Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Big Bird

"Which medical show on TV is the most realistic?" the oncologist I was shadowing today asked me.

No way could it be House, Grey's Anatomy, or Scrubs.  Boston Med?  (The show was filmed at one of the hospitals I was shadowing at--was he tooting the institution's horn?)

Surprisingly, Scrubs--with all its quirks and absurdities--was his answer.  "It deals with the insecurities and doubts that we all face," he said.  The character traits are dead on.  "Plus, it's hilarious."

His favorite episode involved a patient who died because of a medical error.  The show closes with a powerful scene: to remember their mistakes, the four main characters walk around the hospital with his ghost following each of them.  Apparently, oncologists feel the same way about some of their patients (regardless of whether they blame themselves).  They don't easily forget.

In fact, later that day, the oncologist was going to a patient's wake.  He said it wasn't a common thing he did--but it wasn't rare either.


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