Grey Scrubs: Medical Dramas
As with every Chinese New Year, reunion dinners await and it always seems that relatives will corner you with the most inane questions, until they remember your profession that is, after which they launch into the same tired dogmatic line ofquestioning: “So how’s your doctor job? Save lives or not? How many lives you save today? Got do operation or not? Canget me Viagra, cheap or not? You know, I have this weird rash…” It seems that to the layman, life as a doctor is a non-stop glamorous race to save a life-a-minute, very much like diffusing bombs while figuring out the villain’s dastardly plan. So how does the general public get such a skewed perception of theway our profession conducts itself? Many would lay some blame on the doorstep of the generic Hollywood movies thatepitomise the courageous doctor with infallible skills and unflappable hair. I prefer to think that a more likely answer is closerto home, one that is in fact homogenous and in all our living rooms: television dramas.
Medical dramas have a large influence on the general impression that the public has on doctors. Being in the healthcare profession, we have become myopic to the point that we are unable to appreciate the huge impact television dramas haveon the way the public relates to and communicates with us.
To prove my point I undertook a strenuous randomised controlled double blinded trial of the latest medical drama series and determined how it pertains to real life.
I randomly picked 2 famous medical dramas from a collection of DVDs and CDs (at the time of writing the latest season of “House” was unavailable by unorthodox means and the orthodox method of obtaining it was too expensive). I did thisblindfolded with both a handkerchief as well as a sleeping mask, thus rendering it double blinded. I then watched the firstepisodes with several pretty volunteers in the name of furthering medical science. We determined where our impressionsof how the depicted scenarios differed from real life, then we debated and argued over it, after which I overruled them andcalled their opinions stupid, which prompted them to leave (in retrospect I was the stupid one as they were generally goodlooking…sigh, its true what they say: hindsight in medicine is 20/20).
Note: BIMBO = Brief IMpressionistic Bipartisan Opinion 1. SCRUBS
(Scenario: Surgical and medical housemen on their first day at work and on night call) My impression
BIMBO’s impression
Doctors go to work late, just go to any GP for MC, willneed to wait till 9:45am when clinic opens at 9am.
Of course not, that would be scary … imagine doctors 1 Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore Address for Correspondence: Dr Leonard Yeo Leong Litt, Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, 5 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119074.
Email: [email protected] 1. SCRUBS (contd)
(Scenario: Surgical and medical housemen on their first day at work and on night call) My impression
BIMBO’s impression
False: Typical behaviour of a noble profession.
he has an open door policy whenit’s obviously false.
personality and superiority complex.
True: All doctors can operate on and see all types of True: Then goes on feminist tirade for 10 minutes.
False: Doctors are trained for years for this.
before your first night duty starts.
Not a second of sleep in the call room.
False: How can a person work through the night withoutsleep? Getting a second wind in the morning.
Looking at the number of discrepancies, it is obvious that at hiding your deficiencies. [In deference to all my colleagues public’s view on what transpires in the sacred corridors of and superiors – you are in the first category (note to self: healthcare is highly distorted. They must be thinking, stop trying to sabotage traineeship chances!)] “Why is my attractive young doctor not pushing my gurney It is not surprising that many complaints and lawsuits are to the X-ray department for my chest X-ray?” or “I know I put down to “poor communication” between the healthcare had a fit from a brain tumour; why doesn’t the houseman provider and the patient. I mean, if the patient expects you just do his doctor thing and whip it out of me?” While there to cradle him after the loss of his loved ones like Dr are indeed some doctors who do seem to be superhuman Mcdreamy does and then after you are done crying, wipe and are able to field questions from every niche aspect, your tears and ask if you want to share a cup of coffee with most of us just act like we know and I have a grudging him, offering the whimsical possibility of friendship and suspicion that the older you get the more adept you become maybe romance? Really. How can we compare? Especially 2. GREY’S ANATOMY
(Scenario: Surgical housemen on their first day of work and night duty) My impression
BIMBO’s impression
Has a one night stand the night before work.
Late for first day of work but not taken to task for it.
True: Doctors have a mutual respect that transcendssuch petty issues.
Out of a batch of 20, only 6 are women.
True: Goes on feminist tirade for 10 minutes.
True: All doctors can operate on and see all types False: Monkeys can do this with training.
gather around and watch an operationby a houseman.
Quote: “Surgery is hot… Geriatrics is for freaks who live with their mothersand never have sex.” Overwhelmed by resuscitation situation.
and assist with surgery even after24 hours on call.
operating theatre during the operation.
patient to prepare for an operation.
you can survive a career in medicine.
when you are on call and juggling several emergences at the topping the list. Even when they are the main characters of same time. The Social Development Unit (SDU) may want the show, physicians are typecast as quirky at best if not to take note, though, that this may be a recommended way absolutely nerdy. Take for example the leads from “House” In defense of the television shows, though, they are all an If you think that this is just a dateless outcast soap-boxing engaging watch and do project the medical profession in a his views, I challenge you to ask any member of the public good light. Some of the more robustly researched ones such this question: “Which specialty has the most attractive as “ER” even have a fan base that comments on how personnel?” Apart from the few perverts who immediately accurate the shows are. Though for the ones that rely on think of nurses, most will name surgeons and paediatricians.
good-looking leads, it does become irksome when these Short of publishing the names of notable “hot” physicians hotshots keep defibrillating a flat line (asystole).
in the medical pool, there seems little that one can do to One point that has to be brought up is that there seems to debunk this myth. Then again, maybe a calendar deal is in be a gross misconception perpetuated by television that the stars with the profits going to a wide-screen television surgeons are “hotter” than physicians, with paediatricians

Source: http://www.annals.edu.sg/PDF/36VolNo3Mar2007/V36N3p221.pdf

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