Is Love Always Enough?
By Noah Evslin, Director of Medical Research
If you watch our show closely, you'll realize it's not the medical treatments that make Private Practice different than other shows on television; rather, it's the ethical debates surrounding the myriad decisions our doctors need to make every week.
The fourth episode of the season, "Remember Me," deals with a medical condition known as anterograde amnesia. To be more technical, anterograde amnesia is a selective memory deficit caused by brain trauma. Victims of this disorder often remember everything that happened before the accident, but can't retain memories from after the accident.
For example, somebody who suffers from this neurological disorder will often remember the name of their husband, but will have no idea what they ate for breakfast. Since they can't form new memories, and since their last solid memory is often minutes before an accident that might have happened twenty years earlier, they tend to exist in a state of confusion and agitation. This situation could tax even the strongest of marriages.
In our episode, Addison treats a very pregnant patient named Jodi who's been suffering from anterograde amnesia since a car accident eight months earlier. Jodi remembers that she's married to Zach, but she can't remember how or why she's pregnant, even after being told hundreds if not thousands of times. Because of the stress that this disorder places on a relationship, Sheldon is treating Zach â€“ and it's during one of their therapy sessions that Zach confesses to Sheldon that even though he loves Jodi, after the baby is born, he's going to leave her. This bring us to our first ethical debate:
Should a husband be required to stay in a relationship that's emotionally taxing AND potentially dangerous for their new child?
Addison can't believe that Zach would consider leaving his wife after she's carried and delivered their baby. Pete thinks this new, post-accident version of their marriage is emotionally traumatizing for Zach and he needs to do what's best for him. Violet is on Addison's side. She thinks Zach will never forgive himself if he leaves Jodi.
Addison talks to Zach, but she doesn't seem to convince him. He claims he can't take care of both the new baby AND his severely handicapped wife. That being said, during a very tough delivery, Zach shows up and helps his confused wife get through it â€“ he also promises to stick it out for as long as he can.
Do you think Addison should have encouraged Zach to stay with his wife?