Sunday, March 27, 2005

Painful television

I will have the dubious distinction of beginning my surgery internship shortly after the beginning of the new ABC program, "Grey's Anatomy," which is about a group of surgical interns. Initially I had high hopes that the program would help to illuminate for the general public what surgical interns actually experience. What a foolish little expectation that was! I only caught the last half hour of the show today, but it was enough for me to grow terribly dissatisfied with the veracity of the plot. First, the interns on this program appear roughly as competent as mediocre third year medical students. Second, at every turn the doctors on the program violated HIPAA standards and residency work hour regulations; please don't watch this show and develop the misapprehension that doctors shout to each other through a crowded elevator doorway the intimate details of a patient case, or that whole teams of interns still work 48 hour shifts before retiring to home! Those things don't happen anymore, thankfully. Also, interns don't salivate over the chance to stand passively in the operating room during a brain surgery -- not scrubbed in -- and then have an orgasm when offered a momentary opportunity to look into the microscope. "It was such a high; I don't know why anybody does drugs," said the main character, the intern Dr. Grey. Aack! Continuing the strong dialogue, the attending neurosurgeon (who also happens to be Grey's love interest -- hey, it's drama, right?) nods like a bobble-head doll and says, "Yeah." Way to contribute to the profundity, there, big guy! So in any event it appears that neurosurgeons don't undergo the longest, most arduous residency and work the most challenging hours in medicine out of a sense of professional duty and committment to their patients; nay, they do it 'cuz it's better than crack!

As for the actual medical content of the show -- well, I won't waste time pointing out the whole host of inaccuracies. Suffice it to say that there were plenty -- more inaccuracies than truths. Painful, painful, painful.

As much as I hate to face this fact, I actually feel compelled to watch "Grey's Anatomy" repeatedly so as to know the extent of the misinformation that will bombard the public during the next several months before the show gets canceled. I can't wait until somebody hears that I'm a surgical intern soon and asks, "Is it really better than drugs?" Yeah, it's like sniffing nose candy all day long. I can't wait -- I'm going to feel like Tony Montana sitting behind a foot-tall heap of yeyo, and I'm going to get paid for it! The world is mine!


At 9:23 PM, Blogger phoenix said...

Congrats Ian on two days in a row of posting before 2am!! Thanks for the linkage on your site and I will repay the kindness with some linkage in return. I really do enjoy reading your witty commentaries on life as an intern.

Hey, at least those kind of questions will be better than the "Oh wow's" and the responses not as general. Oh! I can hear the thought processes running now with some witty answers... don't let them keep you awake!

At 6:43 AM, Blogger kingfelix said...

Ian. With regard to the dire lack of accuracy, you'll now have a more refined sense of the awful effect the "Irish" and "English" accents and cultural depictions featured in American TV drama and movies has on me.

I've resorted to issuing a blanket ban, against all my liberal instincts, to be sure, to regulate my blood pressure and stop me sitting there shouting "NO! WE don't talk like that OR do that!"

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Carlo said...

Ian, I have noted that TV and movies both seem to think that "creative license" is a license to lie. The military, especially lately, is a wonderful example of exactly that. There seem to be people that think that military JAG officers really do the stuff seen on "JAG".

You would hope that people are smart enough to figure it out, but there are people that BELIEVE the crap that is seen in DRAMATIC television shows and movies. Wait a minute, aren't dramas made more suspenseful than real life just to add DRAMA???????
Amazing, isn't it?


At 6:36 AM, Blogger Rachel said... less thing I have to try to cram into my schdule. ;-). Thanks for the review.

At 10:45 AM, Blogger KarbonKountyMoos said...

Well, Green Acres is just like here...

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