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Doctor John – Episode 3-4 Recap

Doctor John – Episode 3-4 Recap

As Si Young sits in the ambulance with Park on the way to the hospital, she remembers Yo han asking her to save the patient. She had asked how and he had replied by asking her to tie her shoelaces first. He had then told her to take Park to the hospital first.

At the ER, she hands over the patient to Lee Yoo Joon and asks him to check Park’s kidneys.

At the penitentiary, Yo han is happily listening to music in the infirmary. Jeon Nam asks him what is wrong with inmate 5353 and Yo han says he doesn’t know as 5353’s fate is in Si Young’s hands now.


At the hospital, Lee Yoo Joon figures out that Si Young asked him to check the kidney based on Yo Han’s instructions. He seems to already know Yo han and is annoyed that she followed an inmate’s opinion. He calls Yo han a disqualified doctor and tells her not to trust Yo Han.

Just then, the test results come back indicating a problem with the kidney function. Yoo Joon is mellowed down as he shows her the results and asks if Yo Han mentioned what he was suspecting.

Yo Han calls Si-young using Jeong Nam’s phone and asks if the kidneys have been checked. He asks for a kidney biopsy to be done. She asks him what disease he was suspecting and he says she wouldn’t believe him if he told her, as there is only a 0.00001 % probability of it being positive. He adds that it could be the same reason why the patient may die too.

Yo Han says Fabry disease (rare genetic disease) presents with the same symptoms.

(A 0.00001 % Hope)

Yoo Joon says he can’t do a kidney biopsy based on a slim chance of it being Fabry disease but Si-young is persistent as Park may die due to the slim chance. Yoo Joon says the disease needs Enzymatic Therapy and the medication is hard to come by. Seeing her determination, he tells her to check Park’s family history. He says that he also specialises in anesthesiology after learning from her that she is a second-year resident and says he is a fellow (undergoing further training after completing residency). She agrees to check Park’s family history. He tells her not to pass on what inmate 6238 says since he doesn’t trust Yo han.


Just then, Jeon Nam reaches the hospital and Si-young fills him in. He orders the officers to check the family history. Jeong Nam asks if she is okay with staying here as she missed the flight. Si-young says she will leave once the patient is stable. Jeong Nam wonders why Yo Han said Si-young was the one to save the patient.

At the penitentiary, Yo han runs his hand over the coffee mug in his hand. He remembers Park brewing fresh coffee for him secretly. Park had proudly shown him the “1st Class Barista Certificate”. He had asked Yo han to come and taste his coffee once he starts working as a barista after his release.


He passes the piping hot coffee to Yo han who blows on it. Yo han says he can’t drink something too hot or too spicy. Yo han smiles and says the coffee is perfect. He asks Park why he is being nice to him. Park says that Yo han was the first person to believe that he was not pretending to be sick.  He says his mother also lived the same way, always laughed at by his dad for pretending to be sick before passing away.

Ar present, Yo han taps his finger repeatedly against the desk before asking for another phone call.

Si Young and Jeong Nam have coffee outside the hospital and he tells her that Yoo Joon had misdiagnosed patients a couple of times and Yo han had corrected them. He says it had wounded Yoo Joon’s pride and Yo Han had become his greatest enemy though they hadn’t met even once.

Jeong Nam receives a call from Yo han and Si Young wears a proud smile as Jeong Nam tells him that they are doing a kidney biopsy. Si Young’s is upset and annoyed when Yo han hangs up without asking for her. She asks her uncle to call Yo han back.


As he takes the call, Yo Han is puzzled when she tells him that they are doing the biopsy. She asks him why he spoke to her uncle and not her. He asks her if the results are out. He tries to hang up saying they will talk after the results are out. She then asks him what did he mean when he said she was the one to save the patient.

Cha Yo Han explains that doctors wouldn’t believe the officers if they said Park had Fabry disease, so he needed a doctor to say it. She is irritated when she realises that Yo han had just borrowed her mouth.

Yo han smiles and asks if he can borrow her hands this time. He tells her to find the medication (Enzyme Replacement Therapy) as it is tough to find. He says it will take up to a week to obtain from a pharmaceutical company. He tells her that the best way to obtain it is from a hospital with a nephrology department having Fabry Disease patients. He asks her to borrow it from them.

After a series of failed attempts, Si Young finally finds a hospital with ERT. She immediately tells Yoo Joon that she found it under the condition that she would return it (as it is very expensive) if it wasn’t Fabry disease. She says she used Yoo Joon’s name and says he has a good reputation Yoo Joon starts smiling proudly and he blows his trumpet.

Jeong Nam drives her to the university and she runs in to get the ERT. He updates Dr Min (Si Young’s mother) on the status. She says that the patient is in a bad condition without a diagnosis. She tells Jeong Nam to let Si Young go. She reminds him that Park is her first patient after the incident and Si-young won’t be able to handle it if something goes wrong. Min hangs up the call.

As Si Young walks back, she sees a shop selling bracelets and she looks at the bracelet on her hand (Park had wanted to buy a similar one for his sister). She walks out with the ERT and a gift bag.

Jeong Nam says that he hasn’t seen her excited for a long time and asks her to drop out of the case after giving them the cure. He says he is worried because it is just a 0.00001 % probability. She says it was the same probability of her returning to the hospital when she left. She says she might feel better if the patient becomes better. Jeong Nam is happy as they start walking.

Si Young notices her shoelaces have become untied again and remembers Yo han asking her to tie them. He had said there are always time limits for patients and it’ll be too late if they aren’t treated by then. He told her that a doctor always needed to be ready to run.


Si Young wears a wide smile as she walks after tying her shoelace.

Si-young (holds the bracelet that she bought in her hand) checks in on Park and remembers Jeon Mun saying that they tried contacting Park’s sister but that number didn’t exist. He says  Park lived with his mother and sister after his parents’ divorce. He says Park had ended up in prison while trying to get back his sister’s stolen money.

She pulls up the blanket over Park’s chest and sits by him. As she sleeps, she has a nightmare about the incident and she wakes up with a start. It is morning and it is raining.

Yoo Joon comes with the biopsy results.

At the infirmary, Yo han makes the bed and stands appreciating the rain. The officers wonder why he is in a good mood.

At the hospital, Yoo Joon tells her that the results have come back negative. Si Young is taken aback. Yoo Joon says that they wasted time listening to Yo han. He warns her not to trust him when she doesn’t know why Yo Han was imprisoned. She asks him why Yo han was imprisoned.

Si Young is drenched in the rain as she runs into the infirmary and checks Yo Han’s inmate records. A figure in the car clicks her photos as she enters the penitentiary.

Si-young is shocked when she reads that Yo Han is serving time for committing murder.

She reads more into the case. In a flashback, we see prosecutor Son in the courtroom pleading his case. He asks Yo han to be imprisoned for 3 years for euthanizing a patient. Si-young reads articles about a kidnapper and murderer. It mentions two 6-year-old children dying the previous year.

Cha Yo han wheels his cleaning trolley in and asks what happened. She is curt as she says it is not Fabry disease and that they will treat Park for FSGS (Scarring of the kidney). Yo han says the steroid treatment will kill Park’s kidneys. He persists that Fabry disease is often mistaken for FSGS.

Si Young is accusatory as she tells him that he was an anesthesiologist who murdered his patient 3 years ago.

Meanwhile, a nurse (the woman with Prosecutor Son) sits in the church. She gets a call from Son regarding Yoon Seung Kyu’s guardian. She smiles as she listens to him and says she will be ready.


Back at the infirmary, Si-young says that the patient had terminal anal cancer and Yo han had administered a lethal amount of painkillers. She says he was sentenced to 3 years for that. Yo han admits to it and corrects her saying that it is called euthanasia and not murder.


Si Young’s eyes tear up as she accuses him saying that there is no difference since he abandoned his patient. Yo han laughs and says that doctors have just two opinions on euthanasia and says they are either for it or against it. He asks her why a second-year resident has such a detailed opinion about it.

Si young’s hands start to tremble as he watches her. She becomes defensive as he tries to place if she is feeling betrayal or fury. He sits across her and concludes it is despair because she had first thought he would give her hope but now she thinks he can’t. He asks her if she had done it too (euthanasia).


As tears trickle down her face, Yo han asks her if she could have saved the patient. He asks if the patient should be treated or cured. When she doesn’t respond, he raises his voice asking her to answer. She cries out, “No!” she starts crying saying she couldn’t have saved him.

Episode 4


Yo han asks a crying Si Young if she couldn’t do anything for the patient other than stopping the pain. He says if u can’t cure the pain, you should stop it. He asks if she did it because of that. He says if the doctor does nothing then the patient’s torment doesn’t stop.

Yo han says that Park is still undergoing pain. He asks her to go and make him feel better. He walks out of the room. He watches her through the window in the corridor for a long time.


Later on, an officer runs across the hall and tells Si-young that Park has disappeared from his room. Si-young runs out and stops as she sees Yo han standing outside. As she crosses him, he tells her that it is Fabry disease and sometimes biopsy doesn’t show zebra bodies (an indication of the disease). He tells her to run an enzyme test one last time.

She rushes into the hospital and Yoo Joon says that they undid Park’s handcuffs when he had a seizure. He says park disappeared when the guard went out. The officers, Jeong Nam Yoo Joon and Si-young spread out and search the premises.

Meanwhile, Park is on the terrace and he gets on top of the railing. He is dazed as he walks towards the edge of the terrace.


Si-young and Yoo Joon spot him from down and they rush up. Yoo Joon manages to get a hold of him right before he jumps. Yoo Joon pulls Park down towards him. Park keeps saying that he hears his mother’s voice. The rashes on his hand have worsened.

As Park is brought back to his room, Yoo Joon asks if Park had a history of mental illness. Si-young says he didn’t. He wonders why he wanted to kill himself. Si-young wonders if it was an auditory hallucination, as it is a symptom of Fabry disease but Yoo Joon brushes it off. He sends her out of the room.

She overhears Park’s father talking to Jeong Nam. He says that his wife died before turning 40 because he always thought she pretended to be ill. He says he won’t allow his son to die like that too. She later learns from Jeong Nam that Park’s sister died of chronic renal failure recently. Jeong Nam also says that Park’s elder brother is ill too.

Si Young runs into Park’s room and tells Yoo Joon about the family history that she just heard. She says the treatment is available, but many miss out and die because of late diagnosis. She asks him to do an enzyme test again. He says Park’s father has requested a transfer and he will respect his wishes.

She follows him as he walks out and tells him that the other hospital will start testing him from scratch because they ruled out Fabry disease. She says Park’s condition will become worse. Yoo Joon calls her a part-timer and tells her that they will stick to probable methods. He says she has changed a lot since yesterday and asks her to give up.

Jeong Nam comes up to her as Yoo Joon leaves and tells her that Park’s elder brother is on his way. She says she can’t do anything now as he is being transferred.

Yo Han learns from Jeong Nam that Park is being transferred and says it’ll be a mess if that happens. He starts tapping his finger on the desk. He then tells them to place the medicine ERT next to the bed and that he is coming there. Jeong Nam is puzzled. He passes the instruction to Si Young who jumps up in joy.

Si Young runs over to Yoo Joon who doesn’t want to listen to her. She asks him to send the medicine along with the patient in case they need to use it.

Yoo Joon readies the medicine and is about to place it in the room when Si Young stops him. She says he has to be injected now insisting that sometimes zebra bodies may be absent. Yoo Joon loses his cool and yells at Si Young for listening to an inmate. He asks her to get out.

As he is about to drag her out, he stops suddenly. Si-young is surprised as they stand face to face with Cha Yo Han (wearing plainclothes). Yo han asks if he is Dr Lee Yoo Joon whom he has heard so much about. He introduces himself as inmate 6238. He excuses himself and drags Si-young back into the room.


Yoo Joon asks how he got here and Jeong Nam says that as of noon today, Yo han is a free man. Yo han explains that a few years ago a patient came to Myeongwon University’s nephrology department. He says she deteriorated rapidly and required dialysis. He says she was diagnosed with FSGS after Kidney biopsy. Yo han mentions that this is the same symptoms as Park’s.

Yo han says the patient’s sister offered to give her kidney but her kidney biopsy showed thick and clear zebra bodies (positive for Fabry disease). Yoo Joon asks why the sister didn’t show the same results. Yo han says that it was obscured by many dead cells just like Park Jung Bo’s case.

Yo han tells Yoo Joon to treat Park here because, by the time the other hospital diagnoses him, his condition would’ve deteriorated more. Yoo Joon says that treatment should come only after definite diagnosis.

Yo han says the probability of people with Fabry disease is much higher than 0.00001% if you include the patients who didn’t get the diagnoses despite visiting hospitals many times.

Yoon Joon is unmoved and asks if he wants to inject an expensive cure to an ambiguous patient. He asks why he should risk it. Yo han says the patient is the one in risk because he has been put on steroids and his kidneys may fail. Yoo Joon asks if he threatening him but Yo han calls it a warning from the patient’s body.

Yoo Joon tells Yo han that he might be a famous professor of medicine, but Park is his patient right now and asks him to stay out of it.


Yo han asks Yoo Joon if he is really sure that it isn’t Fabry disease. Yo han says he has followed up on park for the past year. Yoo Joon says he won’t risk his license like that and orders the patient’s transfer.

Si Young, who was watching this exchange, picks up the medicine and tries to inject it into Park. Yoo Joon grabs her hand and she drops the syringe but Yo han catches it before it falls down. He is about to inject the medicine when Yoo Joon warns him that it is illegal to treat without a license.


Yo Han pauses and asks Si Young, “Dr Kang… are you a doctor?” After a long pause, Si-young replies, “Yes. I am a doctor”.


Yo Han hands the syringe to her. She takes the syringe from him and injects the medicine. Si Young says she will take responsibility and a furious Yoo Joon asks how she plans to do it. She says she will take any punishment, as the patient suffers if the doctor doesn’t do anything.

Just then, Park’s brother is brought into the room in a wheelchair. He cries seeing that his brother is sick. The father holds Yoo Joon’s hand and begs him to save his sons. He says he doesn’t want to lose them like his wife and daughter.

Cha Yo Han asks Yoo Joon to do a Kidney biopsy on the brother and says he will see them (zebra bodies) right away. He places his hand over Park’s covered leg reassuringly.

Yoo Joon checks the biopsy on the brother’s kidney. Si Young is happy when she sees the zebra bodies through the microscope. She comments as she says Park will live. She rushes out happily.


Yoo Joon follows her and he lets the family know that it is Fabry disease. He says both the sons can be treated. The father starts crying and thanks Yoo Joon.

Si Young’s eyes scan the area for Cha yo han and Jeon Nam says he has just left. He says Yo Han is free now and he doesn’t know where he went.

Si Young spots him walking downstairs towards the entrance of the hospital. She runs towards him. She follows him out of the hospital but he gets into a car and it pulls away. She runs behind the car calling out his name but the car drives away.


Yo han watches her through the side-view mirror as she stops to catch her breath but he doesn’t stop the car. Tears well up in Si Young’s eyes, as she watches the car drive away. She wonders if she can do well.


Doctor Min makes an announcement saying that she is considering accepting Kang Si Young back in the anesthesiology department. The hall is filled with murmurs as she says Si Young has been undergoing psychotherapy and is free from PTSD.

Dr Kwon Suk says that despite Si Young’s good residential evaluation they can’t be sure if she is ready to treat patients. Dr Min Joo-Kyung says the time taken to recover will differ from person to person. Other doctors express concern that Si Young excessively empathises with the patients. They continue to express their opinions. Kang Mi-rae (Si Young’s sister) frowns.

One day, Si Young reaches the Anaesthesiology Station (back to work). She walks in and all the residents are surprised. Kang Mi Rae doesn’t seem too happy seeing her. Si-young apologises for quitting suddenly. Heo Jun is the first one to welcome her back. He says that he is in his fourth year now and they are her seniors. All of them walk out.


Si Young calls Kang Mi Rae and Mi Rae tells her to not call her by her first name as she is in her third year now. Si Young says that she had two choices, either to run away or come back here. Mi Rae says she saw the one-way ticket to Madagascar. Mi Rae asks her why she didn’t go since she wouldn’t last here for long anyway. Mi Rae walks away slamming the door shut behind her.


Si-young goes over to her locker and opens it. Yo Han’s words asking her if she is a doctor echoes in her mind. She clicks a picture of her doctor gown and sends it to someone.

A phone in one of the patient’s rooms in the hospital lights up as it receives the message “it’s my first day back at the hospital. I’m sorry it took so long. I won’t let you down”. The patient seems to be on life support.

Si-young walks out of the room wearing the doctor’s gown and someone who is walking by bumps into her. Si-young apologises but the person walks away without looking back. She recognises the familiar figure of Cha Yo han as he walks away. She immediately follows him.


Cha Yo han walks down the corridor as he pulls out the Hospital ID card with his name on it.

Si Young catches up to him near the elevator and he turns around to look at her. He wears his doctor’s coat as she continues to look at him.

Cha Yo han says, “We meet again”.


Image Courtesy –SBS


Usually, in dramas, we see complicated cases/diseases, but the rare Fabry disease is different from the rest. Fabry disease is treatable but it is fatal to Patients because they weren’t diagnosed on time or not diagnosed at all.

Seeing what a tough time Cha Yo han had convincing both Si Young and Yoo Joon to accept his diagnosis, makes it easy to understand why.  This deadly disease has already been presented in other dramas before, but this drama was the clearest (out of the ones I have seen) in portraying the condition from its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

It’s ironic how everyone challenges Cha Yo Han’s diagnosis just because he is serving time, even though he hasn’t misdiagnosed any patient. He doesn’t lose his temper (like Yoo Joon) and explains the situation calmly despite knowing that his diagnosis is right.

This series touches upon a sensitive subject of Euthanasia. There are two types of Euthanasia (assisted suicide). One is legal and is called Passive euthanasia [withdrawing medical treatment for a terminally ill (or life expectancy of fewer than 6 months) patient with the patient’s consent, e.g. switching off life support machines etc]. The other illegal and is called Active euthanasia (where the medical professionals deliberately do something that causes the patient to die, e.g. giving a lethal amount of drug). The major difference between the two is letting die and killing.

Cha Yo Han’s case falls under the second category despite the patient being terminally ill and hence is a crime. It looks like Prosecutor Son still has a vendetta against Cha yo han.

The scene with Cha yo Han’s explanation as to why he chose to euthanize his patient was a great watch.

Si-young put her career on the line when she injected Park with that drug. It goes to show the amount of dedication required from the doctor’s side to save a patient’s life. It also shows that she has grown to trust Cha yo han as a doctor (perhaps because they share common principles).

I wonder who is the person that keeps clicking photos outside the penitentiary and what his purpose is.

The last scene was well made as seeing Cha Yo han in the same hospital as Si Young took me by surprise (the OST – Way Back by Safira.K is added to my playlist). It is good that both Si Young and Cha Yo han are out of the penitentiary and back where they belong- inside the hospital. I look forward to seeing them working together.

-By Soul Sword-

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