Hospital Playlist 2: Episode 2
Every patient is different, and as a result, not all relationships between a doctor and their patient can be ideal. Sometimes the relationship is strained, filled with mistrust and contempt, while others are based on mutual respect and understanding. Just as a doctor influences a patient’s life, a patient can change a doctor’s as well.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
It’s five minutes to seven in the morning, and Yulje Medical Center is bustling with people. Joon-wan gets to work while video calling Ik-soon, and she teases him for the time he mistook her for Milky, which he denies. He tells her that he is on his way to buy Jung-won coffee since his roommate had an early surgery.
At the café, Gyu-wool buys three drinks—one for the intern and two for her—using Ik-joon’s card. Joon-wan joins them, and Jung-won soon follows, cuddling up with his friend. Noticing Ik-joon’s card, they take it from Gyu-wool and order one of everything from the menu. Pffft.
When Ik-joon arrives at work, he gets a message about Gyu-wool’s purchase, but minutes later, his phone buzzes again and he nearly loses his shoe from shock. He double-checks the receipt and wonders aloud how she spent 182,000 won (approximately $161) on drinks.
Min-ha gives Seok-hyung an update on the emergency patient before they drop by her room to deliver some bad news. Unfortunately, the patient’s cervix is opening, and if the baby’s foot or umbilical cord comes out, then they might need to do surgery. The patient tears up at the possibility of losing her child, but Seok-hyung offers her some hope, promising to do his best.
Afterwards, Seok-hyung asks Min-ha to keep an eye on the emergency patient, so she stops by to visit her again. From the doorway, she sees the husband sticking by his wife’s side and massaging her arm. Realizing that the patient is in good hands, she sneaks out without interrupting them.
In their office, Jung-won slides his chair next to Joon-wan and asks if he can meet this weekend since he has an announcement to make. Joon-wan’s brows furrow as he asks Jung-won if he took out a loan, and Jung-won scowls back him before kicking himself away.
Gathering at Seok-hyung’s house, the five friends make ramyun for dinner. As always, there’s never a dull moment with this group as Song-hwa splatters Ik-joon’s face while grabbing noodles and Joon-wan uses the distraction as a perfect moment to swoop in for food. Ha!
They have strawberries for dessert, and Jung-won admires the flavor, saying that spring has arrived. Joon-wan calls him crazy since it is January, and they all wonder why he called them over. As Jung-won starts talking, Seok-hyung cuts him off to ask Song-hwa about her upcoming surgery, and everyone’s attention turns to her famous violinist patient.
Despite Jung-won’s attempts to interject, his friends talk over him at every turn and worry about Song-hwa overworking herself. She tells them that she likes VIP surgeries now, and Jung-won smiles knowingly. As their conversation winds down, the others ask Jung-won why he stop talking, and his face shifts into pure annoyance. Heh.
Jung-won tells his friends that he is seeing Gyu-wool, but his words do not sink in until he spells it out for them: they have been dating for a month. As the surprise fades, his friends congratulate him, and Ik-joon smiles the brightest since he’s always been a staunch supporter. Unlike the others, Seok-hyung looks unfazed and informs them that he already knew since his mom told him.
They agree to keep it a secret, and Ik-joon makes it clear that he is only staying silent for our Gyu-wool. Jung-won bristles at the comment, warning him to stop calling her that, but Ik-joon points out that Jung-won is the one who needs to watch what he calls her lest he reveal their relationship to everyone.
Song-hwa returns to Yulje Medical Center where Seon-bin updates her on the violinist’s condition. She also cautions Song-hwa about the antagonistic patient’s mother, but Song-hwa stops her from criticizing the guardian.
Joon-wan runs into Jae-hak while on his way to the PICU and scolds the chief resident for wasting precious studying time. Jae-hak tells him that he is getting a loan since the police have not caught the scammer yet, and he chases after Joon-wan, asking about their young patient.
As if their roles were reversed, Joon-wan notifies Jae-hak about the patient’s history and answers all his questions diligently. However, he realizes the odd nature of this exchange, and Jae-hak distracts him long enough to run away. Pfft.
Hong-do paces outside the PICU and recites his answer to Joon-wan’s previous quiz. Meanwhile, Joon-wan informs the patient’s mother about her son’s worsening condition and recommends using a mechanical pump until a donor appears. Once the doctors leave, the mother openly weeps.
As Joon-wan exits, Hong-do greets him and starts giving his response to his last question. However, Joon-wan interrupts and throws him a new one. Stunned by the switch, Hong-do racks his brain for an answer, and Joon-wan instructs him to tell him next time.
Back in the PICU, another guardian pats the mother on the back and comforts her. She describes their situation as a marathon and advises the mother to stay strong for her child. Holding her hand, she tells her that Joon-wan might be blunt but he has saved her daughter countless times already.
Song-hwa visits the violinist, and as Seon-bin warned, the mother shakes her head disapprovingly at her. Though Song-hwa amiably explains everything, the mother scoffs at her replies. After Song-hwa leaves, the mother complains about the young residents dropping by, and neither patient nor guardian recognizes their highly-anticipated primary physician.
Jung-won finds Song-hwa preparing for the surgery in her office despite the late hour, and her determination amazes him. He regrets handing her the Daddy-Long-Legs program, though, because she is overworking herself, but Song-hwa begs him to let her keep it.
She lists off all the reasons why she is the best successor, and Jung-won berates himself for not asking Ik-joon first. She tells him that Ik-joon is busy, too, but right then, they spot their friend making faces at them through the door.
While the three of them sit down for drinks, Jung-won asks about their next song, and Ik-joon refuses to tell him. To his dismay, someone wrote it in the group chat, and Ik-joon laments his misfortune. Suddenly, the siren alarm goes off, and Ik-joon gawks when Song-hwa answers the phone.
He reminds Jung-won that he knows about the secret, so they tell him that Song-hwa is now Daddy-Long-Legs. Ik-joon points out that Song-hwa is short, and his lame jokes makes her chuckle. As he heads out, Ik-joon tells her to take it easy.
On their way to visit the violinist again, Seon-bin tells Song-hwa that Seok-min volunteered to assist her during the surgery. While grateful for his help, she feels guilty about making him return to the hospital after he finally got away.
Song-hwa informs the patient and guardian of tomorrow’s operation and assures them that they will do their best. With her arms crossed, the mother demands to hear from an expert and asks when Professor Chae will be here. Song-hwa tells her that she is the professor, and the mother jumps from her seat, explaining how she mistook her for a resident.
After giving them another detailed explanation, Song-hwa clarifies something to the mother: residents are doctors, too. She tells her to ask her resident if any questions arise, and the mother nods apologetically.
Min-ha checks up on the emergency patient who tells her that her abdomen hurts, and they rush her into a surgery room. While Seok-hyung begins his, Song-hwa prepares for her operation on the violinist and crosses paths with Joon-wan who is on his way for a challenging one as well.
While checking his outpatients’ charts, Ik-joon catches an odd discrepancy, and the nurse shares her suspicions about the patient drinking again. Intern Sung-young wonders who they are talking about, and the nurse tells him that the patient received liver transplants from two of his daughters in the span of three years.
Jung-won meets with a young outpatient who needs his stitches removed, but the boy squirms in his mom’s arms and cries about the pain. Though Jung-won and the parents try to console him, the boy refuses to sit still, so Jung-won offers to see him after he calms down.
In the operating room, Song-hwa sighs at their lack of progress, so Seok-min suggests using the retractor to help her remove the tumor. Meanwhile in Joon-wan’s room, he yells at his assistant to avoid making unnecessary movements and remains tense throughout the operation.
The dreaded patient is up next for Ik-joon, and contrary to his usual, cheery disposition, Ik-joon’s face remains stern the entire time. Going over the numbers, Ik-joon knows the patient is drinking even if he denies it, and the patient admits to having a couple of bottles because of his friends. Exasperated with her husband, the wife reveals the truth about his drinking, but he yells at her to be quiet.
A pediatrician runs out of the operating unit and informs the emergency patient’s husband that the surgery was unsuccessful—their child died. The husband asks about his wife, and he tells him that Seok-hyung is operating on her as they speak. While still undergoing surgery, a single tear falls down the emergency patient’s cheek as if she was aware of the terrible news.
Jung-won tries again with the young boy, but before he can even touch the stitches, the boy screams in pain. His parents grow frustrated with his crying, and the mom scolds her son for making things difficult for the man who saved his life. Jung-won assures her that he is alright with waiting, and they push back the appointment.
After the surgery, Seok-hyung meets with the couple and informs them of their loss. He gives them his condolences, and the emergency patient weeps uncontrollably.
Back in Ik-joon’s office, he tells his patient that children are not obligated to donate to their parents. While the chances are lower now, lots of patients died during surgery in the past, and he reminds the patient that his daughters risked their lives for him. As his anger mounts, Ik-joon says that plenty of people die because they cannot find a donor, and he refuses to treat him any further.
Joon-wan’s surgery ends well, and they close the patient’s chest after seeing the heart beat. Meanwhile, Song-hwa struggles to remove the tumor until Seok-min astutely catches the issue and assists her accordingly.
Thanks to his support, she successfully finishes the operation and leaves the final portion to her residents. Stepping out, Song-hwa informs the guardians who thank her profusely, and unlike before, the mother is dressed plainly and wears no makeup.
Ik-joon finds Seok-hyung in the courtyard and correctly guesses the outcome of his surgery. Both of them nurse their troubled hearts, and Seok-hyung tells his friend that he does not know what to say to his patient.
Wanting to share the results of his surgery, Joon-wan calls Ik-soon, but as soon as he hears her voice, he realizes that something is wrong. She tells him about a racist encounter she had at a café and vents her frustrations to him. He gets upset on her behalf and dismisses his own good news in order to comfort her.
Song-hwa tells the violinists’ guardians that the patient’s CT scans came back clean, and they thank her again for all her help. She promises to check on the patient frequently, and the mother looks touched by her care.
While Song-hwa waits for the elevators, she bumps in Seon-bin who is surprised to see her here at this late hour. Even though she performed an arduous surgery, Song-hwa plans to drive back home since she has to meet her patients in the morning. However, when she steps into her office, she falls asleep on her couch.
Standing outside his patient’s door, Seok-hyung takes a moment before going inside to face them. Meanwhile, Jung-won sits by the young boy’s mom in the hall and asks why she is all alone. She tells him that she stayed behind while they went to eat dinner and confesses to feeling frustrated about her son today.
Jung-won reminds the mom that her son beat cancer, and they experienced worse things in the past. He tells her that they can always try again, and she smiles at him gratefully and mentions his odd nickname (Buddha) which fits so aptly. She asks if the rumors about him leaving are true, and he assures her that he will stay for a long time.
The band’s song this week is “In Front of the Post Office in Autumn” by Yoon Do-hyun, but the person singing today is Seok-hyung.
At the hospital, Min-ha sighs about the café’s coffee, wondering if it even has caffeine, and Resident Myung Eun-won replies, “I only drink decaf.” Min-ha bares her teeth at her but holds back her tongue.
When the elevator arrives, they find Seok-hyung inside with Shin-hye, and Min-ha glances over at them dumbstruck. She accidentally presses the open button, but when she goes to close the doors, Ik-joon slides inside. He greets Min-ha with a personalized rap—including a heart—but his face twists into confusion when he spots the rest of the group.
The hospital director calls Song-hwa about a request, and she promises to get back to him after checking something first. Seon-bin arrives just then with cake, and Song-hwa asks if she and Seok-min are available this weekend. Unfortunately, both of them are busy since she is on duty and he has his second exam.
While they eat, Song-hwa says that they should have gotten a whole cake, and Seon-bin is shocked by her huge appetite. Remembering the guardian’s request, Seon-bin tells Song-hwa that the violinist’s mother was looking for her, but she does not know why.
Ik-joon bothers Seok-hyung in his office even though he is busy and asks about his relationship with Shin-hye. Seok-hyung tells him that he coincidentally met her in the elevators and the chances of them getting back together is zero.
Back when Shin-hye asked if they could meet again, he told her that seeing her made him uncomfortable. He still felt guilty towards her and thought it was best to keep their relationship in the past.
In her office, Song-hwa answers another call from the hospital director and tells him that she cannot do it this weekend. Though it is a wasted opportunity, the director agrees to her decision.
While accepting flowers is against hospital policy, Min-ha allowed the emergency patient to leave behind a bouquet for Seok-hyung. She tells the others that Seok-hyung personally texted the patient before her discharge, and Nurse Han cocks her head at his uncharacteristic behavior. After finishing his surgery, Seok-hyung wonders why they have rule-breaking flowers at their desk and takes it away.
Joon-wan finds Song-hwa walking towards the VIP rooms, and Ik-joon glides to a stop next to them. Running down the hall, Seon-bin greets them and excitedly explains how a German broadcasting station wants to interview Song-hwa.
The others are impressed by their friend, but Song-hwa tells Seon-bin that she already turned down the offer because her residents weren’t available. This elicits an even bigger response from everyone, and Seon-bin is moved by her professor’s thoughtfulness.
From the sidelines, Ik-joon crumples up his flier to make a statue for Song-hwa and promises to make a real one for her next time. As Seon-bin watches them leave, Ik-joon drops “Song-hwa,” and the friends cry over her ripped face. Pfft.
In the privacy of his office, Seok-hyung reads the card from the emergency patient. She tells him that his text made the couple cry, and they thank him for the precious weeks they got to have with their child. If they are blessed with another angel in the future, they want him to protect them once more.
As a parting gift, the couple included a picture of the message he sent which they framed, and Seok-hyung pulls out his old textbook. After wrestling with what to say, he shared a quote from the first page: “Bad things at times do happen to good people.”
Song-hwa has tea with the violinist’s mother who is completely smitten with her. She asks if Song-hwa is interested in meeting her son and tells her that he is a well-off pharmacist who is kind unlike her. Heh.
The night before the violinist’s surgery, Song-hwa woke up from her nap and ran down to the café which was already closed. Fighting off sleep, she dragged her tired body to her car for the long drive back home, but on her hood, she found two coffee cups—one with an extra shot and another that was decaf in case she wasn’t sleepy.
The show highlights the smaller moments inside the hospital as our five friends interact with patients and their guardians on a daily basis. At times, the relationships can be positive as in Jung-won’s case. Out of his friends, he is probably the most warmhearted and invested doctor in his patients’ lives. While this earns him the guardians’ trust and gratitude, it also comes with its downsides as depicted in the first season when Jung-won struggled with the loss of his young patients and wanted to quit medicine. On the opposite spectrum is Joon-wan who I would deem the least cordial to the patients and their guardians. Despite his grumpiness, he is an attentive doctor, and though it takes a while, others eventually understand his character and put their faith in him, too. All five friends have vastly different personalities, and these differences manifest themselves in how they treat their patients. However, all of them are thoughtful and truly put the patient’s wellbeing above all else, which is what makes them great. In essence, the show portrays the many ways a doctor can interact with their patient, and thus, there is no one, correct way to act.
On the other side of this relationship is patients, and in this episode, we see how they affect doctors. After the unsuccessful surgery, Seok-hyung tried to comfort the grieving couple, but in the end, it felt like they were offering him solace in return. Even though they were still healing from their loss, they remained optimistic and thankful for Seok-hyung’s compassion. Rather than see this experience as a failure, they cherished the precious moments they got with their unborn child and gave Seok-hyung credit for helping them despite the risks. Seok-hyung recognized their gracious response, which is why he teared up while reading the letter. Just as much as the couple needed to hear the message (bad things happen to good people), Seok-hyung needed that comfort, too. However, the impact of those words only worked because it came from his patient. They were the ones suffering the most, so the fact that they were able to show him thanks helped Seok-hyung reconcile with his own failings and struggle. In the song Seok-hyung sings, one of the lyrics roughly translates as such: Can everything under the sky stand alone? Like the flowers that endure the summer rains and the trees that last winter storms, the beautiful things of this world can survive through the rough periods, but not everything needs to stand alone. People can lift each other up, and find comfort in sharing pain and extending empathy just as Seok-hyung and the couple did.
While Seok-hyung was blessed with a kind patient, Ik-joon’s scenario depicted what happens when a patient abuses a doctor’s goodwill. If Jung-won is the most tenderhearted, then Ik-joon is the friendliest of the bunch. Despite his strenuous schedule, he rarely loses his smile because he is a naturally sunny person. Thus, when he greets his patient with a frown, the audience immediately recognizes the severity of the situation. The problem Ik-joon has with the patient is his disrespectful attitude. Though his daughters risked their lives to save him, the patient continues to drink and ruin his liver. He disregards their sacrifice, and to Ik-joon who sees countless patients die before finding a donor, it makes sense why this patient’s behavior troubles him. He cannot, in good conscience, treat him anymore because he has seen both the receiving and donating families’ side to transplant stories. Ik-joon respects himself and his patients too much for him to endure someone who so easily tramples on these invaluable opportunities, and though it clearly pained him, he turned the patient away.
Unlike her friends, Song-hwa had an entirely different relationship with her VIP patient’s guardian, and while it was not explicitly stated, I wonder if the response was partly a result of her gender. Because Song-hwa is a relatively young looking female, the mother assumed she was a resident and questioned her credentials. Maybe the mother would have acted this way with any of the main cast, but the important issue is that Song-hwa’s experience is not uncommon for women in positions of power. Despite women making huge gains in educational attainment and workforce participation, multiple glass ceilings exist, and biases towards women cause misunderstandings like these to become commonplace. The mother’s mistake is brushed aside, concealed in a poorly framed compliment (“you look so young!”), and fails to address the root cause of these problems. The arrow is directed at Song-hwa (her appearance) rather than at the mother for holding these misconceptions, and veiled in her comment is the inherent belittling of her worth.
However, Song-hwa uses this moment as a teaching opportunity, and tells the mother that residents are doctors, too. The main takeaway in this story is that status should not dictate how we treat each other—everyone deserves respect. The mother viewed residents as lackeys rather than as doctors, and mistrusted everything they said. In a way, I think the mother acted arrogantly in a misguided attempt to garner respect. She wanted the doctors to treat her child with the best care, and thought being bossy would make them submit to her wishes. Once she realizes her mistake and sees how much Song-hwa went above and beyond for her daughter even without the posturing, she strips herself of the extravagant outfits for something humbler. Song-hwa’s poise and class not only influenced the mother to change, but her thoughtfulness touched Seon-bin who felt undervalued by the guardian. Seeing Song-hwa defend her and then refuse to be interviewed without her residents sent a clear message that she truly sees them as equals who deserve respect and recognition. My only worry about Song-hwa is that her drive for excellence and her unbending compassion will push her to overwork herself. Though she moved out of the city to rest, it feels like she’s been doing even more than before, and I fear the fatigue will eventually catch up to her.