Three Rivers

Season 1 Episode 7

The Luckiest Man

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM Nov 15, 2009 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (9)

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out of 10
73 votes
  • Fabulously heart wrenching episode with Mandy Patinkin at the top of his acting game!

    I love this show and this episode shows how conflicting it can be for Doctor's who procure organs and operate on transplant patients. Mandy Patinkin plays a patient, Victor, who is suffering ALS also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Incurable and fatal. As an organ donor I completely understand the dilemma that some family members have when the finality of a life hits home. The fact that this show does not just concentrate on one story line at a time adds to it's appeal. I cried in this episode, as I do in almost every episode. Very thought provoking series.
  • A man with ALS is fighting a losing battle and decides to go off the machines and end his life, donating his organs to those in need. His daughter and Andy fight the process and bring up the whole dying with dignity argument.

    A wonderful performance by Mandy Patinkin playing Victor Stone the man with ALS highlights this episode. Whether you agree with the premise or not, this is truly a gripping drama that is played out. My father died from a Christopher Reeve type accident eventually succumbing to pneumonia after a very rough nine months. Personally I understand what it means to die with dignity.

    As far as the story goes, they complicated an already complicated story by surrounding this one with a number of other people fighting the noble fight. Specifically a young 22 year old man in need of a new lung or lungs who is the sole provider for his three younger siblings. Also Kuol who is the original reason Victor decides to donate his heart. Kuol's vibrant and positive attitude impressed Victor to the point where he felt he had another option other than living or dying. A very tough subject dealt with in a very interesting way. I'm not sure we really saw how a fight like this would be handled, but the representation was very interesting non the less. This show has turned itself around in the last few episodes. I think it has found itself a nitch. Unfortunately a little too late in the game I'm afraid. Thanks for reading...
  • This is a worrisome episode as it glorifies euthanasia.

    This episode has as its central point the glorification of euthanasia. Since we are living in a time when our government is pressing for health reforms which some say will include "death panels," one wonders whether TV art is being used to manipulate the public into the acceptance of suicide, eventually ending in capitulation to government rule over who is treated or sentenced to death.

    There are those who will say my assessment is far fetched. I refer them to England where this is the current state of affairs. Please see:
    Leslie Burke wants to live; the National Health Service has a second opinion. London (Snip) ...a 45-year-old Englishman, Leslie Burke ... has a progressive neurological disease that may one day deprive him of the ability to swallow. If that happens, Burke wants to receive food and water through a tube. Knowing that Britain's National Health Service (NHS) rations care, Burke sued to ensure that he will not be forced to endure death by dehydration against his wishes.. it turns out, whether Burke lives or dies by dehydration may not be up to him. According to National Health Service treatment guidelines, doctors, rather than patients or their families, have the final say about providing or withholding care.
    Burke won his case at the trial court level ... But the General Medical Council, the medical licensing authority, appealed, joined by the British government... (and the ruling went against him)
    ... the secretary of state for health argued before the Court of Appeal that while patients have the right to refuse life-sustaining treatment, they don't have a corresponding right to receive it. Even though the Burke case does not involve high tech medical procedures--he is not asking for a respirator or kidney dialysis, after all--the government claims that the trial court's ruling undermines the authority of doctors to make the "clinical judgment" about whether a patient's "treatment would be of benefit," based at least in part on the question of "the resources which are available." The right of doctors to exercise such control is "absolutely fundamental to the day-to-day functioning of the NHS." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    For those who say this could never happen in America, let me direct you to The Death Book for Veterans:
    which encourages U.S. veterans to decide that life is not worth living.
    The Death Book for Veterans --


    Last year, bureaucrats at the VA's National Center for Ethics in Health Care advocated a 52-page end-of-life planning document, "Your Life, Your Choices." It was first published in 1997 and later promoted as the VA's preferred living will throughout its vast network of hospitals and nursing homes. After the Bush White House took a look at how this document was treating complex health and moral issues, the VA suspended its use.Unfortunately, under President Obama, the VA has now resuscitated "Your Life, Your Choices."

    Who is the primary author of this workbook? Dr. Robert Pearlman, chief of ethics evaluation for the center, a man who in 1996 advocated for physician-assisted suicide in Vacco v. Quill before the U.S. Supreme Court and is known for his support of health-care rationing.

    "Your Life, Your Choices" presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political "push poll." For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be "not worth living."

    The circumstances listed include ones common among the elderly and disabled: living in a nursing home, being in a wheelchair and not being able to "shake the blues." There is a section which provocatively asks, "Have you ever heard anyone say, 'If I'm a vegetable, pull the plug'?" There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as "I can no longer contribute to my family's well being," "I am a severe financial burden on my family" and that the vet's situation "causes severe emotional burden for my family." (Snip)

    For balance, I strongly suggest that Three Rivers portray Leslie Burke's story with all of the heartache such government interference would inflict. As an alternative production, consider showing a veteran being "pushed" into choosing death.
  • Victor,a car crash victim insists he wants to be taken off the life support machine so that he can help others with his organs, while Andy and Sophia do all they can to save him.

    This was definitely one of the most powerful and thought-provoking episodes I've ever seen on any TV show. Euthanasia (because this is really what it was about) is one of those subjects that primetime TV normally stays away from probably because it is too controversial and volatile so I'm impressed that CBS chose to tackle it head on.

    One thing that really surprised me is how the transplant department's Ethics Committee was so overwhelmingly in favour of allowing Victor to end his own life in order to donate his organs. Isn't that some form of euthanasia that was performed by the doctors, even if Victor did give his consent? It's not like he was dead or even brain dead... I still think the committee made the right decision but that's only because my views on the subject are very liberal and I think that Victor had the right to decide how he didn't want to live his life as a prisoner of his own body. But that's not the way the justice system sees it. Also, I'm no specialist in the way the transplant system works but since there are waiting lists, it really didn't make sense to me that Victor was the one who got to decide to whom he was giving some of his organs. And what were the chances that those people were an exact match? And finally, I want to applaud Mandy Patinkin's performance in the role of Victor, who was a patient suffering from ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's disease. I had only seen Mr. Patinkin in two other roles before that and they were both very similar (on Dead Like Me and Criminal Minds) so it was nice to see the depth of his acting abilities. He was just superb and I really hope he gets nominated for an Emmy next year. What a heart-wrenching performance...
  • Mandy Patinkin great performance

    The show is very real to me. I have pulmonary hypertension like the older brother in the show. I go through many fo the same emotions. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching myself in the show. I thought Mandy Patinkin was fantastic in the show. He was so good that I was wondering if he's not suffering from some illness in real life.
    I was just wondering how many episodes of the show they can write about organ donors and transplant patients. I really like Alex O'Loughlin as an actor. I think it's just a matter of time before he gets a hit show.
  • What a wonderful show. Each episode is very emotionally uplifting. All the actors do superb work. There is a caring there that is not shown in the real world. I hope Three Rivers lasts for many seasons.

    What a great show. Signing an organ donor card while you are still alive and able to make your own choice is a great way to show others you care. Each and every episode is emotionally uplifting. Whether it be a heart or kidney or any other organ that needs to be transplanted there is always the risk of rejection. The actors as doctors show a kind of caring that puts the perspective donor and recipient at ease. That is so refreshing as the medical profession in the real world are cold and uncaring as I can attest to as I have been a patient in hospital many times. It is just really nice to think that maybe there are doctors out there who really do care. Each and every episode is a winner in my books. I hope it will last for many seasons.
  • The 4.0 is for Mandy Patinkin's performance...

    ...the rest of the episode gets a 0.

    I get so agitated to see such liberties taken with such a serious subject matter for the sake of drama. And it's a repeated offense with each successive episode of this series, and of most medical shows for that matter.

    Dr. Lee: well, lets just say I assume a future episode will deal with the subject of his loss of licensure for repeated blatant ethics infringements??

    As for the rest of the story involved with this episode, well, I am not saying that the substrate hasn't occurred in the past and won't occur again in the future, but the TV "resolution"??...just makes the real-life job harder.
  • Best show on T.V I love the show and I sat and cryed my heart out with tonights episode. My sister passed away needing a liver transplant and could not even get on the list due to her insurance. So she died a horrible death.

    I could never imagine what it was like to watch anyone die the way my sister did. I could not believe that a hospital would not do anything to help her. And that just because she had been sick so many times from her diabetes that her insurance would deny her any more treatment. To see a person you love have blood coming out of every opening in their body (their eyes,nose, ears, mouth) was just horrific. And for the hospital staff to not even do a thing for her. I truly believe that if I or anyone else that I love or care about needs any kind of help like that I will take them to find Dr.Gonzo because he is truly the best at what he does. I love this show and will continue to watch it for as long as it airs. The show is great and it is wonderful to know that it is based on a real doctor who actually cares for his patients.
  • Worst show of season. As a former Patient Affairs Committee member with UNOS, the show was not factual and organ donations in US. Organ Donation are so important to our patients and real world happenings would better suit and help more with donations.

    Worst show of season. As a former Patient Affairs Committee member with UNOS, this show was not factual and will hurt the transplant community. Organ Donation is so important to our patients and real world happenings would better suit and help more with donations. Give The Gift of Life in the right way. Patients never are allowed to be as exposed as this man was and the reciepients are not allowed to be in the area where a donor might be unless it is for single kidney or partial livers. Terminal patients are not allowed to choose as this show was about, It was also very upsetting to the ALS patients to see this. Bad Choise of someone who is not informed.