Another Reason to Dislike Grey’s Anatomy, If You Needed One

What? They don’t represent reality?


Researchers from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, screened the popular medical dramas “Grey’s Anatomy,” “House,” “Private Practice” and “ER” to see if TV medical dramas were helping to educate the public about first aid and seizures.

The researchers found in 327 episodes screened, 59 seizures occurred. Fifty-one seizures took place in a hospital. Nearly all first aid was performed by nurses or doctors.

But the study found inappropriate practices such as holding the person down, trying to stop involuntary movements or putting something in the person’s mouth, occurred in 25 cases, or nearly 46 percent of the incidents.

Medical shows resemble real health care with real nurses and physicians in the same way that Chef Boyardee resembles real Italian food. In other words, you’re getting the Pablumized pop cultural interpretation of health care — and to put a kindly spin on it, it’s fictionalized.

I wonder how many people have self-treated themselves or treated their loved ones on the basis of what they saw on House, with predictably bad results.  And I wonder too how long it will be before you see the inevitable disclaimers preceeding medical shows.


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  1. #1 by JennJilks on Tuesday 16 February 2010 - 0954

    You have an excellent point here.
    In fact, what harm has been done by CSI, cop shows, et al, in which we assume that murder can be solved in 48 minutes, and that we have no problem with time, money or technology solving crimes.

    I heard an interview, too, with a man whose job it is to design fake computers for the movies. I never even thought of that. But , so often, the technology goes wrong and no computer company would want their name associated with failure!

  2. #2 by rww on Tuesday 16 February 2010 - 1244

    “I wonder how many people have self-treated themselves or treated their loved ones on the basis of what they saw on House,”

    You mean just keep trying every weird thing you can and hope you cure the patient before you kill him.

  3. #3 by Maha on Tuesday 16 February 2010 - 2039

    Oh curses for not being able to find the link but I was reading that new doctors were also influenced by ER – specifically, they were intubating wrong based on what they saw George Clooney do. Scary!

  4. #4 by Maha on Tuesday 16 February 2010 - 2040

  5. #5 by mog on Thursday 18 February 2010 - 2114

    I thought of Maha’s link too. Medical students and new doctors learning from medical type shows.

    There is a blog that does a critique of House and posts the real medicine.

  6. #6 by Art Doctor on Saturday 20 February 2010 - 2211

    When I got my ears pierced in first year University, I fell in the bathroom at night when cleaning them with rubbing alcohol.

    It turns out that crossing your arms over to one side can trigger an episode like this. I might have also been in a lot of pain and shock from the pain as well.

    Only thing is, we had a bathroom with subway tile 3/4 up and when I felt queasy, I sat on the toilet seat behind me to try and chill out. The next thing I knew was I hit my head on the wall beside me, and woke up on the floor (probably 2-3 minutes later) with my hands on my ears, spit leaking from my mouth, and my head shaking side to side off the tile floor with my hands, I guess, trying to stop my head from moving. I was out from the time I hit my head to falling on the floor and have no recollection of if I stood up and then fell, or just hit my head and fell, and no memory of what happened between this phase. After this happened, I remember calling out for my mom, and she didn’t come, but I realized I was not calling her loud enough and had trouble speaking clearly, so called her louder, and still she didn’t come. When I was able to, I stood up and walked over to see her, but felt completely out of it still and told her that my head was shaking on the floor. She was not very helpful, I have to say, and just told me to sit upright and lean against her until it passes. I had a thundering headache all over after the episode and felt very nauseous as if it may occur again, but took some Tylenol and went to bed.

    I have since fainted three times due to high temperatures in the summer, but never from anything like this.

    Recently I had an episode of Vertigo, but went to my GP about it, because it is not something to ignore- could be very serious. I dread having an experience again like the bathroom incident because I was alone and it was very scary, feeling like all I could do was hold my head still to try and make it stop. I still get shivers thinking of the experience. If I was more mature, maybe I would have called 911 myself, but can only move forward. It’s amazing how much one actually remembers from a situation like that- it was totally frightening.

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