You know what really bugs me? Medically themed TV shows. I love them and hate them at the same time. Scrubs and House are some of my favorite shows to watch, but invariably I see something that's wrong and it makes me grumpy. Like every episode of CSI. But we won't get into why I frown on that show today.
It's a lot like a dog whistle. You could throw a party, invite all your friends and then bust out your dog whistle. You blow into it with all your might and nothing happens. Except, your dog that lives there is going nuts. Oh yeah, he can hear it. And he knows it's you. He'll leave something extra special on the carpet for you. But nobody else even knows that there's a problem. "Cool, a whistle that doesn't whistle," your friends will tell you.
I'm the dog. I'm enjoying the party, eating scraps, loving it and then bam! The fun leaves. I was watching House (the second season) last night and typically they get a lot of things right that most medical or regular shows get wrong. In every movie ever made you will find this. A guy is in a hospital and you hear the beep, beep, beep of the heart monitor. When out of nowhere he flatlines and you just hear one single, sustained pitch indicating his heart is not beating. The medical staff all rush in, one grabs the paddles, someone yells "Clear!" and then presto his heart is working again. Wahoo.
In the real world, the paddles, or defibrillator, are used to stop a person's heart. Right before they are used, a persons heart is fluttering like a humming bird's wings. The heart monitor will be beeping rapidly and the patient will be dead soon. Thus the need for the defibrillator. It sends a large jolt of electricity through the body and literally causes the heart muscle to seize up and stop. And that's the point. The heart will restart itself and hopefully find a normal rhythm. If the patient flatlines, then they are either dead and shocking them with electricity is just not nice, or the heart's rhythm can't be picked up by the machine and then other treatment options are preferable to shocking them.
Back to the post, House does a great job of showing this realistically. What they don't show is the painful burn that is almost always left behind. We get cases where I work with people who have been defibrillated and you can clearly see a red burn in the shape of the paddles on their chests where they were shocked. Electricity burns. Who knew.
I was going to let this go as I watched the show the other day, but then in the very next scene they showed a spinal tap. A procedure that involves sticking a very large needle into a person's spinal chord to remove spinal fluid. This is very painful even with numbing agents. The guy on House barely flinched. He grunted in pain like someone stepped on his foot and then he continued to talk. Most people suffer severe pain, some scream, lots cry, most tense up and try to not distract the doctor so the procedure will get over with as quickly as possible. Not this guy, he loved it. He was chatting with the doctor with barely a grimace.
And so ends my rant. It bugs me to no end when shows get things wrong, but like a dog at a dog whistle party, I love the all the free cake. And so I keep going back.