Kingdom Hospital
Goodbye Kiss

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Physician, learn to shut your mouth

Mrs. Klingerman is interested to see exactly what it is Mona can learn. Nurse Carrie Von Trier looks intrigued as well. Dr. Stegman proceeds to step off a cliff, conversationally speaking: "Uhm. There will be…times when she will be able to perform…uh, lots of functions. Uh, um, housework, for example." Even Carrie can't believe she just heard that. Renee asks, "Did you say housework?" Dr. Stegman completely misses the question behind the question -- "Are you enough of a jerk to talk about my lobotomized daughter pushing a broom like it's a good thing?" -- but Stegman answers that anyway: "Yup, yup. The repetitive functions of, of setting a table, for example. And, uh, um, making a bed is fully within her cognitive scope." The camera swings back to Mona, who's making the sitting-still thing look like a Mensa challenge. Stegman's riding a domestic groove here with musing. "Vacuuming will always be beyond her, but --" Nurse Carrie cuts in and begins to say something, but Mrs. Klingerman rides on over her with, "My husband and I have retained the services of a law firm, Dr. Stegman. I'm told they are the best medical malpractice lawyers in the state. Perhaps when they're done with you, you can get a job vacuuming." Stegman looks taken aback at this prospect.

He fumbles, "During the concluding phase of your daughter's brain surgery, we had to remove more healthy brain tissue than we would have liked. That's because we were trying to completely remove the cyst. I was being assisted by a young fellow. I wouldn't call him incompetent. Overzealous, perhaps. A little aggressive, but these things happen in the field of neurosurgery from time to time, but the innuendos that I had --" Carrie looks like she's ten seconds away from joining Mona in her rocking on the bed. Renee cuts in, "Don't be silly! This isn't an innuendo! It's an accusation! You butchered my daughter's brain! And very soon, you'll be facing the same accusation in court. Are you getting all this, [Carrie]? I hope you are." Carrie tries to steer an outraged Dr. Stegman out of the room, but he begins blustering, "Medical malpractice lawyer. The meddy-mals, yeah? The vampires, huh?" What was he, hanging out with Edina Monsoon before he came into the room? This sounds like her incoherent brand of ranting. Stegman continues contemptuously, "Always willing to assure the grieving parents that there's no such thing as fate, only bad doctors! Well, at Boston General, I-I --" Carrie really is rocking at this point, albeit in smaller motions than Mona. Perhaps they can synch up while Renee interrupts, "At Boston General, you killed a woman with a garden-variety meningioma by continuing to operate when your own anesthesiologist told you her blood pressure had fallen dangerously low."

Stegman gets drawn into the argument, shouting, "That is a damn lie! I was doing a thorough job!" Renee begs to differ: "That is why you're here, Doctor. At the only hospital -- God knows why -- that still believed in you!" Madam, you have either the forces of darkness or an anteater to thank for that hiring move. Renee goes on to accuse Stegman of cutting into the wrong side of Mona's brain since he can't tell his left from his right. That's not really an insult so much as it is a Far Side cartoon. Come on -- tell me you can't see it too, with the caption like, "Dang! I can never remember if it's left-loosey, righty-tighty." The whole thing degenerates into Renee and Stegman shouting, and she finishes with, "Your next job…" and, to quote the closed-captioning, "[makes vacuuming noise.]" She spits, "If you would excuse me, I would like to continue feeding my future housekeeper." Mona rocks back and forth, clearly not under the impression that setting the table is a Good Thing. Stegman, unable to let it lie and get out before a multimillion-dollar settlement joins his foot in his mouth, is all, "Here we have a patient's mother. An expert, no doubt, at writing invitations to charity events at country clubs, accusing the author of over seventeen scholarly articles in the field of neurosurgery of malpractice! Madam, I have opened a few skulls in my time! I cracked my share of nuts! And I've saved more than my share of lives! And even in this godforsaken patch of nowhere, there's such a thing as defamation of character! So you sue! Sure, you go ahead! You be my guest! And I will countersue you the next day, the next hour! And when my lawyers are finished with you, madam…" Well, in the words of the closed-captioning, "[Makes furious vacuum noises.]" Nothing I can write will top that.

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Kingdom Hospital

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