Everything Wrong With All Medical Movies and TV Shows

Everything Wrong With All Medical Movies and TV Shows

1. Medical professionals freak out in the ER

If an EMT, surgeon, doctor, or nurse is freaking out and panicking and running all over the place whilst treating you, they probably shouldn't have that job. Real professionals have a)seen just about everything 10 times over b)have to be calm in order to try and keep you calm and c)generally speaking, they tend to know what they are doing or will get someone who does especially when liability comes into play.

2. Love affairs happen every week

If a medical professional likes their job, engaging in a love affair with a patient will most likely (read: definitely) get them fired. You are talking about ethics, balance of power issues, and a major lawsuit waiting to happen all wrapped up in one.

3. You're fully clothed

One of the first things to go in an ER or an ambulance is your clothing. Every time I see a medical show where a doctor is using a defibrillator or trying to do a procedure in an emergency situation and the patient is still clothed, that is not reality. EMT's and ER doctors/nurses do not give two craps about your modesty when it comes to trying to save your life. They also don't give two craps that you are wearing designer and/or for ladies, that you have a bra on. It all gets cut off with surgical scissors. You can easily slip out of consciousness in a medical emergency or a nurse/doctor may miss something if they are inhibited by your clothing. Losing precious seconds to save your life due to you still wearing your favorite jeans and t-shirt, is not a thing.

Everything Wrong With All Medical Movies and TV Shows

4. Shock to the heart

If you have flat-lined, this means you are probably dead (the accurate term is asystole). If a doctor ever says someone is asystole, their next course of action is NOT to grab a defibrillator as depicted by hundreds of medical movies/tv shows because that is not a shockable heart rhythm. If you've ever used a portable defibrillator, the machine will tell you that you can or cannot shock the heart, and if no, either the person is conscious and has a normal rhythm or they are nearing death or dead and CPR would be your only course of action outside of professional medical care. The survival rates for those that are asystole, are like maybe 1 person a year per hospital. Your survival rates with CPR alone outside of a hospital or emergency care center are also only like 10%...but lest you get discouraged in doing CPR, are you really going to sit there and not try (geeze, I'd hope not).

5. There is an abundance of free time

Surgeons, doctors, and nurses work some of the most punishing work schedules on earth. They are not just lounging around in a break room 4 times a day with a slice of pizza. If not doing medical care, it's doing paperwork, if not that it's trying get get sleep for the next day, and if not there is maybe a little time for their social lives, but not a wild rocking time because they can't afford to come into work drunk or otherwise messed up the next day because people's lives are literally in their hands.

6. You can walk into an OR

Other patients and other persons simply strolling into an OR or ER are not a thing. You see it literally all the time where some family member charges into these rooms on tv screaming and getting in the way...which is precisely why, among other things, you or anyone else would a)never be allowed in an OR and b) would be directed to a waiting room. Besides getting in the way of these professionals trying to save your loved ones lives, you are unclean. Like really, unclean. OR's in particular are sterile environments. You don't just walk in there in your clothes with your hair breezy in the wind and expect to do anything there. Can you smell the lawsuit?

Everything Wrong With All Medical Movies and TV Shows

7. Your doctor can do literally everything

Have any of these people ever been in a hospital? If you have, think about how much time your doctor actually spent in the room with you. It was probably a blink and you missed it situation and this does a HUGE disservice to the nurses who ARE with you and do a lot with you as a patient. That's not to knock your doctors, but they basically sweep in, diagnose, confirm your vitals via chart/a nurse, confirm your treatment plan, and they are gone because there are dozens of other patients in their care.

If they spent days by your bedside or sat and spoke to every family member in the room for hours at a time, what of their other patients. Doctors and surgeons also don't do your insurance work, they don't do autopsies, heart surgeons don't deliver babies, and they aren't checking your vitals. Every person in a hospital is specialized in what they do, and as such, they stay in their lanes for professional and liability reasons.

8. Drugs, alcohol, and hand tremors are allowed

Calling all liability insurance agents! If you are a surgeon and your fellow surgeon is doing coke in a back alley and you know about it, you are reporting them. No one wants to work on a team where someone on that team has a substance abuse problem or with a surgeon who has issue with his or her hands like a tremor. Do you want your surgeon coked up and cutting into your abdomen or with wobbly hands trying to do your brain surgery?!? Not only that, if you think you're being a friend, and not reporting this, you as a fellow doctor/surgeon could be in serious trouble and could lose your own job and ability to practice as well as them. Ethics+Liability here.

9. Medical residents have free reign in surgery and everything else

No. Just no.

Everything Wrong With All Medical Movies and TV Shows

10. You can be a 15 year old doctor

Although just about anything is possible, this one, not really. The youngest doctor was actually a 17 year old Ophthalmologist, however the reality for most is that due to the length of training and medical school required, most do not start their full on careers until they are 28+ years old.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Having taken care of both my parents in their old ages, I've become something of an unwilling connoisseur of ERs.

    Nurses and nurse assistants seem to run the show. Most medical dramas seem to focus on doctors. They show doctors dramatically taking action with pulse pounding music playing. The most I've *EVER* seen a doctor actually *DO* is draw some blood... and he sucked at it. Doctors say, nurses *DO*.

    It seems the overwhelming amount of work done in an ER is paperwork. Every time I've been to one, 90% of everyone there is looking at a computer screen, entering data.

    Oh, another thing. Most medical pros don't look like Hollywood movie stars.

    But the same can be said about most dramas revolving around any particular profession. My law enforcement friends roll their eyes at virtually all police procedural shows and movies. When I watched Master and Commander, there was some stuff where it was really hard not to guffaw! Don't get me wrong, I loved Master and Commander, but some aspects of sailing were way off.

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    • Yes, I know its fake, but when you watch shows like this you have to just think to yourself, have these writers ever lived in the real world? Like CSI Miami... all the cops would show up at the crime scene wearing high heels and white suits and I'm like really. There's blood spatter on the wall, and they would have to wear hazmat suits to avoid contaminating the scene the way they're digging through the carnage with barely a gloved hand, not to mention they would be at the crime scene for hours and high heels would be the worst thing to wear.

      But medical shows are just crazy in how they show doctors just sitting by bedsides for hours with patients lovingly talking to the family. You get like 5 minutes tops!

Most Helpful Girl

  • I'm a nurse assistant in a hospital and this is all true.
    Especially number one. I've had patients massively bleed out on me and seen blood pressures higher then 200/100. But no matter what I just said, "huh. How weird let me discuss with my colleagues."

    I actually do have a boss who is sleeping with someone who works on the former floor he managed. But he's an idiot and sleezebag.

    No I don't have an abundance of free time. Some days I don't have any time to even take a break or do my mandatory charting.

    I mean, I could walk into the ER and nobody would think much of it but civilians can't without being confronted by staff.

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    • and never admit liability or say things like, he's going to live. Big no no.

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What Guys Said 22

  • I have a good friend who is an ICU nurse and she complains of this every time she sees a new show. The rounds of epinephrine and cardiac shock particularly aggravate her.
    I like watching such shows with her because I get to contrast reality with artistic license. And I have learned new words and meanings like tamponade!
    ~JSmith

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    • I generally pester lawyers, firefighters, and police officers, all of whom I am friends with, with questions I've always wanted to know because I heard something or I saw it on tv or to hear their POV on real life situations. Never a dull conversation, and all do love to actually tell it like it is to help clarify how dumb these things can all be.

  • "10. You can be a 15 year old doctor
    Although just about anything is possible, this one, not really. The youngest doctor was actually a 17 year old Ophthalmologist, however the reality for most is that due to the length of training and medical school required, most due not start their full on careers until they are 28+ years old."
    Some fifteen year olds may see that as a challenge to open a backalley practice

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    • A back alley practice does not a medical professional make. That is someone illegally attempting to call themselves a doctor.

    • 15 year olds aren't rational all the time

  • This is especially true of CPR. I've worked in nursing homes where the (stupid, cowardly, infantile) families insist on making 90 year old mama a "Full Code." NEWS FLASH! Doing CPR on anyone over 80 just results (at best) in a brain dead, intubated, battered, semi-corpse that will linger (at $10K a day) until you finally do the right thing and pull the plug.

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    • Yes, that is the sad truth, but all most people think is that ! CPR works! It is apparently the miracle, as expressed by every medical movie and tv show, that saves everyone as long as you do it harder and longer then anyone else, and you should never stop until the person comes back to life because that IS how it works.

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    • LOL! You're not even CRAWLING them down.

    • Plus they never tell you how often older people have their ribs broken and then die of pneumonia.

  • "8. Drugs, alcohol, and hand tremors are allowed"

    Agreed with everything here except this. I worked at a research hospital as a graduate student and there was a problem with drug use in a good proportion of nursing staff. In my particular health authority, many doctors also had mental health problems (i. e. depression) and alcoholism was rampant.

    But otherwise great take! And the people who get into healthcare based on TV shows are definitely in for a rude awakening...

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    • But the question is... did their bosses know about it? I venture, if you tap into any office or job in America and look hard enough, you will find all sorts of problems and issues that are under the surface, but if a person can "do their job" or more accurately, "doesn't get caught," then they may very well be on drugs and still working.

    • Oh I doubt many get caught. And there were "offenders" in my particular health authority who turned a blind eye because... well... you can't just hire a new cardiac surgeon or roboticist who specializes in a particular branch of research, or even trauma nurse like that.

    • Oops *whom my health authority turned a blind eye towards

  • Wow. I'm actually bookmarking this page on my browser; this has got to be the most informative thing I've ever read on this site. Thank you so much for writing it.

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  • Any of this wasn't obvious? Keywords: dramatization - and artistic license. While some life events are stranger than fiction, most fiction is more sensational than life. But this is what sells. People want to be entertained. It's also why SF is low on the totem pole - but scifi (skiffy, as in iffy) is near the top. Even with many 'nerds' and kids in the tech industry.

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  • Good take. It's the same with cop shows. Both cop and hospital shows are the most common on tv and the scripts are the exact same.

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  • A patient approaching a doctor expects medical treatment with all the knowledge and skill that the doctor possesses to bring relief to his medical problem. The relationship takes the shape of a contract retaining the essential elements of tort. A doctor owes certain duties to his patient and a breach of any of these duties gives a cause of action for negligence against the doctor.

    Thanks for sharing your Take with GirlsAskGuys Community. 🐝

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  • #4 always bugs me! I'm a slacker with dyslexia and ADHD who never studied and always barely managed to pass even in subjects I found interesting, and even I know that!

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  • And cops don't shoot someone every week. Can you imagine if a cop really was like in the old TV shows, and had shot 30 people in the course of their career? They would be considered a serial killer.

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  • Did you really just waste and hour of your life to explain to people how movies/tv shows and reality are not one and the same thing? xD

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  • Hello @myTake_Owner. Great post. Are you a doctor? If so, any chance you're single? LOL

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  • I agree. but scrubs was actually based on the directors friend who was a doctor

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  • Never watch them.
    The hospital environment makes me cringe.

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  • These shows are far from the real situations.

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  • And that's why House MD was the best XD

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    • These flaws were there in House MD too. But yeah, it's 100x better than Grey's anatomy

  • all tv shows/movies are exaggerated.

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  • I loved this take

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  • Great take

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What Girls Said 8

  • ... what’s your point? Tv is fake?

    Dear god. JD, give me an IV, stat. Turk, remove my gall bladder. House and co identify I have lupus. And for shits and giggles, someone have an affair before I untimely wake up in the middle!!

    Oh wait... it was all real? Well shit a brick I may as well start building a house with the rock that’s going to fall.

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  • Good take, I can understand that these shows use creative liberties to diverge from reality from drama and plot reasons, but hearing the accurate side of things is nice.

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  • Maybe because medical care is free here, but 75% of ER visits are time wasters.

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    • That's true too. People with hang nails or "stressed" because their cat is missing.

  • 👏👏agreed

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  • I had no idea Barney went to med school.

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  • Of course it's not like in the movies and tv shows. I guess some people need to read this though before deciding they want to go to med school and be the real life McDreamy.

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  • Haha I LOVE this!!!

    Also, I’ve never known a doctor or two to turn up at the bedside of a patient and help nurses out with stuff either! 🤷🏼‍♀️😄

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  • They're just following what the Writer wrote, what the Director is directing, the sponsors want advertised, etc.

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    • This is of course, true, it's fiction after all, but often medical shows, and shows about law and various other professions can leave an erroneous impression of what it's like to actually be in those situations in real life. Lawyers often after to tell clients... this is not like television because so many believe the fiction, and of course if one has never been to an ER or in a medical emergency, or had surgery, what they see on tv might actually be what they believe is true in real life.

    • *have to

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