REAL OR NOT — CHICAGO MED: “Withdrawal” (1X17)

REAL OR NOT — CHICAGO MED: “Withdrawal” (1X17)

Chicago Med’s latest episode entitled “Withdrawal” is about ethical issues that will make you guess which side to agree with. It starts off with Dr. Ethan Choi saying goodbye to his girlfriend because the latter is leaving for a business trip. A man named Mr. Gleason arrives in the ED due to a leg fracture. He is a known alcoholic and he’s experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Watch for Dr. Halstead and Nurse April as they argue about how to manage this kind of patient. Meanwhile, Dr. Natalie Manning is worried about her missing wedding ring and later on passes out due to stress. On the other hand, a Jehovah’s witness named Frank is brought to the hospital due to a heart attack. A bypass surgery is needed to save his life but unfortunately any surgery which involves a blood transfusion is prohibited by Frank’s religion. You’ll see how Dr. Rhodes and Dr. Downy handle this patient. Lastly, an elderly woman named Rose Wexler is admitted because of agitation and confusion.


  • Mr. and Mrs. McCormick, a couple who are Jehovah’s witnesses. You’ll see in this episode how they affected the decisions of the surgeons.

REAL OR NOT RATING: ★★★★  (1 Being the Worst, 5 Being the Best.) 

REAL– How the real world works:

  1. Having alcohol withdrawal is fatal. Patients who are addicted to alcohol may experience Delirium Tremens (DTs) once they stop drinking alcohol. DT is a severe form of alcohol withdrawal that causes hallucinations, confusions, seizures etc. It is life threatening because patients with DTs develop complications. In this episode, Chicago Med shows the struggle of Mr. Gleason as he presents signs and symptoms of Delirium Tremens.

  2. Blood transfusion being prohibited due to relgious beliefs. Mr. Frank McCormick is a Jehovah’s witness and he is rushed to ED because of a heart attack. He needs a bypass surgery and the safest option is to go on a heart-lung machine but unfortunately, Frank and his wife don’t agree with the procedure, even though the machine would still use his own blood. In reality, Jehovah’s witnesses believe that blood contains the gift of life. Once it leaves the body, it’s already contaminated so any procedures involving administration of blood is prohibited even though they’re putting their lives at risk.

  3. Breaking Jehovah’s rule is the only option to save a life. When Dr. Rhodes and Dr. Downy perform the surgery, Frank is in ventricular fibrillation, a life threatening heart rhythm problem. The only option to revive him is to do the bypass with the heart-lung machine. In this scene, they let his wife see her dying husband and they get her consent before proceeding. Fortunately, Mrs. McCormick agrees even if she’s violating her religious beliefs. In reality, cases like this happen but just like Dr. Downey, he still believes that decisions of a Jehovah’s witness should still be followed and respected.

  4. Administrating alcohol to patients with DT. Nurse April tries to give Mr. Gleason an alcoholic drink but Dr. Halstead stops her because it’s against the hospital’s protocol. In the end, Goodwin breaks protocol and lets Mr. Gleason get a drink. In reality, sometimes, it’s better to break a rule to save a person especially when there’s no other option.

FAKE– Cringe worthy scenes that would never happen:

  1. Doctors let Mrs. McCormick enter the operating room with an incomplete PPE. The fake part is when she removes the mask while her husband’s heart is exposed. Therefore, any harmful micro-organisms from her mouth will be transferred to her husband thus infection is possible.

I'm Heziel, blogging from Manila, Philippines. I've been working as a registered nurse since 2011.