One Chicago Med staffer made the heartbreaking decision to take his own life on Thursday's episode.
At the top of the hour, Dr. Jason Wheeler (Jurgen Hooper) walks into the hospital and cheerfully greets his colleagues, before promptly going out to the 10th floor roof and calmly walking off the edge.
Though Wheeler didn't play a huge role in the show, there were signs of trouble in prior episodes, including when he was sent home from work for being drunk.
Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) has a pretty tough time with it, especially when the MRI technician takes a more flippant approach, noting that everyone considers suicide at some point during their residency. That wasn't the case for Halstead, apparently but Charles reinforces the notion and tells Halstead that more doctors commit suicide than any other profession — but he assures Will that there's no point in trying to "figure out" why Wheeler committed suicide or blaming anyone or anything for it.
Choi (Brian Tee), on the other hand, says that in his experience, the best way to proceed is to adopt a business-as-usual approach, and immediately runs off to deal with incoming patients. He even goes as far as to question Will's judgment about a patient, telling Charles he feels Will's ability to work is impaired by Wheeler's death. As it turns out, Choi may be more shaken by it than he's letting on — and Charles later notes, not-so-subtly, that pushing down one's feelings rarely works. At the end of the day, Choi goes to the morgue to look at Wheeler's body and cries.
But perhaps the person hit hardest by Wheeler's death is Reese (Rachel DiPillo), who questions her ability to be an effective psychiatrist since Wheeler came to her asking for pills and therapy and she missed the warning signs. Manning (Torrey DeVitto) is also left wondering whether she's a "monster" because she worked alongside Wheeler for eight months and never realized how much he was suffering, and breaks down at the end of the episode after being yelled at by the mother of a patient earlier.
Reese later gets some comfort from Rhodes (Colin Donnell), who tells her that Wheeler came to him as well, struggling after the blizzard pileup. Initially, she rejects his attempts to make her feel better, but in the OR, Rhodes is able to teach Reese a valuable lesson about learning from past mistakes when a patient exhibits warning signs that he had missed in a previous patient.
Wheeler's father shows up at the hospital to collect his son's belongings and gets some comfort from Maggie (Marlyne Barrett), who tells him that Jason would have been a great doctor, and regales him with stories about how Dr. Wheeler used to go up to the pediatric unit and entertain the kids with magic tricks.
At the end of the day, Goodwin feels like a failure, saying that her mission was to create an environment where everyone felt like they had a place to go and no one would be lost. She's also disappointed when Charles tells her no one has sought counseling after the death. That changes when Reese comes to see Dr. Charles — but she's not there for herself. She asks Charles how he's doing with everything, noting that everyone dumps their pain on him but he probably doesn't have anyone to turn to.
"It's awful," he replies.
Chicago Med airs Thursdays at 9/8c on NBC.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) anytime for a confidential conversation with a trained counselor.