"Life is measured here in split seconds; hesitate and people die."
From the opening minutes of CBS' new medical drama Code Black, the characters and narrative reveal this could be a bright spot among the 20 new broadcast TV shows debuting this fall.
Thrusting viewers into a real-world emergency room, it dramatizes the great lengths medical professionals go to save a single life — including one in the womb.
Created through a collaboration of former physician Ryan McGarry and writer/producer Michael Seitzman, Code Black takes place in a fast-paced trauma center in Los Angeles. In the ER, it's known as "code black" when the volume of patients exceeds resources; then even first-day medical residents deal directly with patients' life-and-death traumas.
Life-affirming moments shine through in the chaotic, intense pilot episode. Medical residents conflict over the best way to treat a nine-month pregnant woman, who appears to have flu symptoms.
After the young mother is released from the hospital, one doctor-in-training realizes it could be carbon monoxide poisoning. She ends up in an ambulance with the unconscious pregnant patient.
Stuck in LA traffic, the resident calls in and learns the ER is facing a "code black" status; she'll have to deliver the baby by C-Section in the ambulance. "You've done an OB rotation, you've witnessed plenty of these," her supervising physician says on the call.
With guidance from the experienced doctors by phone, who continue their life-saving efforts on other patients near death, ultimately the sound of the baby's first cry brings a hush in the ER — then, slowly, smiles on every face.
"I've got her!" announces the medical resident on speakerphone. "She's so beautiful." This climactic scene was such a powerful statement for life, bringing me to tears.
Men and women on the front lines rescuing citizens from accidents, medical trauma, fires and crime see death daily. They encounter the worst of everything life can bring, as we see in the characters played by veteran actors Luis Guzmán (Traffic, The Count of Monte Cristo) and Marcia Gay Harden (Mona Lisa Smile, The Hoax).
Yet when a new life is born as a result of their efforts, it brings them peace and joy. It breathes renewed life into what they do. It is not an inconvenience for them. Life is precious and they know it.
Many of the best stories in film and television, from family-friendly movies to edgier science-fiction sagas, celebrate new life and uphold the value of every human being — bringing hope to those caught up in the storyline. Most of all, I picture God smiling and celebrating this new creation of His.
Code Black points to the noble purpose of medical science: to save and preserve lives. Though sometimes overlooked by a politicized health care industry — where many defend a woman's right to end her baby's life at any stage in the womb — this medical drama plot is quite revealing.
What it reveals is that deep inside every human is the appreciation of new life, no matter how inconvenient. God, the author of life, designed a man and woman together to bring forth offspring in His image. Most of us instinctively recognize this miracle.
But many are not willing to admit it because of out-of-control political correctness. They come up with right-sounding arguments to explain away the evil being perpetrated by Planned Parenthood. Try as they might to ignore this miracle of life in the womb, they cannot deny the truth in all honesty.
More and more people today, particularly Christian leaders, are finding it harder to deny the immorality and corruption of the abortion industry. The exception seems to be elected officials who rely on Planned Parenthood funds in order to be re-elected.
Every year, the pro-life movement gains more ground as science confirms what we see revealed in scripture: that life begins at conception. Truly, humans made in the image of God are the apple of His eye.
Our nation faces an emergency. Now the pro-life movement needs to a call a "code black" status — all hands on deck during this critical moment. In a culture hungry for truth, the value of every precious life must come front and center.
The pilot episode of Code Black is currently available to watch free of charge. Rated TV-14 for realistic medical trauma situations and some language.