10 times the entertainment industry got healthcare SO wrong

Shutterstock | ponsulak
Shutterstock | ponsulak

Imagine: You wrap up a long 12-hour shift, sink into your favorite living room recliner and reach for the remote. It’s been a rough day and you just want to unwind with an episode of your favorite TV series. Five minutes into the episode, a supporting lead character gets injured and needs to receive medical attention, stat. And the show quickly goes downhill from there….

Recently, Kati Kleber (aka Nurse Eye Roll) asked her Facebook audience to tell her about times they caught the entertainment industry greatly misrepresenting healthcare. The responses had us ROFLing, so of course we had to share them with our Scrubs mag family. Check out some of our favorites below!

“An ER patient was bleeding out and doc asked for 500 cc of heparin!” —Gina G.

“It was my husband playing the new Metal Gear Solid video game. The opening scene shows ‘Snake’ waking up after a nine-year coma. Now, this ‘Snake’ had many injuries from people trying to kill him… Also, he has a piece of metal sticking out of his forehead without any deficits. He isn’t intubated. He got a face transplant right there…. He started walking and running by the time he exited the hospital. I kept calling B.S., and my husband told me to hush.” —Krystal A.

“On the show Private Practice, they show a patient having a seizure and the neurosurgeon yells out, ‘Give 10mg of lorazepam, stat.’ They go to commercial and the patient starts having another seizure. She again yells, ‘Give 10mg of lorazepam, stat!'” —Sandra G.

“An episode of Glee where they said the dad was in a coma in the hospital…the vent was connected to his nasal cannula and he had no ET tube.” —Janna R.

“Just last night on NCIS, while Gibbs was in surgery: no one had their face masks on; the ET tube was unsecured; his eyes were not taped; the drapes were ALL wrong; and he shrugged and sighed while he should have been paralyzed—I mean they had his chest cracked, for heaven’s sake!” —Kimberly D.

“I can’t handle watching CPR on TV. Too gentle. No way that is perfusing!” —Kasey O.

“Just saw a commercial, I think for Blue Bloods, where there’s a fully alert and talking patient with a nose-only CPAP mask on with a guy standing over him threatening to pull the plug on the machine… Granted, it could have been some other machine, but it was pretty comical nonetheless.” —Ashley B.

“I started yelling at the TV during an episode of M*A*S*H where the surgeon went from one open patient to another WITHOUT CHANGING HIS GLOVES. And I always roll my nursey eyes whenever someone tries to defibrillate a patient in asystole.” —Mindi M.

The Walking Dead…after all that time lying in a hospital bed with no fluids or nutrition of any kind, Rick just jumps up and walks right on out of there.” —Alyson P.

Parks and Recreation had a ventilator hooked up to nothing that appeared to be used as a cardiac monitor and IV tubing that went nowhere! Breaking Bad brought someone off an ambulance on ‘2 units’ of oxygen and already knew their HGB. And Scrubs showed a resident taking a patient to X-ray!” Joanna F.

What other medical errors have you caught on film and television and in video games that makes you smack your forehead in disbelief? Share ’em with us in a comment below!

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6 Responses to 10 times the entertainment industry got healthcare SO wrong

  1. Psychnurse20

    Any of these “Doctor shows,” like “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Code Black,” they are always staffed to the brim with Doctors and have 1 or 2 nurses on duty. The nurses are nowhere to be seen and the Dr are the ones handling every single emergency/issue. Like on the pilot of “Code Black,” there were several issues going on at once and there were 15 Dr performing CPR, bagging, and monitoring the pt. If they had shown it in reality, the nurses would have been doing all the work with the Docs barking a few orders here and there.

  2. nerdyRn

    On Code Black I’ve noticed the tele monitors state the heart rate in the 80’s and 90’s when the rhythm is narrow and fast. Can anybody say SVT?

  3. Toni2ks

    On the musical episode of Greys anatomy… Karev has his hands inside Torez, they deliver her baby and need his help… He steps back, holds his bloody hands in the air and then starts working on the baby…. Blood and all. CPR is ridiculously fast…
    On code black I notice the machines always say… Lead not connected to pt lol
    But the biggest peeve is starting an IV or taking blood… Most shows they ALWAYS hold the needle like a dart.

  4. martygrn

    Except for the M*A*S*H point….it takes place in the 50’s during the Korean War…..not so sure even no gloves might not have actually been accurate!!

    • Canoe123

      On “The Today show” I watched a commentator named Rossen demonstrate the use of the AED while holding it in his hands. I screamed. I emailed the network about how it would never work appropriately but they never responded.

  5. fulita

    An epidode of House where a NICU baby had an emergency thorocotamy for a sat of 92, then was taken off ECMO for a hour so he could go up and visit mom. This was all while these residents with no training were staffing the NICU, no attending, no RTs, and only one nurse who didn’t act “fast enough”