Dr. Death (2021) s01e05 Episode Script

The $?!& in the Bed

We here at Baylor Plano believe
choosin' your own doctor
is man's sacred, God-given right.
- Advocacy, innovation, collaboration.
Excellence in these arenas compelled
"U.S. News & World Report"
to rank Baylor Plano high
on its list of the nation's
finest hospitals.
But it's our down-home Texas values
that won us the trust of our community.
And we owe it to that community
to spare no expense
when it comes to their health care.
That begins by recruiting only the best.
Countries from around the globe,
37 to date, have sent their
citizens to be treated
by renowned surgeons,
Doctors O'Connor and Crosby.
They've made the Baylor Scoliosis Center
the very first institute
of its kind devoted
to the treatment of this
devastating spinal curvature.
Recently, Dr. Shapiro was
awarded a preceptorship
under Professor Juha
Mikkelsgaard of Helsinki.
representing the exciting
future of neurosurgery,
we have just recruited a rising star
of minimally invasive technique,
hailing from the University of
Tennessee and Semmes-Murphey,
the very institute that blazed
the trail in that approach.
- Dr. Duntsch, good morning.
- Good morning, Dr. Morgan.
I'd like to go over the
equipment you ordered
for the procedure.
Yasargil micro bayonet,
French Fukushima teardrop
tapered suction tube,
micro dissector set in
titanium with case
oh, wait, we have the
Yasargil bayonet forceps.
You need the micro bayonet as well?
If I asked for it, I need it.
Uh, we have Kerrisons, retractors,
microdiscectomy systems.
- Cupboards bare?
That's, uh, quite the
grocery list you got there.
I'll see you in the OR, Doctor.
[SIGHS] How many surgeries
you doing here today?
Just one. First at this institution.
Oh, congratulations.
Insurance is never gonna
cover any of that shit.
That is not my problem.
Fixing people is.
Unlike the rest of this town.
Is that right?
Yeah. What passes for neurosurgery
down here is a sham.
I'm here to nuke this
place into the future.
[CHUCKLES] Wow. Well, you impress me.
Usually, it takes surgeons
at least a good decade
to refine their God complex.
[LAUGHS] Christopher D. Duntsch. MD-PhD.
So do they have to enlarge the door
to get your Northern
head into the building?
- I'm from Tennessee.
- North of Texas is north.
You know what, I think I'm
gonna make you my access guy.
- Do I get a say in the matter?
- Nope, that's it. From now on,
you're doing all of my access.
You are my fuckin' guy.
- Oh, goodie.
- You're my guy, Randy.

Craig James. Congratulations.
You're about to enter the history books.
First surgery at Baylor Plano?
Staff treating you okay?
Everything's been just fine.
Have any questions before we begin?
- Gonna fix my leg?
You'll be playing so much tennis,
the next time you're in my office,
you're gonna be griping
about that elbow.

See you soon.



Morning, Ma.
Yeah. Thanks for the alarm.

You, too. Yeah.
Love you back. Bye.

Double shot espresso bad
or double shot mezcal bad?
Quarterlies came in.
- Violent crime's up 2%.
- Oh, that's on DPD.
With a 5% drop in convictions.
Stats don't tell the whole story.
But they don't fib, either.
We've got a 99% conviction rate.
Ed won't lose his head over
some horsepucky calculus.
Not when he can have George's.
- George?
- Decade at Public Integrity.
That's some horsepucky
for you right there.
Election season can get
real ugly real quick.
What happens to George's caseload?
It's an unprincipled waste of
time and taxpayer treasure.
What do you think?
Perhaps "unparalleled" is
a better way to put it.
There's something here, Ed.
George didn't do anything
with it for months.
I want it.
Your wants and needs mean nada to me.
Because I'm young and
naive and idealistic.
And there's something
about those two doctors.
- Their passion?
- Exactly.
Their passion means shit.
Someday, you'll get old and cranky
and look back on this moment
from your deathbed
with deep abiding regret.
There's a reason no quack has
ever been criminally charged.
What if we don't have to?
Build a case, but go for the squeeze.
License forfeited in the plea,
a public health hazard
is off the streets,
and you get the W.
- That makes a lot of sense.
- Thank you.
Which is why I don't trust it.
Car's almost here.
- What car?
- For your speech.
At the YMCA?
It's on the schedule.
Oh, shit. Shit!
Now I gotta write something.
I wanted to work in this office
because I was inspired
by your leadership
and your eagerness to do the
right thing no matter the cost.
Well, that's good. I like that.
I'm here to make a difference,
to fight the tough fights,
to stand up for the folks
who have no one left to fight for them.
Little diabetic, but
it's all in the delivery.
- I haven't let you down.
- First time for everything.
And I'm not gonna stop asking.
Really politely.
You are the youngest ADA
in this office's history.
Which means I could be
the youngest former ADA
in this office's history.
Kirby's been burning out
my ringer for months now.
Holidays included.
Thank you.
Don't get me over your skis on this.
You don't know how to ski, Ed.
Feels good to be rid of him.
Doubt there's a man alive in Texas
more sick of that guy than me.
Merino wool. That's the secret.
Doesn't trap the heat or the dampness.
Believe me, my feet go clammy quick.
You know, they say if
it's not the frostbite
or the gangrene that gets
you, it's the Death Zone,
that last 848 meters of Everest.
There's so little oxygen
that your body starts to die
minute by minute, cell by cell.
But this is my office,
where I spend a lot of
time breathing in the air.
Don't worry about it. These
things are anti-microbial fibers.
I've been wearing these
things for three days.
My feet are as dry as
I don't know, you fill
in whatever metaphor
is least offensive to your
delicate sensibilities.
Dr. Henderson, Dr. Kirby.
So sorry I'm late.
Good to see you again. We met briefly.
Well, we didn't meet,
but I was in the room
when you came to our
office a little while back.
Michelle Shughart.
Little while back? That was months.
So is Yarborough parking the car?
Just me today.
I get it. You're disappointed.
Oh, absolutely not.
When you say just you today,
do you mean just "today" today?
Every day hereafter.
You're our lead? [SCOFFS]
Like I said, I get it,
you're disappointed.
I'm probably a little too young,
maybe a little too
woman for your liking,
- but
- Neither is true, Miss Shughart, please.
Thank you.
But what I can tell you
is that I am passionate about this case.
Well, really every case,
but especially this one.
And people tell me that
I'm good at my job
even though it makes me exceedingly
uncomfortable to say so.
If that son of a bitch thinks
I'm donating one blessed
cent to his election,
he's got an edema on
that medulla of his.
- I apologize.
- He gave us his word, Bob.
We served up a psychopath
on a silver fucking plater,
piping hot, and he goes
and shits the bed.
Oh, I promise I'm not the
uh, you know, in the bed.
And I assure you there's a strategy.
Yeah, it's called "lock
the bastard up," all right?
He's down the road at
University General.
We're gonna take care of it.
We're building a swift, focused
case to compel maximum leverage.
So you're cutting a deal with him?
Plea of guilty
in exchange for forfeiture
of his medical license.
- Your boss is an idiot.
- It was my idea.
I don't take it back.
I wouldn't expect you to, Dr. Kirby.
I don't know medicine.
That's why I so desperately
need your expertise.
But all due respect, you
don't understand the law.
You don't understand who we're after.
Dr. Kirby is correct.
And believe me, there is
no string of four words
I find more disagreeable.
But stripping Duntsch of his
Texas license is not enough.
What he said. Especially the part
about you-know-who being you-know-right.
He'll find another job.
He has to go to prison
until either he's too old
- to practice medicine or
- He's in a crematorium.
I understand.
But the burden of proof
for that is insurmountable.
Miss Shughart, Dr. Duntsch's
victims are the proof.
Duntsch is never gonna stop.
He's never gonna stop on his own.


Keep it up, and I will cancel
your birth certificate!
- Hands off!
- Mr. Novak.
Jesus, Moses, and Joseph. He lives.

So to review,
I'm going to be performing a
cervical fusion on two levels,
C3-4 and C4-5.
I'll also be making a
minor incision in
Three hours.
That's how long they got me
lyin' here in this dress,
ass flappin' in the wind.
Won't let me eat, won't let me drink.
- I had a flat tire. It held me up.
- Flat tire.
You know what I had this morning?
Not one, not two,
but three black cats
scattering across my road.
If that ain't the devil
hollering, nothing is.
I am out.
The longer you wait,
the faster your condition
is gonna deteriorate.
Slicker than owl shit.
You said you worked at Baylor.
I have privileges at
every hospital in Dallas.
And you brought me here.
Your insurance dictated.
I'm not a rich man, Dr. Duntsch,
but I'm no church mouse neither.
I got Blue Cross Blue Shield.
And you gave me hammer and sickle!

[SIGHS] Mr. Novak
what this hospital lacks in ambience,
it more than makes up for in heart.
I have never worked with a finer,
more dedicated crew of nurses
than the ones here at UGH.
I don't have any other
procedures scheduled
for the rest of the day.
The OR is prepped and ready.
And the staff, they
came in just for you.
You will not find this level of
five-star care anywhere else.

What else can I say to change your mind?
To make this happen? Today?


- Dr. Duntsch.
I shouldn't have to ask for
suction every fuckin' time.
- Dr. Duntsch, BP is falling.
- Sponge.
It's a tumor.
He has cancer. There's
nothing we can do here.

Sew him up.
First month at Baylor in the books.
Looks like you're finding
your way around.
Back of my hand.
That marketing man of yours
has logged some miles.
[CHUCKLES] Jerry's the best.
And your OR schedule
is filling out nicely.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
Baylor is a hell of a calling card;
you guys make it easy.
Quick thing: Craig James,
your first operation here
- Yeah?
- Dr. Shapiro left word at my office.
Said Mr. James reached out,
scheduled a follow-up appointment.
Why would that make it to your office?
Honestly, I don't know.
[CHUCKLING] Which is
why I'm telling you.
- Okay.
- You should check in.
Make sure everything's all right.
- Of course. Will do.
- Great.
Any plans tonight?
Uh, nothing special.
Website's live.
We're getting hits,
but we can do better.
- Pliers.
- For a screw?
You can tighten a screw
with pliers, Wendy.
- It's called leverage pliers.
- Okay.
My boy knows this dude
in Silicon Valley.
Claims there's this Russian
who can rig searches
so when you type "doctor in Dallas,"
boom, Dr. D.
No more Russians. Nail.
It didn't come with nails, Chris.
Of course it did.
You know what? Never mind.
- Just give me another screw.
- We need buzz.
Something flashy, sexy, lure people in.
- It's the wrong screw.
- There are no other screws.
There's this company called
The Best Docs Network.
They'll send a whole
film crew to the office
and film testimonials
about your prowess.
Duntsch. Uh-huh.
Okay. I'll be right there.
An emergency at the clinic.
It's the third emergency
this week, Chris.
This crib's for your son.
I'll finish it as soon as I get back.

- Been busy at the clinic.
- Just shut up, Jerry! Just


Will you give me a ride to Babies R Us?
Gotta grab my keys.
[SOFTLY] Thank you.


Stop, stop. Hold that tongue.

- Hurry up, woman!


I figured he learned to fight
like that in the frat house.
- Nope.
You know what Brent said?
- He said it was
- Baltimore.
Good morning, everyone!
Helluva dude, that Dr. Morgan.
I owe my life to that rat bastard.
Dr. Morgan? Who? You?
Dr. Brent Morgan, you know?

Your ex?
Can we turn that crap off?
I've got it from here.
That segmental artery is not
tied off. You you're gonna
That needs to be tied, Doctor.
It'll keep pooling in the disc space.
- You can't see the
- I work by feel, not by sight.
And turn that fucking music off!
- Bone drill.
You cannot drill while
he's hemorrhaging.
- Jesus Christ.

Careful where you wag that thing.
That wasn't medicine in there;
that was a disgrace.
You're not a doctor. You're a butcher.

- Robert Henderson.
- Dr. Henderson,
this is Dr. Jacob French
from UT Memphis.
Thanks for getting
back to me so quickly.
Sure. Your message said
you were calling from DMC.
- What's that?
- Dallas Medical Center.
Ah, okay.
DMC. What's happening?
You're the chairman of
the department there?
That's right.
Do you recall a student there
named Christopher Duntsch?
We have a a bit of an issue here.
Do you mind if I fill you in?
An anonymous call tipped
off his residency.
Purportedly, Duntsch would
round under the influence.
So he was sent to a impaired
physicians program,
was eventually cleared,
and, uh, allowed to
continue his studies.
Look at you, Nancy Drew.
They have no idea who called it in?
So we can't interview anybody?
Every one of his references
failed to mention this program.
Because of confidentiality?
Well, maybe they didn't even know.
Isn't that an issue?
Shouldn't that be something
hospitals hiring doctors
take into consideration?
This is one of the many ways
a Tennessee problem
becomes a Texas problem.
How'd he get away with it?
Even after his first patient.
Uh, what was his name?
Craig James.
Duntsch operated on the wrong vertebra.
Baylor found out and
still let him continue.
I mean, nobody said anything?
You hear stories, grist
for the rumor mill,
but nurses are gossips,
and surgeons, they're a finicky lot.
They tend to turn their
noses up at anybody
with an extra dollop of personality.
What changed your mind?
- What do you mean?
- Joe Padua.
You operated with Duntsch,
and it looks to me
like he almost killed him.
So if you were there.
If you saw what you saw,
why didn't you stop him?
You don't have clue one
what you're talking about.
That's why we're here. Clue me in.
He really doesn't like me, does he?
He can be challenging,
but he has a good heart.
You understand why I'm asking, right?
I have to stand in front of
a judge and jury and say
that, over the course of two years,
this man butchered all these patients.
It was so bad, it was
so out of the ordinary,
but nobody, not a nurse,
an administrator,
or shoot, even Dr. Randall Kirby himself
was able to stop him.
Some didn't even try.
I have an issue. I have to go.
The politics inside of
an operating room
are complicated.
- Whatever you need, tell me.
- I'm taking your patient.



- Ugh.
- Quiet, please.
- DeBakey.

There's something in there.

[GROANS SOFTLY] It's a sponge.
This is the cause of the infection.


With work, sometimes I forget to eat,
- if you can believe it.
You are the salt and light
this city needs, Christopher.
We're proud of you, son.
And I hope you're proud of yourself.
Thanks, Dad.

And we like her.
- Huh? Very much.
- Mm-hmm.
A woman like that by your side,
a man could move mountains.
So sorry.
There was a five-car pile
up at the ladies room,
right? [CHUCKLES]

Wasn't this puny when I
left. Who stole a bite?
Don, I'm lookin' right at you.
Oh. Cod at a steakhouse?
We would Code Red you
for that in the Marines.
Oh, Semper Fish. [LAUGHTER]
I don't eat any animal that
can't be felled by a bullet.
Unless it's his bullet,
in which case, we'd all starve to death.
Keep talking, Mr. Big Shot.
Our place in Colorado borders
the state game lands.
Don can hunt in his own backyard.
I can picture you out
there with your .30/30,
flinging peas at some mountain goat.
My .300 Savage begs to differ.
Hmm. Winchester girl over here.
I don't know what we would
have done without Kim.
Couldn't have got the
business up and running,
I can tell you that much.

Take care of my boy, Kim.
He's gonna need all the help he can get,
especially once the baby gets here.

Tell me, Susan, whatever
whatever I can do to help.

I know Wendy's got tons
of family in the area,
but I want my Chris to
help shoulder the burden.
Have you made arrangements
for your boy's baptism yet, Chris?
Not really.
I don't have an opinion
one way or the other.
Well, you better have an opinion.
Your son's salvation is on the line.

Listen to your mother, Chris.
You need to book a church well ahead.


Just a secretary moving
with her husband.
She'll be gone once she gives birth.
She will.
Look, Wendy is just a wrecked
stripper from Memphis.
She's got nothing going for her.
She doesn't even have a dream.
- She is not like you.
She's got your baby.
- It's your child, you sick fuck!
- Okay,
so we give her a couple of weeks
to get her shit together
after the baby comes,
and then she's out and I can
focus all my attention on you.
I found them.
The drugs. In the bathroom.
I know.

[CHUCKLING] What are you talking about?
There are no drugs in the bathroom.
Because I flushed them.

Oh, fuck Jerry.
I'll talk to him, okay?
- Kim.
- I'm not stupid.
Okay, okay. Kim. Come on, come on, babe.
All right, look.
They're my neurostimulants.
But I only take them when I need
to focus on writing a paper.
They're no worse than the
shit a third grader takes.
[CHUCKLING] Come on.

Don't Chris. Don't touch me.
- Get out of my fucking way!
- Oh, my God!
Not until you stop acting absurd!
- You're being crazy right now!
- Oh, yes, I am crazy!
I am crazy for being the
only person left in town
who wants to work with you!
You're not even making
any sense right now.
Remember Dr. Darnton? Remember that?
And your little pecker-pulling match?
All the access surgeons
found out about it
and don't want to perform with you.
I have an L5-S1 fusion
scheduled for tomorrow.
Not anymore!
What happened with Mr. Padua?
Well, the surgery was normal.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
With the exception of a scrub tech
with the pace of molasses,
and a resident who
Says here the procedure was delayed
for a week.
Yes, there were some challenges
with the scheduling.
But we accommodated.
The access surgeons.
They were all booked up.
I was a nurse for many years
before entering management.
I'm so fluent in doctor bullshit,
I can whiff it all the
way from Fort Worth.
Look, I'm not trying
to cause trouble here,
but I think
there are some fragile
male egos in this town
that don't like my style.
[CHUCKLES SOFTLY] You're new here.
It's on you to figure out how
to play nice in the sandbox.
We're invested in this partnership,
and we need to know
that we can rely on you.
- Get 'em, girl, get 'em, girl ♪
Get 'em, girl, get 'em, girl ♪
Get 'em, girl, get 'em, girl ♪
Tell 'em show me the money ♪
Get 'em, Daddy, get 'em, Daddy ♪
Get 'em, Daddy, get 'em, Daddy ♪
You know I'm gettin' money ♪
Get 'em, girl, get 'em, girl ♪
Get 'em, girl, get 'em, girl ♪
Get 'em, girl, tell 'em
show me the money ♪
Get 'em, Daddy, get 'em, Daddy ♪
Get 'em, Daddy, get 'em, Daddy ♪
Thanks for the mammaries!
I miss those Tennessee girls, bro.
They strip for the love of it.
We need aggressive expansion.
Name recognition.
Go to the people directly,
then bring them in.
Come on, man, I brought
you here to cheer you up.
- Take your mind off of
- You fucked up, Jerry.
I relied on you to
bring me new patients.
- And I did!
- Not enough.
Motherfuck you've been mesmerized.
Get her out of your head, bro.
Dump Face I know wouldn't
wig out like this.
They're just jealous, all those doctors.
That's why they came after you.
You're changing the game,
and they fear your ascendence.
Wait till they find out
you're winning an award.
I told you.
You are the best doc in Dallas.
Might as well make it official.
You know I'm getting money ♪
Get 'em, girl, get 'em, girl ♪
Get 'em, girl, get 'em, girl ♪
- When are we doing this?
- Yes! That is what I'm saying.
It is in your calendar.
Tomorrow, 9:00 a.m.
Oh, and another thing,
you said a while ago
to tell you when I'm ready
for you to fix my neck.
Well, you need patients
and my neck fuckin' sucks,
so I'm ready.

- You're my friend.
- Fuckin' right I am.
Some people frown on that sort of thing,
operating on your friend.
Well, I ain't breaking up with you.
If anyone asks, I'll say this
is the U.S. of fuckin' A
and if I got to be cut
open, I want the best.

And I'm the best.
Get in there, man. Work your magic.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
- You and I are a team, bro.
- Goddamn right we are.
- Brick.
What are you doing here?
Your neighbor got tired of me
banging on your front door,
told me where I could find you.
Do I want to know how
you found my address?
I don't know, do you?
- One on one?
Definitely not.
So this is awkward, but, uh
You asked about Joe Padua.
[CHUCKLES] He's my pool guy.
- You know him?
- Yeah, he installed my pool.
I see him every spring and fall.
He's expensive as shit, but worth it.
- Mm.
- Scalpel.
It's good to have you here.
I've got an ALIF in a
hour with O'Connor,
but I should be over and out by then.
Who's the performing?
Kirby! My man!

You have to isolate the
uh, doctor, that's a
nerve, a nerve root.
Double action.

Dr. Kirby, it's Dr. O'Connor.
Okay, yeah, five five minutes,
five more minutes.

I see you've invented a new use
for the double action rongeur.
Dr. Kirby, I have done
thousands of these.
You can take off.




Dr. Morgan, cage.
He says he's going to call Amy Piel
- if you don't get up there right now.
- Right, right. Yes, yes.
Just tell him a few seconds,
- all right?
- Mallet.

Need the persuaders now.
You've got it off midline.
It needs to go to the left.
- Mallet.
- To the left.
The other left.


These plugs are shit.
I can't get any purchase.

- Dr. Kirby.
Dr. Kirby, thank you for your time.
Dr. O'Connor is pitching
a hissy fit, so
- you can run along.


I just came from removing a sponge
from deep inside the neck of
one of Duntsch's other patients.
Been sewn up in there for days.
By accident?
Oh, any other doctor, sure.
But not this one.
And the infection inside this man was
he was minutes away from killing him.
You mean it?
You mean the infection was
minutes away from killing him?
Duntsch claimed that
he had found a tumor
inside this man's neck.
He slices into it.
It's his esophagus.
This tonight was attempted murder.
Nothing less.
Shelley Brennan was murder.
Dorothy Burke was murder.
I played by the rules, and people died.
If we're gonna do this, Shughart
we gotta be all in.
I'm all in.
I'm not hearing this, Shughart, not now.
I'm late for a thing.
Gotta grip and grin it
and sing for my supper.
I've seen enough to be convinced.
You came to me, you asked, I gave.
Henderson and Kirby are right.
A plea is not justice served,
it's justice denied.
He needs to be stopped.
There's a reason it's never been done.
Because there's never been a
doctor like Duntsch, never.
- It's a civil case.
- It's not about money.
It's always about money.
- Where are the damn tickets?
- Here.
These people were just trying
to fix their backs, Ed.
Do me a favor, sit down.
I want to be clear.
You want this, I'll give you rope.
But I'm not gonna cut you
down, you hear me?
Going after Duntsch publicly
means exposure for Baylor.
- And?
- Baylor is connected.
Members of Baylor's
board make donations.
You mean for events
like the one you're
attending this evening?
They don't donate to me, unfortunately,
but to others we know.
- And as your mentor
- You're my mentor?

I'd advise you to focus
on something else.
He's still operating, Ed.


- Morning.

Hey. Tomorrow's the big day.
Suppose I should turn in early.
Get a good night's rest.
As your doctor, I think that
would be the wise thing to do.

I can keep driving.
Say the word.
You don't have to do this.

He is the best doc in Dallas.



Jerry Summers.

Calibrating a few more things,
then we're off to the races.
Hey, Chris.
I'm the luckiest bastard alive.

I'm gonna fix you.


Previous EpisodeNext Episode