Wednesday on Series Finale of ‘NY Med’: A Wall Street Banker and Mother Faces the Most Frightening Choice of Her Life

By David Ford

Aug 16, 2012 10:10am

Plus: He Might Be the Cockiest Heart Surgeon in the Hospital but How Good Is He? 

And: Tricky Waters for Two Married Residents Who Operate Together and Sleep Together 

            For a full year, ABC News cameras had unprecedented access to document the mayhem and the miracles that occur daily inside the walls of Columbia and Weill Cornell Medical Centers — the crown jewels of the prestigious New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City — for the eight-part series “NY Med.” Lutheran Medical Center also participated, adding a Brooklyn dimension to the series. In “Episode 108,” which airs TUESDAY, AUGUST 22 (10-11  p.m., ET), viewers will meet the following patients, doctors and nurses:

Rita Saverino made a career in the cold-eyed world of investment banking where success and failure are measured in profit and loss. Now this warm and affectionate mother of two boys must face the worst kind of risk analysis. She must calculate whether to have a rare and potentially fatal surgery in an effort to excise the extensive cancer in her abdomen. The surgery will remove her liver, stomach, kidney and intestines from her abdomen, cut away the adherent sarcoma, and finally put the organs back in Rita’s body. Dr. Tomoaki Kato is world famous for this operation, which has been criticized by some who say  that not enough studies exist to support such a radical procedure. For Rita’s family, it is a gamble for life, a wager it cannot refuse.

Chris Towe and his wife Vanessa Ho are residents in surgery who sometimes get to operate together. This unique portrait of how a young couple tries to conduct a marriage in front of colleagues in the high stakes, high pressured world of medical residency is revealing, funny and moving.

Allan Stewart is a cardiac surgeon who drives high-end sports cars and is engaged to a celebrity food show host. He says there are three kinds of surgeons “slow and bad,” “fast and bad” and “fast and good.” He says he is the latter.   Unabashed in evaluating his own skills, Stewart knows that nobody wants a surgeon who lacks confidence or is unsure of himself.

Jesse Gottfried looks like a 13-year old boy. The problem is that Jesse is actually 18 and has Crohn’s disease, which leaves him with intestinal blockages so severe that he has trouble absorbing the nutrients his body needs to grow. Fabrizio Michelassi is the charming chief of surgery at New York Presbyterian’s Weill Cornell hospital who has invented a new kind of colon surgery that could provide Jesse with a normal life.

“NY Med” follows the irascible, compassionate and, at times, cocky attending surgeons who try to change the trajectory of lives by relying on sheer medical brilliance and a healthy dose of old-fashioned good luck.  The eight-part series takes a candid look at how cutting-edge medicine often makes the difference, although even the best surgeons can find themselves flirting with disaster. The raucous ER staff trades jibes with strong-willed New Yorkers in moments that can be poignantly heartbreaking or off-the-hook hilarious. These doctors spend far more time with each other than with their families, developing complicated and intertwined personal relationships.

Terence Wrong is executive producer of “NY Med.” Erica Baumgart and Chris Perera are supervising producers. Monica DelaRosa is series producer and Andy Genovese is the broadcast producer.

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