* * Anonymous Doc

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I just watched the season finale of Grey's Anatomy.

[Stop reading if you don't want to be spoiled.]

A shooting in the hospital? A guy roaming the halls and executing doctors? This is going to give me nightmares. Anyone can get into the hospital-- the security guards in the lobby don't actually stop anyone, to come up as a visitor requires nothing. You walk in. No one questions where visitors go, I see patient families in the pantry, in the nurse's station, in the staff restrooms. If someone wants to come into a hospital and start shooting doctors, there's nothing to stop them.

That part of it, the show got right.

The rest of it-- well, not so much. I don't know why I watch these things. I spend most of the episode trying to catch as many mistakes as I can, as many things that wouldn't happen, can't happen, make no sense at all.

First of all, the guy who's shooting people-- he blames the doctors for killing his wife, for removing life support. Yes, there are cases when the hospital withdraws life support, but it's never quite that easy. We have a patient now who's being kept alive by machines, no brain activity, never going to recover-- but the daughter wants everything done. The guy is DNR, if it were up to the hospital, care would have already been withdrawn-- but no one ever wants to override a family member, the system works to keep people alive, not to remove support. In the case on the show, there'd be ethics consults, there'd be family meetings, there'd be days and days and days of hand-holding and convincing and discussion. A doctor isn't going to walk into a patient's room, look at the chart, and order someone's death. Doesn't happen. Can't happen.

Next, Dr. Bailey's patient-- the resident she tries to save and then drags him to the elevator, elevator's shut off, and so he's stuck in the hall, and she tells him he's going to die. This one I didn't understand. He's conscious, he's talking, she thought she was going to save him right up until the moment the elevators aren't working. Well, why couldn't she run down the stairs and look for help? If she was going to drag him into an elevator, why couldn't she go herself, to a staircase, and look for someone to help? But the bigger issues:

(1) She has him on an oxygen mask that's connected to nothing. Mask alone doesn't do anything. Nonsense.

(2) There's no monitors. How does she know he's going to die? How does she know how much blood he's lost? She's giving him fluids-- I don't know why he suddenly went from save-able to dead. Didn't make sense.

Next, Dr. Karev. The amount of blood he lost, and the amount of time he was lying in the elevator after he dragged himself inside. First of all, how did the elevator go unused for so long? In my hospital-- in any hospital-- there's people on every floor waiting for elevators, you put a bleeding patient in the elevator and not only will he be discovered in ten seconds, he'll probably be trampled to death by the people who are waiting for the elevator and desperate to get out. I've seen visitors elbow doctors out of the way so they can get on the elevator before it fills up. I've seen visitors cut off patients in wheelchairs with IV poles dragging behind just so they can get on the elevator. But, second-- all that blood and all that time, he's not surviving. Sorry. Guy who's talking and getting fluids dies and guy bleeding out in the elevator lives? Nope.

Dr. Yang. Why is the idea of performing surgery without an attending so scary to her? She's been at this hospital for, what, five seasons? She's supposed to be this amazing surgical resident. By now, she's performing surgeries alone with attendings barely involved-- they're observing, they're the safety net. But she can totally perform this surgery by herself. Yes, she'd be nervous because it's her friend-- but she can do this procedure.

And, finally, what dedication these doctors have... to their personal lives, and discussing them even in the face of terror and tragedy. It takes quite a level of focus to put aside the fact that there's a gunman on the loose in the hospital to still be able to be angry at your girlfriend or obsessing about your romantic prospects. I guess it was partly just to pad the episode to two hours, but, really, let's give these doctors a little perspective.

And now, because it's my day off and the only reason I woke up at 6:30 is because my body doesn't know any better, I'm going to take a nap. Hopefully, no nightmares from this. I really don't want to be shot, even if just in a dream.


  1. Haha it's funny to see an actual doctor pick apart the improper depictions shown in a medical drama. It's kinda nice actually because you always hear people saying the shows are nothing like real life but never get any concrete examples.

  2. Your more scared than the people in Iraq that actually have a real chanace of getting shoot. You can get shoot anywhere by anyone anytime not just in hospital. so Man UP!

  3. I thought the episode jumped a micro shark when the gunman bemoaned that Dr. Shepherd was playing God in deciding who lives or dies... when the gunman was going around DECIDING who lives and who dies.

  4. I saw the previews for Grey's but it looked ridiculous with the shooting nonsense, so I didn't watch. Oh who am I kidding? I haven't watched Grey's in about two years. But it was fun reading your breakdown. It's like when my airplane/military history buff dad watches Top Gun or something. All he can do is complain about the gross inaccuracies of what's going on! Nothing gets by him either!