Slice

Preview: Emergency spotlights the human element in the ER

We’ve all either spent time in an emergency room or know someone who has. I’ve been there a few times myself, most recently when I took a header getting out of bed and cut my chin open. I was in Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for several hours while tests were done to determine why I fainted, if I had a concussion and whether I would need stitches. Everything was fine, but being in an ER is a scary place. Patients aren’t there because they’re having a good day, and having doctors and nurses who can make you feel better physically and emotionally is key.

The human stories of patients and practitioners is the focus of Slice’s new documentary series Emergency. Debuting tonight with two back-to-back episodes, the project focuses on the dozen hospitals that make up British Columbia’s Fraser Health, some of this country’s busiest emergency departments.

Narrated by Jann Arden, Thursday’s first episode jumps back and forth between Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster and Surrey Memorial, spotlighting stories alternating between superficial and serious.

Magdi’s plans for a fishing trip with his son are scuttled when searing back pain sends him to Royal with spasms and medical professionals left scratching their heads. Is Magdi’s back acting up or is it something more deadly? And while Magdi is keeping up a brave face—I’m pretty sure the painkillers have something to do with that—his twentysomething son is moved to tears seeing his dad laid up and in pain.

Meanwhile, a few beds away, 67-year-old Debra has checked herself into the ER because of her racing heart. She’d forgotten to take her medication and, 48 hours later, she’s scared. Enter RN Danielle, who not only calms Debra down but hopes the IV medication she has her patient on will take care of the problem. Unfortunately, Danielle has to take drastic steps to correct the issue.

Emergency isn’t all doom and gloom. Offsetting Magdi and Debra is Jordan in Surrey, who has ignored an ingrown hair in his armpit for so long that it’s become badly infected. Of course, all Jordan cares about is whether or not he’ll be able to go to work the next day.

A glaring gaffe is the scheduling of Emergency. Slice is broadcasting the series outside of primetime in B.C., a.k.a. the province where Fraser Health is located. I’m no programming genius, but it would make sense to slot Emergency between 8 and 10 p.m. local time in order to get the most eyeballs possible.

Emergency airs Thursdays with back-to-back episodes at 9 & 9:30 p.m. ET/11 & 11:30 p.m. PT on Slice.

Greg David
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Greg David

Prior to becoming a television critic and partner at TV, Eh?, Greg David was a critic for TV Guide Canada, the country's most trusted source for TV news. He has interviewed television actors, actresses and behind-the-scenes folks from countless programs. Survivor winners, Donald Trump, Jerry Bruckheimer ... he has interviewed (literally) hundreds of TV people over the course of his career. He is a past member of the Television Critics Association.
Greg David
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