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How Accurate Are Medical TV Shows?

By Robert Isenberg
Special to MSN TV

Let’s face it: We love doctor shows. And we like our doctors too, be they smart, sexy or full of sass. We can’t wait to see another patient pulled open so a pair of gloved hands can massage a heart back to life. There’s nothing as intense as a fresh gurney rolling through the halls — frantic physicians fight against time.

Physicians themselves are getting passé, which is why nurses and first-responders are getting more airtime than ever. And this fall, we have three new medical series debuting in primetime, not to mention a pair of cable shows with A-list stars which debuted over the summer.

But as much as we love hospital dramas, actual healthcare professionals tend to roll their eyes at them. After all, TV producers want to explore emotion and character, but real hospital work can be very different from the Hollywood version seen on the small screen. Since “ER” has been beaten to death by doctors, we wondered how the latest series measured up. So we asked a few healthcare workers about how well these shows mimicked the real inpatient experience. Here’s what they had to say:

Series: “Trauma”
The gist: Paramedics in San Francisco race to rescue victims on the street.
Health care professional: Jim Holman, Administration Chief, Pittsburgh EMS Bureau Paramedics
What they got right: Many of the technical aspects are accurate: Use of endotracheal intubation, use of a special drill — an intraosseous infusion line into the tibia. Paramedics use a “log-rolling” technique on a patient to keep the spine intact. And much of the mass casualty incident (MCI) scenes were realistic.
Want they got wrong: Keeping an accident scene safe is an emergency responder’s highest priority: The fire in the MCI was a little hokey, because responders would assess the scene for hazards, such as leaking fuel. The depiction of a chest compression was terrible: At one point, the hand placement on a patient’s chest looked like the Heimlich maneuver. A helicopter wouldn’t be used for a woman whose only injury was a fractured arm, nor would a helicopter be used in high-density urban environments, nor would the ground crew be along for the helicopter ride. Helicopters don’t just land on the roof of a building that is not a designated and licensed helipad. Meanwhile, ambulances do not drive up to trauma hospitals fast and slam on the brakes — it’s way too dangerous and there’s no need. Finally, an intern who talked to a veteran paramedic in manner depicted in the premiere would be reprimanded. An intern is there to learn.
‘Nurse Jackie’/Showtime………………………….

Wacana Ilmuan:
Tengok TV jgn sunnguh2 sgt, kena ada skill gak

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