable hearsay) to make the client sound worse. It's also revealed later that she made Dr. Park the godfather of her daughter.
  • Hypocrite: While reviewing footage of the night of the incident, TAC discovers that Dr. Park (the one most critical of the client going rogue) showed preference to one particular victim and attended to her needs instead of the more critically-injured. This is due to said victim being his goddaughter, and the daughter of the Hero-Worshipper on the staff. This revelation ends up guaranteeing a win for TAC.
  • Murder by Inaction: The client's coworker claims she heard (and then told the client) that Ryan Watkins, the patient ordered to be saved, may have been the person responsible for the mass shooting that sent so many people to ER that night, and the client could have purposely delayed treating him for this reason. The client claims to not have been informed of this at all, but there's no legal evidence to disprove this hearsay.
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  • Plot Parallel: When Chunk decides to cross-examine a surprise witness instead of listening to Bull and taking a short recess first, even though he's successful, Chunk's derided by Bull for going rogue. The fact that they're defending a client that went rogue even though her actions were morally justified isn't brought up in that conversation.
  • Plot Twist: Discussed. While playing pool with Benny and saying that he's got the case under control, Chunk is warned to avoid a "bank shot"; a witness for the prosecution being called for one matter, only to give a revelation he can't predict. This immediately proves true, when Doctor Park (called to testify what the most ethical choice was) reveals that their client has "gone rogue" and disobeyed orders in the past in the belief that it'll lead to saving lives.
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  • Sadistic Choice: Having to pick which life to save at the cost of the other. The client tried giving the one she was directly ordered to save, Ryan Watkins, a procedure to slow his bleeding so she could operate on another that had worse wounds, but he died by the time the other was in stable condition.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: The client turns out to have a history of this, such as leaving a needle unattended and stuck in a patient while hurrying to take care of another, despite it being a risk and a violation of policy.
  • Shout-Out: The film Sully is mentioned by a juror, when Chunk uses its real-life inspiration as a comparison for how his client made the best possible of bad choices.
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