Back at County, Benton works on a trauma, assisted by Dr. Dave and Haleh. Apparently they need the bypass team. Dr. Dave removes a big gauze pad from the patient's chest to reveal a pencil sticking straight out. Ow. Ow. And with every breath the guy takes, it's waving back and forth! OW! Dr. Dave dorks, "Somebody stabbed him?" and Doris deadpans, "No, he tripped near a pencil sharpener." The woman who apparently accompanied him adds, "Mr. Zuckerman, our office manager, wanted to pull it out, but I wouldn't let him!" Yes, yes, purple heart of valour in the face of office-supply-related mayhem for you, get out. Mr. Pencil has decreased breath sounds on the left, and Benton calls for someone to set him up for a chest tube...blah blah blah, this scene has no purpose except for Benton to get ready to cut, only to have Romano swoop in and remind him that he can't. So...then that happens. And Benton is sad. Then he goes out in the hall, where a patient vomits on him. And he's sadder. Along comes John "Martyr" Carter, cracking up that he'd heard Benton was an ER attending that day, but didn't believe it. Benton's in no mood, and asks Carter to get him some gloves. Benton asks Carter whether he wants the puker; not surprisingly, Carter takes a pass.
Carter, it seems, has his own patient -- a kid named Trent. The actor who plays him, Blake Heron, was also in the HBO original movie Cheaters, which was set in Chicago but filmed in Toronto. Coincidence? Many of the actors in it were represented by the agency for which the girlfriend of The Man from F.U.N.K.L.E. works. COINCIDENCE? Anyway, Trent was carving a duck in Art class when he cut his hand, and needs stitches. Trent asks Carter how many stitches he'll need, and Carter asks, "How many d'you want?" Trent asks for "enough to get [him] out of Art class." Chuny sticks her head in to ask Carter to step out. Carter tells her he will once he's sutured Trent's arm, and Chuny tells him it's urgent.
In the hall, Chuny informs Carter that Trent's grandmother is there, and that she wants to talk to him. Carter tells Chuny just to bring her in while he's working on Trent, and Chuny explains that Trent's grandmother specifically asked to speak with Carter in private. Chuny points her out, and Carter introduces himself. I came as soon as I could. It's only a few stitches. Oh, good. She takes Carter aside and gravely tells him that there's something he needs to know: "Trent's mother died of AIDS when he was two. He tested HIV-positive. You need to be careful." Carter, taken aback, squeals, "He didn't say anything!" TrentGrams shrugs, "He doesn't know. We never told him." Uh, what? "What?" Carter asks. TrentGrams says, "We just wanted him to be normal, like other kids." Carter crosses his arms and adopts a stern mien: "What do you tell him about the medications?" TrentGrams says that Trent thinks he has a vitamin deficiency. Carter challenges, "And your doctor plays along with that?" TrentGrams's face falls, and she shrugs again, "Well, he understands." Carter does that thing where he's trying to be patient, but he's pretty sure he's right, and kind of smirks -- like he's amused to regard her from high atop the moral high ground -- and declares, "Trent needs to know." TrentGrams agrees: "Yes. When he's older -- when he can better understand." Carter points out that Trent could be sexually active, and TrentGrams, with the certainty of willful ignorance, patiently tells Carter, "He's not. I've asked him." Carter asks, "Are you sure that he's telling you the truth?" A fair question, since most sixteen-year-olds are not in the habit of shooting the shit about their sex lives with their grandmas. You know, generally speaking. But TrentGrams gets affronted, and draws herself up to say, "Doctor, I know my grandson. You don't." Carter tells her that he has "a legal right" to tell Trent that he's HIV-positive. Which is an odd way to phrase it, in my opinion. Carter's saying it's his right, under the law, like it's a perk of the job, as opposed to his saying he has "a legal obligation" to tell Trent, and thus protect his life. Hey, wasn't there just one hair here before? Oh, I see what happened -- I split it, as if in two. Anyway, TrentGrams is good and mad now: "You have no right to interfere in our lives!" Carter tells her that HIV is sexually transmitted, "and if he's having unprotected sex, he could be putting others at risk." TrentGrams shirtily declares that she'll be taking Trent elsewhere, and makes for Trent's exam room, but Carter blocks her and says that Trent can't leave. TrentGrams pushes it, and Carter calls over a security guard! Niiiice. ["It's even nicer when you notice that the security guard is played by the omnipresent Sergeant Buttinsky from 7th Heaven." -- Sars] TrentGrams warns the security guard not to touch her, and begs Carter, "Don't do this." Carter's like, "Yeah, right. Have fun in chairs." Hey, isn't it funny that Carter, a boy raised by a protective grandmother, would cross paths with a boy raised by a protective grandmother? That's some parallel they've got going there. I'm not even sure I know what its purpose is. Except that I do. I get it. I think we all get it. Right? Can I see a show of hands? Thought so.