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3.23 Going Gently – 17/4/01

S3 E23 (17 Apr 01) : Going Gently by Dan Sefton

Episode Summary

Professor Alan Fletcher is delivering a lecture. Meyer comes in and sits at the back.

Sam complains to Alex about Matt Jones, a drug addict who is wanting some methadone. Alex shows off his syringe-alike pen, which causes Sam to make a comment about simple minds… Alex tells her that Professor Fletcher is coming in to replace Meyer while he is on holiday.

Professor Fletcher arrives and introduces himself to Alex and Sam.

Guy is examining a child patient, Billy McEwan with glass stuck in his face. He tells him a story about a previous patient. Victoria tells him the case history and Guy decides to operate. They decide to meet at Victoria’s place that evening. Keri asks about the romance and the pair have a girly giggle.

On their ward round, Alex, Sam and Alan meet Matt Jones, who is still asking for methadone. Sam tells him he isn’t due it until later. Professor Fletcher asks if he is going to have an HIV test, which he refuses. They move onto the next patient. Sandy asks Alex about the methadone, saying Matt has been “doing her head in.”

Simon Thompson arrives on Otter and is greeted by Keri – he is in for physio. His parents, Terry and Jean, ask to see Doctor Taylor as he leaves.

Graeme Trevellyan arrives – he has been practicing golf on the ward. The professor asks how he is feeling.

Sandy brings Matt his pre-med. He complains about being treated as a ‘junkie’.

The professor suggests to Alex an eco-cardiogram then tells Graeme he’s to rest up.

Sam comments to Alex that Meyer would have bitten Alex’s head off for the minor mistake of missing the eco-test, but Professor Fletcher was friendly about it.

Sandy tells Matt that he should go into a treatment plan. He complains that it’s too hard. He says he doesn’t want the HIV test again. He is taken off into theatre.

Everyone is getting ready in theatre – he tells Alex to start off the operation for him.

Simon’s mother tells Janice that she is pregnant and asks about the possibilities of having Muscular dystrophy: a 1/4 chance of getting it and a 1/4 of being a carrier. Janice tells them that they may test for it. They wonder about an abortion, as they aren’t sure they can cope with another similarly disabled child.

Matt’s operation is overrunning. Alex tells the Professor that they normally use a different sort of stitch – he snaps back that he doesn’t.

Steve finds Simon playing a football game. He asks where his parents are and offers Steve a game (he beat Steve last time).

Julie is trying to get Rosie to speak to Martin but she is reluctant. He gives her a present – a toy boat. He asks about going to the park and taking it to the lake.

Simon has beaten Steve 10-0. He asks Steve what his parents are seeing Janice (“Ginger” as he refers to her!). Steve says he doesn’t know but he says it has nothing to do with Simon. He wonders if she’s pregnant.

In theatre, professor Fletcher is close to finishing – massively over time.

Rosie is reluctant to go out, taking the coat Julie put on her off. Martin asks about forgetting about the trip – Rosie won’t even say goodbye as she goes to her room. Martin asks Julie if she’ll come out with him and Rosie to bridge the gap.

The professor finally finishes and leaves the theatre. The anaesthetist pressures Alex to finish suturing him up quickly.

Simon’s parents return. He asks if it is a boy or girl – saying he worked it out. They are reluctant to responds, telling him it’s early days. Simon’s dad tells him to go home. They tell him about the test.

Alex says he isn’t sure and wonders if it has something to do with the possibility of Matt being HIV-positive – possibly Fletcher being scared. Alex says it looked as if he lost his nerve.

Simon asks what his parents are going to do with the baby. He wonders if they didn’t want to tell him so they could have it terminated – he wonders if they would have had him terminated. He says he will stay in the hospital so they can walk away from it – his mother snaps back that they have had to make so many sacrifices in their lives for him, on the verge of tears as her husband tries to comfort her.

At the lake, Martin launches Rosie’s boat, telling her to hold onto the string for it. They all salute the boat as it sails off.

Steve tells Janice that Simon refuses to leave. Janice offers to put him up for the night and give him some time to think. Simon’s mother says she didn’t mean what she said. The two reluctantly leave.

Rosie’s boat is adrift on the lake! Julie suggests they leave it but Rosie is adamant, so Martin wades in to grab the boat, falling over in the process (which raises a laugh from Rosie). Julie wraps a handkerchief around his grazed hand.

The Professor is operating on Graeme – who now requires a valve replacement.

At Julie’s house, Martin thanks Julie for coming out with him. She offers to put a plaster on his hand. They chat about their jobs and she asks him if he wants to stay around for dinner.

The professor is becoming agitated. Alex says he thinks there is a tear in the pulmonary vein but the professor says it’s nothing and firmly insists that they continue.

Guy arrives at Victoria’s flat. The two kiss and he goes to the bathroom to freshen up.

Matt complains of being in pain after his operation. He tells Sandy that he wants the HIV test after all.

Victoria tells Guy to hurry up. In the bathroom, he takes out a pill bottle and swallows some. Victoria comes in and finds the pill-bottle; they are powerful painkillers.

Sandy leaves, telling Matt he will get his test results in the morning.

Victoria accuses Guy that the drugs he is taking are “Just one step away from heroin.” He dismisses it as being no more than drinking alcohol. She is shocked and tells him to leave.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Fletcher cannot cope and Alex wonders what to do about it. Sam suggests the two of them cover for him but Alex doesn’t think it will work – what happens if someone dies? Alex thinks the best thing to do is report him.

It’s late at night and Simon is playing loud music. Steve angrily bursts in and tells him to turn it off. Simon is angry about the unfairness of his condition and how his parents are treating the situation. Steve asks him to see it from their point of view. Simon complains that it’s not fair.

Martin thanks Julie for the food and makes to leave. The two kiss briefly and then passionately. Jazz arrives and breaks it up, deeply embarrassing Julie. Martin asks if he can call her.

Guy arrives in the morning and tries to talk to Victoria, who blanks him. She asks Alex what he thinks of Guy – he eventually says he doesn’t like him – but Victoria obviously does.

Sandy tells Matt that the test came back negative.

Alex asks to talk to the professor but they are suddenly called away – Graeme needs to be rushed into theatre.

A Matt’ girlfriend arrives and offers him some heroin, which he instantly refuses. He tells her about the result of the HIV test and tells her he is thinking of going off drugs – going into a program. He has thought everything through, even where the money will come from. Sandy comes to check on him and his girlfriend leaves. He asks again about his methadone, Sandy apologises and says she’ll get Sam to give him some.

Guy and Victoria are looking over the little boy from yesterday. He asks to speak with her but she says not to do it there. They discharge the little boy. He asks to speak to her later.

Steve comes in to see Janice and Simon’s parents – he says Simon is finding it difficult and they go to see him.

Sandy apologises to Matt that Sam is in theatre, so he can’t have his methadone.

Simon’s mum and dad apologise to him for yesterday – they ask him to come home. He says he thinks they should have the test for the baby’s Muscular dystrophy. His mother says they will be having the baby, whatever happens.

In theatre, Professor Fletcher is getting short-tempered. The anaesthetist shouts at him that she is unhappy about the way the operation is going and demands how long before they can go on bypass. Alex offers to do the stitching but Fletcher carries on. He drops an instrument, glares at the scrub nurse and shouts “I’ve got control!” He refuses to let Alex take over.

Matt’ girlfriend reappears. Matt is, at this point, desparate for methadone.

In theatre, Alex is starting to take over from the professor, whether he likes it or not. The professor starts to zone out – not doing anything, just listening to the confusing whorl of sounds around him. The beeping of the monitors becomes louder, the voices of those around him fading out. As Graeme starts to improve in Alex’s hands, Fletcher starts to come back. He sees what is happening and slowly walks out, leaving Alex and Sam to do the operation themselves. He looks around, and then walks out of the door.

Jazz asks Julie if Martin has called yet – Julie says she is keeping things low-key for now, which Jazz takes as a no.

Sandy finds Matt unconscious with a syringe by his bed. She calls Sam out of surgery. Alex has finished Graeme’s operation successfully.

Sam examines Matt and Sandy shows him the syringe. Sam administers a counter-injection that brings him around instantly.

Outside of the theatre, Alex sits down heavily and picks up a phone, asking for and outside line.

Victoria comes to see Guy. He apologises for shocking her last night. She accuses him of being an addict. He explains that he takes the pills from time to time to help with the pain – to help him get through a day – not a big deal. Victoria explains she knows – she used to take speed to keep her going. Meyer found out, but decided to keep it quiet – which is why she has to walk away. Guy offers to give up but Victoria says it’s not that simple. Guy tells her he’ll stop because he doesn’t want to lose her – he loves her. He asks for a second chance like Meyer gave her.

Sandy asks Sam about putting Matt on a drugs program – she isn’t ready to commit much to it, and tells Sandy she can if she wants to and tells Sandy it’s not going to work and it’s best not to get involved.

Martin calls for Julie.

Anton arrives to see the professor. Alan congratulates him on having an excellent team, particularly Alex. Meyer asks how Alan has coped: he says they had a couple of tricky cases. Meyer says it his not his policy to allow juniors to take over operations and Alan guesses he has been talking to Alex.

Outside, Anton meets Alex and asks about Graeme. He tells Alex that Alan is unwell and he will be returning early – he also tells him that the matter is closed. “And I hope that you think twice about attempting another coup d’ etat. Unless the idea of Martyrdom holds a particular fascination for you.”

Guy is in the theatre changing rooms, getting dressed to go home. He takes a small bottle of pills out from his locker, looks at it and puts it in his jacket.

Outside, Martin meets Julie with a bunch of flowers. They leave together.

Guy comes to see Victoria. They hug, kiss and walk off.


Matthew Jones (aortic valve replacement, drug addict) – operated on (Fletcher, Adams, Kennedy) successfully. Not HIV-positive. Going into a drug clinic.

Billy McEwan (glass stuck in cheek after accident) – operated on and discharged.

Graeme Trevellyan (damage to heart valve) – operated on (Fletcher, Adams, Kennedy) twice.

Notable Facts

* David Soul, aka ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson of Starsky and Hutch acting excellently with George Irving. Look out for his return in Change of Heart asking Anton to treat his wife. Although it’s all saved up for the end, this episode probes very elegantly the definition of a surgeon.* Will Victoria believe that Guy has given up for good? She should be reporting him, but will she keep it quiet like Meyer did for her.

(Will Watson)

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