While Elizabeth wraps Joe's head injury and gets ready to ship the old coot up to the OR, Nathan enters to inform Carter that Alison wants to speak with him. "Is she moving air?" he asks. Nathan confirms that she is. Elizabeth wants to send her home with pills and a fresh tank of oxygen. "She's not ready to go," admits Nathan awkwardly. "She wants a consult with the transplant service." This tickles Carter's pissy bone, and he stalks out after Nathan.
"He did it," Big Daddy tells Carter. "He talked her into it." Nathan smiles beatifically and says that Alison merely needed to regain her strength in order to commune with her senses. "She signed a DNR," Carter gapes. "Unsign it, destroy it, I don't care!" Big Daddy insists. "She was upset for a few hours. That doesn't disqualify her from getting a liver, does it?" Carter shakes his head, but reminds Big Daddy that Alison is a lousy candidate. "She wants to keep fighting," avers Big Daddy. Carter's jaw tenses and he pulls Nathan aside so that they can toast his success with a freshly cracked can of whoop-ass.
"What are you doing?" hisses Carter at Nathan. "She didn't have all the facts," Nathan argues. Carter repeats that Alison's chances are incredibly slim, especially because keeping her alive long enough to receive a liver is going to be hard enough. "She's dying. Suffocating. That's her reality," Carter says. "She has a lot of realities," argues Nathan. "Stem-cell research is a reality." Carter's jaw drops, because Nathan just played his Fool card and Carter can't counter it because he left his Tarot deck in his other pants. "It's coming," Nathan swears, referring to stem-cell research, not anything to do with Carter's other pants. "Whether the government approves it or not, it's coming. It can be used to grow any tissue in the human body." Yeah, but...not right now, it can't, and Alison's not knocking on death's door -- she's halfway through it and getting a chain-lock installed. "What, you told her we could grow her new lungs?" Carter sputters. "She's got a genetic disease," Nathan notes. "Stem cells can fix the defect at the genetic level." Carter views him as if he's gone mad. "In fifty years," Carter says. "In five years," Nathan counters. "The science is there if we get past the politics." And it's unfair of him to pretend to a patient that getting past the politics will take anything less than a decade.
Carter is impatient with Nathan's idealism. "Do you know what it took her to face her mortality?" he asks. "I think I do," Nathan says, steely. "And how long it took me to convince her father to accept it," Carter adds. Nathan bristles that Carter's turning this into an issue of his time, rather than the patient's. Carter fires back that Nathan had no right to go in there pushing his agenda onto a patient whose insurance won't cover a prescription pair of rose-colored glasses. "The flowers were an interesting touch," Carter snipes. "Well, you gave her ten minutes," Nathan retorts. And here, I agree with Nathan. Carter went a little heavy on trying to convince the father that Alison had no hope, and he seemed a little too interested in rushing to that diagnosis, however dramatic her wheezing and complicated her history might have been.