Danvers leads Elizabeth and Matt Craven into an even more plush-looking library and offers the court reporter a familiar greeting. He draws Elizabeth's attention to the videocamera by telling her to ignore it. Danvers continues being all Chatty Chatterson about the car accident that delayed his arrival to the meeting. Elizabeth is sworn in (and she seems either rattled or relieved that there's no Bible on which to swear). Danvers asks her to spell her name for the record, and asks how long she's been a surgeon. She says it's been ten years. He asks her if she's ever been deposed before and she tells him she hasn't. Danvers notes, "After ten years, that's pretty good." She replies, "Well, only three have been in America." "Touché," says Danvers. Yeah, what a wit! Americans sure are litigious, right? Whatever.
Finch and Dr. Dave examine Braids in a trauma room. Finch tells Braids that she'll need to remove her pants, and Braids is adamant that she not: "It's just my face!" Finch glances outside and sees Peter "Deep Knee" Benton loitering in the hall. She goes out and tells him there's a patient with a hernia for him to examine, and he says he will, "after the assault victim." Totally blank, as ever, Finch says it's probably just a facial fracture, and Benton says that he'll clear the belly. She insists that the patient is stable, whereupon Lisa comes out and says that Braids has blood in her underwear, which she claims is her period. Finch is like, "Nice one," and tells Lisa to get a rape kit. Benton makes to go in, and Finch tells him he shouldn't see Braids: "It's Jesse's girlfriend." Of course, this only steels Benton even more; he takes two steps away, and then charges past her to Braids's bedside. Dr. Dave tells Braids that she didn't crack her skull. Benton roughly throws back the sheet covering Braids and gruffly introduces herself; she tells him she knows who he is. He glances at her face. Dr. Dave -- for once -- slips out unobtrusively upon Benton's appearance. Benton curtly asks Braids whether there's anyone she wants them to call -- her mother, for instance -- and Braids slurs that her mother won't be home. Benton shoots Finch a warning look; she stares back placidly, while millions of applications are processed behind her face plate.
And now, Mark Greene stars in Prognosis: Negative. A man I'm going to assume is a neurosurgeon says, "The ring enhancing legion and central necrosis on MRI was suspicious. The biopsy confirms it." Mark chokes, "Another pathologist should take a look. Could be an astrocytoma." Dr. Death says, "Two neuro specialists have reviewed the slides independently; they concur. It's a GBM." That stands for glioblastoma multiforme, which is most common in patients fifty years of age and older. It's a kind of tumour that most frequently occurs in the cerebral hemispheres and grows as an irregular mass in the white matter of the brain. The prognosis is very poor; the mean survival length, post-diagnosis, is less than a year, with less than 10% survival after two years. (Thanks, Brigham Hospital at Harvard University!) Mark looks stricken, of course, and asks the survival rate in his case; Dr. Death says that, untreated, the rate is eight weeks, but that he can gain six to nine months with radiation treatment. Well, at least he doesn't have to worry about losing his hair! Mark asks, "What about surgery?" and Dr. Death breaks it to him with no preamble at all: "I'm afraid the tumour is inoperable." Mark asks why, and Dr. Death explains (speaking really fast in order to make it as difficult as possible to transcribe), "It looks like it invaded Broca's area. The speech arrest that you were experiencing was probably the result of a focal seizure. Even if we removed the entire tumour, you'd most likely be left with the inability to speak and understand language." "Communication," Mark surmises, steepling his fingers in front of his mouth. Dr. Death clarifies, "More than communication: you'd lose all ability to comprehend, interact with the world around you -- essentially what makes you human. Even if you consented, I wouldn't even consider operating. We'll keep you on Dilantin, three hundred milligrams daily. Do you have disability insurance?" Mark doesn't answer right away, and Dr. Death prompts him, "Dr. Greene?" "Yeah," says Mark. Okay, first, this is my PSA: it's exactly because of stuff like this that it's even more important that you get hooked up with disability insurance than it is that you have life insurance. The likelihood that you'll hurt yourself and linger on, unable to work, is much greater than that you'll be accidentally killed and leave your heirs destitute. You should have both, of course, but -- disability insurance! I'm not on commission! Get some! Second, I'm experiencing intense option paralysis, here. I can't decide which is more appealing: a Mark who can't talk and is barely human, or a Mark that's dead like a doornail. Oh, and, happy holidays!