TV shows and movies that are ruined, because you know better

  1. So many TV shows and movies take place, at least in part, in a medical setting. When you're a nurse, you automatically notice the severe errors in the scenery, which ruins the show. Or maybe it's just me.

    I was watching the very first episode of ER (as a rerun, this is fairly recently) where the nurse- what was her name? I'm getting old- OD'd and was brought into the ER on a stretcher. I jumped off the couch and started shouting, "Chest tubes?!? She has two Atrium chest tubes there. For a drug overdose???"

    It seems like the directors of these shows assume that the more medical-looking stuff they throw in there, the more realistic it will seem.

    On TV, the "patient" almost always has his O2 cannula on incorrectly. And I can't count how many times I've seen the actor-patient surrounded by medical equipment that is totally irrelevant to his illness. Oh, there's a vent nearby, and some vent tubing on the bed, for no apparent reason. Sometimes you'll see an EKG monitor in the background and the rhythm displayed there totally doesn't match what's going on with the "patient". (Many times, it's a fatal rhythm, but the patient is alert and talking.)

    And the IV pumps/ bags etc... It's all wrong, all wrong, and I can't stand it.

    Also, I'm a huge Stephen King fan, but in two of his books he has patients who are on ventilators who suddenly wake up and start talking... with the ventilator still in place. (The Dead Zone, and Desperation.)

    It also chaps my ### when the nurse is wearing whites, with a skimpy white skirt, with a white nurse's cap... in a modern day setting. (If the movie is taking place in 1970, that's different, but I'm talking about shows set in modern times.) Inevitably, if the nurse says anything at all, it is something stupid.

    Has anyone else been irritated or enraged by things like this? Or am I just over the edge?
  2. Visit HollyHobby profile page

    About HollyHobby

    Joined: Feb '10; Posts: 159; Likes: 478
    ICU nurse; from AM
    Specialty: critical care, home health


  3. by   JDZ344
    I saw a code in the British show "Holby City" Where they gave a defib shock without even assessing the heart rhythm! Patient of course was fine...

    Our medical shows are full of things that make me scream, but what did it for me was in a show (non medical) when a young girl was slipping into a coma from low blood sugar, the "nurse" was ordered to give her insulin! Don't these people research?! I just hope some bright spark watching the show doesn't think to do that to their loved one!
  4. by   UM Review RN
    One of the reasons I enjoy Michael Connelly's books so much is that they're really good with the medical info. Even talks about Prograf for post-transplant.

    Another author screwed up so bad -- he had the guy doing an autopsy go to the corpse's left to check out the liver -- sidetracked me from the plot so much, I could barely finish the book.

    I think my favorite medically ignorant movie is Steven Seagal's Hard to Kill. He plays an undercover cop who awakens from a 7-year coma, coincidentally the same day someone finds him in the LTC hospital. He makes his escape on a stretcher with the help of the lone nurse on the ward, who somehow manages to keep her license and her job after deserting her unit, littered with dead staffers.
  5. by   imintrouble
    My observations are more basic. Side rail, side rail, side rail. Nursing 101. Put the side rail up!
  6. by   Coffee Nurse
    Seen too many painful things to list here, but my biggest peeve by far is the way CPR is portrayed in the TV/film industry. I'm terrified to imagine how many laypeople forego proper CPR training because they think they could just "figure it out" if they ever needed to.
  7. by   HollyHobby
    Oh, and remember the movie Flatliners? The premise was these medical students (or whoever) would put each other into a deathlike state, then debifrillate them back to life- from asystole. You don't shock asystole!

    I did think it was hilarious in "There's Something About Mary" where Matt Dillon shocked the dog back to life using the lamp cord.
  8. by   CT Pixie
    I recall the first episode of Third Watch (about police, fire, and EMS). Don't recall the whole thing but they pulled someone out of the water (?), medic checks for a pulse and says "he has a pulse" and then proceeded to do compressions,...Wahhh?? If he had a pulse, I'm sure you pushing up and down on his heart will mess up that pulse he does have!

    My biggest pet peeve is all the medical shows that show doctors doing procedures we all know they rarely if ever have done since med school!! What doc (minus a urologist) do you know that does foleys?? Even better still, the docs do ALL the procedures, draw blood, run tests, give meds, etc..yeah..thats going to happen.
  9. by   nitenite
    I get irked when I see coma patients who look pretty with their mouths closed while they're laying on their back in bed. The movie Wit with Emma Thompson always gets me.

    And don't get me STARTED on them shocking people through their clothes!
  10. by   Coriander
    I'm not familiar with every stethoscope model out there, but it seems that everyone on TV puts their earpieces in backwards.

    Also, shows where there are a zillion doctors but maybe one nurse seen every other episode, if at all.
  11. by   Not_A_Hat_Person
    I wasn't crazy about the last season of "Coupling", but in the last episode a nurse checked the main character's cervix without wearing gloves.

    My husband hates watching movies with me now because I point out medical errors, especially in CPR technique.
  12. by   313RN
    i came across this book in a local bookstore last week and it made some pretty interesting points. sure it might have been a little preachy at times, but overall it gave me something to think about.

    it's called saving lives: why the media's portrayal of nursing puts us all at risk

    take a look at
  13. by   HollyHobby
    Another stupid scenario is when the patient is dying! Dying! And the family or whoever go to the bedside and the "dying" patient is on- gasp!- a nasal cannula.

    Oh, no! This person needs four liters of supplemental O2! We'd better say our heartfelt goodbyes!
  14. by   wsuRN09
    I know the TV show "Scrubs" is not supposed to be realistic by any means, but still, it drives me nuts in the opening credits that they put the x-ray up backwards....

    I have given up watching medically related shows (and movies if I can avoid it). Mostly because my husband gets so irritated at me because I point out every mistake I see, lol!

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