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The Practice

The Practice airs Sunday at 10PM on ABC All times listed are for the Pacific time zone
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Ally McBeal

 

TP-514 "The Day After"

Doug Salvesen, a litigator at the Boston firm of Yurko & Perry, will tell you if the The Practice still makes perfect.

Archives of The Practice reviews, along with reviews for other legal shows, can be found at FindLaw's Insider Reviews.

February 11, 2001

Moore's Law, which is not really a law, postulates that computer processor speed doubles every two years. While I was watching the past episode of The Practice, I kept thinking that there must be some television equivalent of Moore's Law.

But first, the box scores. Last week, William Hinks posthumously blew up the offices of Donnell, Young, Dole & Frutt. Rebecca and Lucy were injured and taken to the hospital. Lucy looked to be seriously injured, but her injuries healed quickly and, by the end of the show, she was almost as good as new. Rebecca, who had the presence of mind to realize that there was a bomb in the tape recorder that Hinks had mailed, was more seriously hurt. A doctor mentioned something about her spleen and her kidney, I think.

After going to work on her, the doctors inform the waiting assembly, which includes Rebecca's mother, that Rebecca needs a transfusion of blood. Rebecca's mom objects, pointing out that Rebecca is a Jehovah's Witness (which seems to be news to everybody) and the doctors can just forget about giving her any blood. Apparently, Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to accept blood transfusions because the Bible says so.

I never knew that Jehovah's Witnesses had a thing about blood. As The Practice pointed out, the blood belief is based on a couple of Biblical passages which prohibit the consumption of blood. While most other religions take these passages to mean that certain types of foods cannot be eaten, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that consumption of blood includes blood transfusions (though organ transplants are apparently acceptable). They do take this very seriously. There was one case in California recently in which a Jehovah's Witness was involved in a minor car accident. She refused a blood transfusion and died. The driver of the car was prosecuted and convicted of manslaughter (though the jury found him not guilty of murder).

There has never been an indication that Rebecca followed any of the beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses or that she felt the same way they do about blood. This is precisely the point that Donnell makes when he seeks to have a Court compel the doctors to give Rebecca a blood transfusion. He argues, that since Rebecca seems to have rejected many of the tenets followed by the Witnesses, it is reasonable to assume that she does not ascribe to their position on blood. And, after all, shouldn't we give her the transfusion and keep her alive so we can ask her? Donnell's constant repetition of statements that "A life is at stake," and "Any doubt must be resolved in favor of life" was grating after a while.

As an aside, I find Donnell slightly overbearing as an attorney. Generally, he is not trying to convince his audience as much as beat them into submission. Donnell's look, his gestures, and his tone, all convey his belief that any view which contradicts his is simply asinine. I used to work with an attorney who was very bright but suffered from this same ailment. He could not imagine that any reasonable person could disagree with him, so any disagreement was treated as evidence of stupidity. He lost a fair amount of arguments this way. Donnell, too, loses his argument, and the Judge refuses to force Rebecca to accept a blood transfusion. (My wife, who is a nurse, points out that this never would have been an issue in reality, because Rebecca would have been given blood in the emergency room as soon as she entered the hospital and before her mother could have objected).

Back to my first point. The identification of the blood transfusion issue, the legal research regarding it, the initial ex parte hearing, the preliminary injunction hearing, the evidentiary hearing, all take place in one day. TV law practiced at hyperspeed. But this is nothing when compared to the birth of Lindsay's baby. Following the Judge's ruling on the blood transfusion issue, Lindsay's water breaks and she goes into labor. With the Judge holding onto her back, Lindsay delivers a healthy, pinky-looking baby in two minutes. Before DSL and TiVo, there was "TV time," but at least there was the semblance of the passage of time. A woman would enter a hospital, there was some interval of time, and she would emerge with a child. Now, time just seems to fly. Labor takes two minutes. Cases are filed, litigated, and tried in two days. It just takes your breath away.

There was, as there usually is, another plotline. The second story focused on Ellenor's efforts to help her friend, Kevin Riley, get his job back on Boston Public, another David Kelley TV show. Riley was fired because he did not snitch on another teacher who was involved with a student. Despite Ellenor's efforts, the principal and the school board refuse to reinstate Riley. This just makes Ellenor mad and, presumably on Monday's episode of Boston Public, she prevails. But that's another show and another review

These articles originally appeared on FindLaw (www.findlaw.com)

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Sara Evans
Sara Evans

1. Legal Notice: "The Practice" TM and (or copyright) Fox and its related companies. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, duplication, or distribution in any form is expressly prohibited.; and

2. Disclaimer: This web site, its operators, and any content contained on this site relating to "The Practice" are not authorized by Fox.

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