About the ads

  1. Check out PREMED.me!
    Offers FREE service to help premeds manage their applications and MCAT study calendars and identify schools to target.

grey's anatomy - what tv show portrays medicine realistically?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by korndoctor, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. SDN is a nonprofit organization. Services are made possible through the generous support of SDN members and sponsors. Thank you.
  1. korndoctor

    korndoctor Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Messages:
    418
    SDN 7+ Year Member

    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    what tv show portrays medicine realistically?

    any opinions about House or Grey's Anatomy?
  2. kimmcauliffe

    kimmcauliffe Surfer Chum

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    372
    Location:
    Pismo Beach, California
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Realistically, I think the shows that are the most accurate are the reality ones on TLC or Discovery. I used to watch this rad one called Resident Life on TLC. There was another one called The Residents on Discovery.
  3. RDickerson

    RDickerson

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Denton, Tx
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I bought the 1st season of House on DVD, and I gotta say it's pretty realistic. I thought before that some things seemed out of place (such as Dr. House performing surgery once) however upon going back and watching it was a minor surgery that he probably was allowed to do *shrugs*.

    From what I've seen the only unrealistic part is how he handles his superiors. I'm sure he would be fired in a heartbeat.
  4. plrae12

    plrae12 studentforlife

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    Messages:
    79
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I agree, those reality shows are a lot closer. ie Trauma: Life in ER. It used to be on discovery health channel. Grey's Anatomy is cute though-- i'm acutally a fan of the show.
  5. jbrice1639

    jbrice1639 Cub Fan, Bud Man

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Messages:
    1,819
    Location:
    Chicago
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    On the DVD of Scrubs: Season One, they interview a few doctors who all said that the emotions and actions of the characters on that show are the most accurate portrayal of the experience of being an intern or a resident that they have seen on any TV show.

    Additionally, every storyline in the show is based on cases/patients/experiences from actual doctors who are friends with the creator.

    While the show itself is hilarious and often times absurd, I think it's interesting that doctors describe the characters as being the most realistic and believable.
  6. willow18

    willow18

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2005
    Messages:
    583
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    ER, Greys Anatomy and most others are full of bull. One thing on GA annoyed me most when I watched an episode of it, The chief resident, an AA woman, talks like she just left the Ghetto. Gimme a break.
  7. Gut Shot

    Gut Shot

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2003
    Messages:
    6,548
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    SDN 10+ Year Member
    Scrubs is the most accurate, despite the absurdities. I'm not even an IM resident and yet I identify with the characters and situations far more than any other fictional ****e on TV. It has ER whipped (these days, at least).

    Grey's Anatomy is just a character drama that happens to be set in a hospital. Its portrayal of medicine and resident life is incredibly off-base. I watched it with some of my fellow M4's (back when we were M4's) and that aspect of it made us squirm. The girls kept watching it, though.

    House is entertaining to watch, and the medical mysteries are rooted in fact, but it's still pretty out there.
  8. AcousticDoc

    AcousticDoc Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2005
    Messages:
    142
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    lol I love watching Greys Anatomy to see how many ways they can make asian males look bad.
  9. Arsenic

    Arsenic posting from the future Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    May 5, 2004
    Messages:
    14,672
    Location:
    NYC
    Status:
    Fellow [Any Field]
    Physician SDN 7+ Year Member
    one of my teachers in med school actually told me the exact same thing. :laugh:
  10. big_smiles

    big_smiles Tiffanator - -BoooYaaHH!

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    NY
    Status:
    MD/PhD Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I like Grey's anatomy. . can't say it's always realistic and there is a lot of drama going on between the residents, but I like the show :)
    I think Trauma: life in the ER is a more accurate view, but it shows worse-case scenarios in emergency medicine, not the typical day-to-day things that people would go to the ER for (x-rays for broken bones, stitching small wounds, alcohol poisoning, PTSD, etc). You see the gunshot wounds and car accident victines and all the worse-case scenarios, but interesting.
    The learning channel (TLC) has a whole night of medical shows like one night a week: Trauma, labor and delivery, medical mysteries, etc
  11. Messerschmitts

    Messerschmitts Mythic Dawn acolyte

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2005
    Messages:
    953
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    HELL YEAH!!!! I love the show to death, but other than the absurd medical inaccuracies (I'm willing to look the other way for Ellen Pompeo's to-die-for eyes), this thing is what pisses me off the most.
  12. BaylorGuy

    BaylorGuy Enter witty comment here

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,925
    Location:
    Galveston
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Does anyone else thing Ellen Pompeo looks emaciated....my eyes burn when i look at her.
  13. erin682

    erin682 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Messages:
    622
    Location:
    Hogwarts
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I like House but it bothers me how realistic everyone thinks it is. I'm only in my 2nd year and some of their 'medical mysteries' are laughable. They spend whole episodes trying to figure out a diagnosis that one simple lab test could figure out. Some are better than others I guess but still not very realistic.
  14. RDickerson

    RDickerson

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Denton, Tx
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Maybe you're just going to be an exceptional doctor :D
  15. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic Lifetime Donor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Messages:
    3,956
    Location:
    Florida
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Physician Air Force SDN 10+ Year Member

    Scrubs reminds me of the House of God. It's half fiction, but I've felt that way in a hospital before. During the first season of Scrubs, I remember JD compared a hospital's cafeteria to high school's. I was laughing so hard because surgeons are football players. Some nurses and ob/gyn are cheerleaders. Medical interns are the band geeks. etc...
  16. thegenius

    thegenius Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2004
    Messages:
    794
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    None.

    An accurate portrayal of medicine would be an extremely boring show.

    The closest would be Untold stories about the ER. I know a doctor who was on that show a few times. But he said they (TLC) even hammed up his story a bit.
  17. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    616
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Of all the scripted shows, I'd say House is the least accurate as well as the least enjoyable to watch for me personally. My complaints would be:

    * Nothing but zebras, zebras, zebras as far as the eye can see. There's no point in trying to follow the science, because the reasoning is all so controvoluted and speculative that it makes sense only in retrospect ("There's ham in her fridge. It's a worm in her brain!")

    * The constant, and consistantly unnecessary breaking into people's houses is stupid.

    * The constant whining and abusive manner of House I find irritating and offensive. Misinthropic characters can be fun for me only when, like the doctors on MASH, they are needling authority figures and standing up for the little guy. House mostly focuses his sneering contempt on his junior colleagues and his patients. I don't like watching that kind of bullying. I tend to identify with the person being bullied.

    *Seizures. House must get their extras from the Grand Royal Academy of Faking Seizures. Every . . . damn . . . week. You'd never know it from watching House, but there are actually serious illnesses which don't cause patients to flop around like a flounder on crack.

    GA is OK as a soap opera; as medicine it's pretty bad. These residents spend days upon days with one or two cases taking up all their time. Yeah, right. One of the cool things about the early ER was that it got away from the disease-of-the-week model for medical shows, and instead brought out the one-damn-thing-after-another aspect of real medicine.

    Love Scrubs, not a bad thing to say about it. With that exception, ER in its dotage is better than all the new medical shows put together.
  18. Messerschmitts

    Messerschmitts Mythic Dawn acolyte

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2005
    Messages:
    953
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I'm tired of people expecting Grey's Anatomy to be something it's not. It's not intended to be a realistic portrayal of general surgery residency. It's a soap opera in a hospital setting. It could just have easily been set in a high school, a law firm or an advertising agency. I watch it for the entertaining drama, and don't expect it to teach me any medicine. Okay fine, I'm just watching it because I hate that smug "Dr. McDreamy" so much, I'm hoping he "gets his" one of these days and Meredith finally comes to her senses and gets with George. As for some of the writers' more absurd creative licenses (in regards to medicine), I feel they be laughed at for their camp value, instead of you getting angry and frustrated over the show. It's like expecting oscar-level storytelling/acting from an action popcorn movie.

    As for House M.D., it too is not really a show about medicine or doctors, but is in general a mystery-solving show. People familiar with the show will know that Dr. House is primarily based on Sherlocke Holmes (House = Home = Holmes), and again the hospital setting merely provides a more unusual backdrop for the mystery, which is more typically set in police/crime dramas. I hate House' attitude as much as the next idealistic doctor-to-be, and I too identify with the residents which he berates, but I feel the crafting of his character flaw was a stroke of genius to create a compelling, complex, and interesting character whom you hate one moment and are impressed with the next.
  19. riceman04

    riceman04

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Messages:
    8,512
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member

    My sister and some of her colleagues talk like that...but they did not just leave the ghetto. Dont stick your nose up too high in the air.
  20. Pewl

    Pewl The Dude Abides

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,470
    Location:
    The Left Coast
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Dude, none of these shows are realistic. In House they have the doctors running the MRI's. That NEVER happens. Doctors don't know how to run the machines, it's always techs that run them.

    And Grey's anatomy is just ridiculous. It's one big orgy. The characters in that show are so unstable, I don't know how they keep a steady job. =P
  21. zero2hero

    zero2hero Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Messages:
    404
    Location:
    New York
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I totally agree with you on Grey's. My friend (a girl) who's going to Downstate next year keeps on insisting that its the greatest show on earth. Jebus! It's ridiculous! I suspect alot of people that do like Grey's like it because of McDreamy or whatever is real name is.

    I read a thread a few days ago about an interviewer at U Wash that was asked what the most realistic medical show on TV was. The committee was looking for Scrubs! Scrubs is the best show EVER... EVER! I wonder how realistic it is.... i wonder if I'll be harassed by a janitor in the near future...
  22. QuikClot

    QuikClot Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Messages:
    616
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    What is your evidence for the claim that it is not intended to be realistic?

    This is a misunderstanding both of the thread topic (it's about which shows are the most realistic) and the criticism people have offered (no one is expecting the show to teach them medicine.) You cannot seperate the realism of the show from it's entertainment value; part of the entertainment value of fiction comes from its verisimilitude. Shows like ER and Scrubs make compromises with realism, but preserve a resemblance to the actual practice of medicine that people who have been there recognise.

    I'm glad you've learned the art of happiness through lowered expectations; you'll go far. Still, for many of us, to look at the millions of dollars these shows spends on actors, and sets, and effects, is to ask; they couldn't have shelled out a couple hundred bucks for a decent script?

    There is also enjoyment to be had in criticism, the same criticism that seems to make you "angry and frustrated"; the enjoyment of recognising and parsing the ludicrousness and stupidity of pop culture. In the house of camp there are many mansions.
  23. riceman04

    riceman04

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2005
    Messages:
    8,512
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member

    I am not saying they are realistic at all. I am just responding to that person's comment about one individual on the show.
  24. Wiggy73

    Wiggy73 MS I's have more fun

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    studying anatomy
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I don't know...a doc from our hospital is the new Bachelor.
  25. dajimmers

    dajimmers Hedgehog!

    Joined:
    May 21, 2005
    Messages:
    975
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    While the TLC/Discovery Channel shows may be the most realistic, I can't stand watching a few of them. Trauma seems alright, but the "Untold Stories" has doctors reenacting strange cases they had, and they are (from my experience) absolutely horrible actors! There was this doctor trying to pull a tree branch out of a biker's head (hey, I do think the stories are interesting), but he was rambling on about whether he should push or pull and the whole time the branch is flailing around the room and the rubber/fake neck is swelling and ... Bah, sometimes it's fun or educational, but sometimes I want to slap the camera-happy doctors. :laugh:
  26. BaylorGuy

    BaylorGuy Enter witty comment here

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,925
    Location:
    Galveston
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    Agree...some shows are awesome, some i just cant stand. I do like watching Trauma in the ER, the Critical Hour, and Plastic Surgery-Before and After. I cant stand the Untold Stories....something about dramatization doesnt really do it for me.
  27. Um, it's TV. That good enough for ya? I guess if you want I can try to dig around for some anecdotal evidence for you. LMAO :laugh:

    I don't take any of the shows seriously. I am concerned about the people who do. These shows are all either sitcoms or soaps that happen in front of a hospital backdrop. These primetime shows simply could not be realistic because it wouldn't have the same appeal to the wide audience of viewers. That show called Scrubs though... man, Scrubs gets me all hot and bothered. :love:
  28. thefafo

    thefafo Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Messages:
    129
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    I don't think it's the doctors re-enacting the scenes because I remember seeing on actor with a really bad wig trying to be a doctor with white hair. I agree that the acting is horrible.

    I like the shows of TLC that have silly names like: The world's strongest boy, The boy who had no skin, and The lady with the biggest tumor in the world (I know it wasn't actually called that). You'd think they could just come up with one name like Extreme medicine, and have episodes.

    Scrubs is amazing. I bought the first two seasons on DVD and have been laughing my a** off. I was a little annoyed though that they had to change some of the music because they couldn't pay for the rights for the DVD.
  29. OSUdoc08

    OSUdoc08 Removed

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    7,706
    Status:
    Medical Student
    The most realistic medical show that employs actors instead of medical professionals is "Scrubs."

    (Does that tell you anything?)


    --> Point being, there is no medical show that is realistic, so at least make it funny.
  30. NYMed

    NYMed Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Messages:
    148
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Which hospital is that? Yeah, I saw that on TV, he's pretty hot :) Do you know how he got chosen? Did he apply or did they find him? I don't know how happy I would be if I found out that my doc is applying to be on the Bachelor...
  31. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    911
    Location:
    Oregon girl in the Bama
    Status:
    Non-Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Yes! She's like Calista Flockhart with boobs. I think the blond girl is much more attractive.
  32. BaylorGuy

    BaylorGuy Enter witty comment here

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,925
    Location:
    Galveston
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    YES, YES!!! Ellen Pompeo is a horrible actor and i really dont care for her. Its sad that the name of the show is in honor of her name (in addition to being a double entendre for the book). However, Izzie is by far the best looking on the show.
  33. veenut

    veenut

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Messages:
    684
    SDN 10+ Year Member
    she looks like i do when i get up in the morning, but my eyes usually open by about noon.
  34. Messerschmitts

    Messerschmitts Mythic Dawn acolyte

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2005
    Messages:
    953
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    You guys are all insane, Ellen Pompeo is smokin' hot. I'd take her over Katherine Hegel any day.
  35. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    911
    Location:
    Oregon girl in the Bama
    Status:
    Non-Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Not to mention that she is a crazy, jealous b!tch. I talked about this on another thread, but did you see her on Punked? I still like her whiney character on the show, but really, she is insane. Especially given the fact that she is 36. :eek:
  36. yodel

    yodel Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Messages:
    36
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 5+ Year Member

    :thumbup: :thumbup:

    heh, i totally agree with ya on house, GA and scrubs, and i never watched ER.
  37. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic Lifetime Donor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Messages:
    3,956
    Location:
    Florida
    Status:
    Attending Physician
    Physician Air Force SDN 10+ Year Member
    Another doctor was one of the women on the show---and she lives close to me. Too bad she's crazy!
  38. Pewl

    Pewl The Dude Abides

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,470
    Location:
    The Left Coast
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member

    House is awesome. I love his character. The show is about his character. =P
  39. tank you

    tank you 2K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Messages:
    2,294
    Location:
    california
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    me too :love:
  40. Messerschmitts

    Messerschmitts Mythic Dawn acolyte

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2005
    Messages:
    953
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    High five! Glad someone agrees with me amongst the Grey-haters. For me it's her eyebrows, I love how they curve. Also her voice. Actually everything, Pompeo/Grey just pushes so many of my buttons I don't know where to start with her. :love: One of the many reasons I identify so much with the George O'Malley character. :p Yup, I'd be in love with Mere too. Don't settle George, she'll come to her senses one of these days!
  41. tank you

    tank you 2K Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Messages:
    2,294
    Location:
    california
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    haha, george is awesome too. i hope he comes clean with grey about his feelings eventually.
  42. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    911
    Location:
    Oregon girl in the Bama
    Status:
    Non-Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    I like George too. :love: And don't get me wrong, I love Ellen's character on the show. All I'm saying is that she is a little too thin and in real life she is really scary.
  43. OSUdoc08

    OSUdoc08 Removed

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    7,706
    Status:
    Medical Student
    This is absolutely correct. Anyone who thinks these shows are realistic and/or entertaining must have no medical experience whatsoever.

    On a side note, I'll throw in CSI, and all of those stupid forensic shows.

    My undergrad is in forensic science, and I used to work for a medical examiner's office. These "forensics" shows have so much fantasy that they are closer to Star Trek than Law & Order (which IS realistic.)
  44. Gavanshir

    Gavanshir Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Messages:
    608
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    The most realistic TV drama is the one created and produced by a Harvard medical school graduate, ER.
  45. OSUdoc08

    OSUdoc08 Removed

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    7,706
    Status:
    Medical Student
    Unforunately, it has become more flawed over the years.

    How many medical students do chest tubes in the waiting room of an ER (without physician supervision)?
  46. Gavanshir

    Gavanshir Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Messages:
    608
    Status:
    Medical Student
    SDN 7+ Year Member
    There is really no way of knowing, but chances are that it has happened in the past, or at least it's very possible that it will occur in the future. Furthermore, it is not completely unrealistic nor completely realistic, but compared to the themes of the other medical dramas, it's the most likely to occur at any given hospital.
  47. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    911
    Location:
    Oregon girl in the Bama
    Status:
    Non-Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    You think Law and Order is a realistic portrayel of how the law/courts function? No way.

    Look, the truth is, none of these shows are very realistic, even the reality t.v. ones. If they were, they would be totally boring and nobody would watch them. I think that the good shows are able to capture the fantasies that people have about fighting crime/emergency room docs saving lives/solving mysterious cases/etc.

    Most people aren't doctors, lawyers, judges, the president, etc., so watching shows about those things allows them an escape from their normal lives and imagine what it would be like to be in that position.

    Which is exactly why I like watching shows about residents preforming surgeries in waiting rooms and elevators. :laugh:
  48. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2005
    Messages:
    14,467
    Status:
    Academic Administration
    Faculty SDN 7+ Year Member
    What can be realistic are the moral decisions that the characters face: who should be the surrogate decision maker for a lesbian, her partner or her brother? would you use your power as a physican to look into a hospital employee's medical record because you are curious? what would you do if you discovered that your research mentor was throwing out data that didn't match his hypothesis? would you euthanize your dying father if he was suffering? would you show a dying child's mother how to override the system on a narcotic delivery system so that the child can be overdosed and die peacefully?
  49. kimmcauliffe

    kimmcauliffe Surfer Chum

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    372
    Location:
    Pismo Beach, California
    Status:
    Pre-Medical
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    Yes, it's a serious problem that needs to be addressed NOW.


    I'm going to second you on the Scrubs thing, though it's doesn't get me hot and bothered.
  50. BooMed

    BooMed Optomist

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2005
    Messages:
    911
    Location:
    Oregon girl in the Bama
    Status:
    Non-Student
    SDN 5+ Year Member
    You're right, they can definitely raise interesting issues. I often wish that the people in real-life situations were as intelligent and well-thought as the folks on Law and Order, the West Wing, etc.

    And that the police/FBI/ect. were at all like CSI! On t.v. they're always like "Ill just run this DNA sample and match it to our world-wide data base of criminals. Back in 15 minutes." :laugh:

Share This Page


About the ads