'New Amsterdam' Season 2 Episode 15: Max gets dangerously close to the edge after taking opioid crisis head-on
It all starts with Brantley walking up to Max, questioning him about the opioid crisis and the hospital's role in it
'New Amsterdam' never fails to surprise you, even after two seasons. This week, Max finds himself doing what he loves the best, helping people and changing the world. Or as Karen Brantley calls it, causing "damage". Unfortunately, like every other time that he's gone around doing it, the results have not been as severe.
It all starts with Brantley walking up to Max, questioning him about the opioid crisis and the hospital's role in it. She informs him that another patient had been discharged who was overdosed on opioids. She urges him to turn the epidemic around and do everything he can, even break the law if he has to. It almost seems personal to her and as we later find out, it was. It was her sister who had died.
Max calls a meeting and bans everyone from prescribing oxycodone. Obviously, no one is happy. "Since you all prescribe 79 percent of our opioids, I am giving you one year to prescribe 79 percent less. And anyone who does not meet that mark will be fired," he tells the doctors.
Now only licensed physicians can prescribe the amount of other medication that they need and Lauren is the only one licensed in the ED. He tells her that it has to change immediately, so the ED gets shut down and everyone is sent to attend the training. Elsewhere, he also gathers the top medical directors of the city to stand against the drug but they refuse, fearing consequences. Max is left alone. And that's when it all goes downhill.
Drug shipments from Nyler, the company that owns the drug, to the hospital get canceled, to the point where the doctors panic and rush to Max. Dr Brighton, one of the other directors who had walked away from him, joins him in the fight after word gets around and says they should stand united in this "shakedown".
The episode paints a disheartening but realistic picture of the whole situation — from indirect threats to the backlash that comes from taking a stand. It also depicts that unlikely heroes rise and sometimes, others with them. This is, however, the first time that Max has done something that has affected his patients so much. It will be interesting to see how this plot plays out. After all, there's only so many shakedowns a hospital can take.
Catch 'New Amsterdam' next on Tuesday, March 10, at 10 pm ET on NBC.