(Series 13, Ep.24) Considering that this was an episode where beloved-old-cast-member-who’s-been-in-Holby-since-forever Ric Griffin looked death square in the face, it was one of the funniest episodes of Holby I’ve ever seen. Writer Joe Ainsworth got the balance between the high drama, tension and sadness of Ric’s situation and some quite barking mad stuff going on elsewhere absolutely perfect. And he threw in a birth for good measure.
The episode started with a case conference, with Henrik Hanssen attempting to convince the surgical team about a very high risk procedure. There was one member of the team notably absent – Ric Griffin – and that’s because they were talking about him. Hanssen was convinced he could save Ric’s life with an extended right hemihepatectomy. Easy for him to say, I know, but not easy to do, given that statistics suggested a 90% chance of Ric dying on the operating table.
Elliott wasn’t happy. “This is madness,” he said. “No,” replied Hanssen, unflapped as usual. “It’s medicine.” Hanssen was convinced he could do it, but it had to be done quickly. “If we don’t operate immediately, even I will be forced to admit defeat,” he said. Then Ric arrived, not best pleased at being the owner of the tumour under discussion. Waving away Hanssen’s confidence and the “let me at that scalpel” gleam in Jac’s eyes, Ric insisted he wasn’t going to agree to the surgery and would dwindle away in his own time, ta very much.
We’ve seen before that Ric’s stubborn mind can be changed by outside forces, and in this case the outside force was his pregnant daughter Jess. Her husband has left her, so she faced bringing up baby all alone and unsupported. This was motivation enough to get Ric to sign the consent form. He knew the risks, though, and started making a video for the grandson he might never see.
So Hanssen assembled a surgical team, and he needed a CT surgeon. Elliott was having none of it. Sahira was busy doing an operation with Irish Dr Greg and decided this was a good time to assert herself with Hanssen, so she refused to down tools and join him on Keller. Jac had her hands full as well, with a post-operative patient (pericarditis following a Croatian boob job) who’d gone into arrest. So Jac wouldn’t be available, because surely she wouldn’t abandon her patient in favour of some high profile surgery where she might help to save a senior surgeon’s life and deeply impress the man who had the power to grant her a consultancy?
After barely the minimum resuscitation time, Jac decided her patient was a lost cause and left Funny Little Nurse Tait to sort the body out and break the news to the deceased’s husband, while she dashed off to get scrubbed up.
A short while later, Goth Dr Frieda and Boy Valentine were practising their surgical skills on some corpses in the morgue. Not entirely conventional behaviour, but the mortuary staff turned a blind eye, and of course Goth Dr Frieda is perfectly at home with cadavers. A new one was wheeled in, and pretty soon Frieda spotted something odd – it was moving. Apparently Jac’s pericarditis patient was not quite as dead as Jac had assumed.
Back in the operating theatre, Jess had discovered (after seeing Ric’s video for his grandson, which he’d given to Elliott for safekeeping) exactly how risky the surgery was. She begged Elliott to try and stop it, but when it became clear that it was too late, she asked Elliott to go into the theatre and take care of her dad. So Jac was bumped out of the operation in favour of a more senior pair of hands. Obviously this made her cross, and her mood was not improved when she spotted her pericarditis patient apparently alive and well(ish). “Here’s the one you killed earlier,” Frieda said. The formerly dead patient wasn’t one to hold grudges, though, and had quite enjoyed her near-death experience. She saw a bright light, she told Funny Little Nurse Tait, and heard a voice calling her. “It sounded like Barry White.”
Meanwhile Jess had gone into labour, and it was one of those very quick TV labours. “The baby’s coming now,” Chrissie pronounced confidently, though Jess was still wearing leggings at that point so I’m not sure how she could tell. Baby Jake Griffin was delivered safe and well by Jac.
While his grandson was taking his first breaths, Ric was almost taking his last, as things had inevitably gone pear-shaped in theatre. Blood everywhere and lots of the bad beeping sound. Thank goodness, then, that Elliott Hope was there, because where there’s Hope there’s life, and he sorted out the problem and Hanssen managed to remove a tumour the size of a man’s foot from Ric’s abdomen. No wonder he kept saying “Nnngh!” So Ric will be fine, and baby Jake will be fine, once he gets over the shock of the first human face he ever saw being Jac Naylor’s.
With all this going on there was still room for a bit of plot concerning Young Dr Oliver Valentine. Penny sent him a postcard telling him to “tell the truth.” So he started writing a letter of resignation to Michael Spence. But after a day of corpse surgery and reanimation in the morgue with Frieda, he did a neat bit of diagnosis on a woman who ate lightbulbs. “The proper doctor just saved your life,” Frieda told her (this woman had met Frieda before when she was a nurse, and still thought of her as one). Boy Valentine likes being a “proper doctor,” and he deleted his resignation letter. Penny’s not going to be pleased when she gets back.
The episode ended with Ric’s video for his grandson. Life was short, he told him, so you you have to grab it with both hands and hang on tight, “Because, otherwise…”
Next time: Sahira or Jac – who will get the consultancy? (If you don’t want to know, do not look at the BBC Holby website – the link is here but I said don’t! – which goes into way too much detail about next week’s episode. Grrrr).
Posted by PLA (more Holby posts here)