Season 2 Episode 1

Decision a.k.a. Problem

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Sep 16, 1972 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (1)

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  • Roy considers leaving the paramedic program after facing doubt and criticism when a trauma patient in his care dies after a rescue.

    This episode ranks as a classic in the Emergency! storyline because it exposes the real growing pains that threatened the paramedic program a year after its introduction. A good firefighter is taught to use his training along with judgment of a situation to make what is sometimes a snap decision to save property, or more importantly the life of himself, his partner, or a victim.
    Roy did exactly that when the patient went into convulsions and cardiac arrest in the back of the ambulance, and started lifesaving treatment even though Rampart was not available by radio to OK it as was the procedure. The patient subsequently dies at Rampart of his injuries and the patient\'s doctor starts criticizing Roy and Brackett about the rescue and the wisdom of using paramedics out in the field. Brackett, initially wary of the paramedic program (see the pilot episode) defends Roy because he believes that Roy did his best in a difficult situation and he believed in the training that paramedics receive.
    Roy, however, is stricken with doubt about the incident, and even considers leaving the paramedic program and joining an engine company again. Brackett explains to Roy that there was nothing to do to save the victim, despite everyone\'s efforts, and what happened was not his fault. \"If you leave\" Brackett said \"there will be another man who will replace you. And you have to ask, can he do the job better than I can?\"
    Meanwhile, everything comes full circle when the doctor who was criticizing Roy and Brackett is with a third doctor who has a heart attack at Rampart. Brackett, the doubting doctor, and several others work on the cardiac case but cannot save him. The doubting doctor sees this as an example of how despite the best resources, patients do die, and eventually, and somewhat begrudgingly, apologizes to Brackett.
    It is not until the end of the episode that we know for sure if Roy is staying or going. Johnny asks him if he\'s quitting the program, Roy hesitates then said with a smile that the night before he made up his mind to stick it out, thanks to Brackett\'s talk.
    This episode is a classic and a favorite because it illustrates how fragile the program really was at one time, and how much doubt it had to overcome from the medical community.