Did Chicago Med Just Go Too Far With Natalie’s TBI?

chicago med season 5 dr natalie manning nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for the October 23 episode of Chicago Med Season 5, called "Got a Friend in Me."

Natalie Manning has arguably had the most difficult ride of Chicago Med Season 5 so far, although Maggie certainly isn't having an easy time of it, and Will did get conked on the head with a microscope in the "Infection" crossover last week. That said, Will didn't wind up with a traumatic brain injury from the microscope, whereas Natalie is still struggling with the TBI she sustained in the Season 4 cliffhanger. Now, after Natalie's handling of a case involving a young boy, she may have gone too far.

Since Natalie was still on light duty in "Got a Friend in Me," she was given the case of Lucas, a 2-year-old boy, who seemed to be suffering from no more than a case of a nosebleed and slight fever due to allergies. She wasn't thrilled that the parents preferred holistic treatments to antibiotics, but it didn't cause a problem between them... until Natalie came to the conclusion that little Lucas might have pneumonia rather than a strong case of allergies.

Will backed her up to this point, as the symptoms could point toward pneumonia, even if the allergies seemed like the much more likely conclusion. Natalie's chest x-ray was inconclusive, and the parents had enough of her attempts to treat Lucas and her changing diagnoses, and they decided to take Lucas home rather than let Natalie hang some bags of antibiotics. This is when Natalie went too far.

Rather than respect the parents' wishes, as Sharon likely would have instructed Natalie if she'd been present, Natalie just went ahead and shut the hospital room door in the parents' faces and proceeded to begin hanging the antibiotics to drip. Panicking, the parents called security, and the episode ended before the door could be opened. So how can Med come back from this for Natalie?

I'm guessing that the best-case scenario for Natalie at this point -- although not so much for Lucas -- is that the boy actually does have pneumonia. That might be the only way the parents could conceivably come around to what Natalie did, which really crossed a line even if he does have what she thinks he has.

Even if they do decide to drop their objections to Natalie locking them out to administer drugs to their son against their wishes, security has been called, people were screaming, and there's not really any way of trying to make like it never happened.

If this was real life -- or Law & Order: SVU, really, which does technically exist in the same universe as One Chicago -- then I'd be wondering if this would be the second show of the fall TV season to potentially yank the female lead's medical license.

I'm not sure Chicago Med would go that far with Natalie, especially since the Philip mystery is ongoing, and nobody would really be handy to be suspicious of him if Natalie isn't around her concerned coworkers anymore. She doesn't seem likely to connect the dots herself any time soon. Could she simply be suspended?

It's worth noting that Chicago Med itself seems to agree that Natalie went too far:

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Whatever happens, "Got a Friend in Me" seemingly proved that the way she nailed her treatments in the "Infection" crossover was a fluke rather than evidence that her TBI was no longer affecting her. That said, is it possible that it wasn't the TBI that pushed Natalie to do this, but rather her frustration at being kept on light duty and Will second-guessing her? We'll have to wait and see.

New episodes of Chicago Med air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, ahead of new episodes of Chicago Fire at 9 p.m. ET and Chicago P.D. at 10 p.m. ET.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).