Medical TV Dramas Vs What Happens In Real Life

One of the common falsehoods or inaccuracies witnessed on medical tv dramas is the use of the defibrillator machine during emergencies. Fans watch with bated breaths as the doctor rubs the electrode pads and zap a dying patient back to life. However, real doctors and nurses know that this machine can only correct irregular heartbeats. This and more are just some of the things that medical TV dramas get wrong but appear true in the eyes of the public.

What Do Medical TV Dramas Get Wrong?

Let’s look at common falsehoods portrayed in medical tv dramas that seem authentic…

1. The Overuse of CPR In Treating Unconscious Patients

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a medical technique that’s used to reactivate breathing and blood circulation in patients that are unconscious due to drowning or cardiac arrests. It’s administered by using both hands to apply chest compressions then the medic tilts the patient’s head backward and breathes directly into their mouth at specific intervals.

In popular TV dramas, you’ll notice either a doctor or nurse that springs into action yet some of the cases don’t warrant the use of CPR. A patient who, for instance, has diabetes can faint as a result of low blood sugar. The best treatment would be administering insulin shots rather than giving rescue breaths and chest compressions.

2. Doctors and Nurses Flirting With Patients

Every so often, you’ll notice episodes where a doctor and patient meet for the first time then tension develops between them that either blossoms into a sexual encounter or romantic relationship. The relationship then becomes so intense that doctors willingly violate certain practices to protect their newfound love.

Away from the screen, all doctors understand the consequences of venturing into such relationships. It’s easy to lose employment as well as face state board disciplinary action because such relationships put the doctor in a position to exploit the patient’s vulnerability.

3. Doctors Discussing Billing And Insurance With Patients

This scenario usually plays out in a couple of interesting ways. A patient is bedridden for days then their doctor approaches them with the good news of a unique surgery that will lead to full recovery. However, the patient seems hesitant because they can’t afford the procedure but fortunately, the doctor also seems to have a financial solution lined up.

In reality, patients submit their personal and insurance information at the waiting room. This data is usually collected by medical assistants and matters to do with billing are handled by the accounts department.

4. Student Nurses That Are Opinionated

In the TV show Scrubs, there are usually a couple of student nurses on clinical practicals working side by side with doctors and RNs. However, what stands out is the fact that the interns can publicly correct their supervisors and perform roles that are usually reserved for fully certified medical personnel.

In real life, student nurses know not to speak or interrupt their preceptors during meetings, even when they feel that the information requires some correction. In addition, trying to act independently can instantly get them fired since the supervisor can interpret their defiance as insubordination.

5. Doctors Having Eureka Moments When Treating Complicated Medical Conditions

This is commonly witnessed in the TV shows House and also Grey’s Anatomy. The doctor spends days and sleepless nights going through lab reports and medical notes trying to diagnose mysterious illnesses affecting a patient. Then one day as the doctor is leaving Starbucks, he or she experiences a eureka moment that saves the day.

If things were really that easy, then doctors wouldn’t bother holding meetings with medical specialists or referring their patients to different hospitals that have advanced medical diagnosis equipment. Truth is, diagnosing and finding the best treatment plan for complex medical conditions can take several weeks since doctors have to analyze numerous possibilities and narrow them down to the best option.

6. Doctors Visit Their Patients Everyday

It’s not uncommon to see doctors frequently checking up on their patients then leave them with inspiring words and dazzling smiles. However, patients in real hospitals only receive weekly or monthly visits from their doctors since nurses are tasked with the responsibility of daily monitoring.