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June 01, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Q On ER’s May 17 finale, Anthony Edwards’ Dr. Mark Greene appears to have intentionally let a wounded murderer die when he took cardiac paddles and shocked the air, instead of the patient’s chest. Would the heart monitor — or his chest — give the doc away?

A The paddles leave no impressions of electrical contact on the chest, but the monitor would tell the tale, says Dr. Dave Holson, an emergency specialist at New York City’s Harlem Hospital. ”Normally, when you shock the patient, even if you don’t [get the heart beating again], the monitor shows some kind of impact. If you do it in the air, [there’d be] no change in the patient’s underlying rhythm.” Sounds like the good doctor needs a good lawyer.

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