Monday, August 20, 2012


Pretty much the only medical show I've ever watched on TV is Scrubs. Is that still on TV? I think Grey's Anatomy is too serious and sad, and Dr. House annoys me.

One reason I like Scrubs is that I find it realistic. On the couple of episodes I've watched of House, it always strikes me as incredibly contrived and unrealistic. (And why does House got to always be so sarcastic all the time?) Maybe the cases are interesting, but nobody actually practices medicine like that.

Scrubs may not be totally realistic, but the vibe seems real to me. When J.D. was doing some long shift at the hospital, I was like, "Yeah, it's just like that!"

That said, there's a lot of stuff that isn't much like being a real resident/doctor:

1. Why are Dr. Cox and Dr. Kelso the only attendings that J.D. works with for the whole three years he's in residency? I am lucky (or unlucky) if I work with just one attending for a whole month, much less all of residency.

2. When J.D. is an intern, there are mysteriously NO senior residents around. J.D. reports only and directly to Dr. Cox. No wonder Cox thinks he's so annoying. Then when he graduates to being a resident, there are mysteriously NO interns around.

3. There's some episode where J.D. is an attending and he's paged at home by an intern. He comes all the way to work and is extremely irritated to discover that the intern paged him about something really stupid. Um, instead of coming all the way into work, why didn't he just answer the page??

4. In the episode where Elliot is showing off her endocrine knowledge, she "cheats" by keeping pages of an endocrinology textbook hidden all around the hospital and whenever she's asked a question, she runs over and checks the textbook pages for the answer. But how could she guarantee she'd be near the pages she needed? Unless that hospital is the size of my living room, I don't see how a person could possibly pull that off.

5. J.D. is somehow able to spend hours and hours on end with each patient.

6. For some reason, there's only ONE lawyer for the entire hospital and he sucks.

7. There's an episode where Dr. Kelso gets angry at Elliot for leaving the hospital for another job after they trained her. OMG. And she eventually realized he was right because the hospital had given her SO much in terms of training. For one thing, who the hell stays at the hospital where they did residency forever and ever? People move on. For another thing, I don't think most doctors feel they owe a huge debt of gratitude to the hospital that paid them slave wages to work 80 hours a week.

8. Nobody sings in real hospitals. Or at least, rarely.

9. J.D. and Elliot are clearly internal medicine residents (which deals with adults only), except every once in a while, they have a pediatric patient for no particular reason (except that it fits in with the plot). And why are they expected to be able to intubate people?

10. The assigning of patients is nowhere near as exciting as they make it seem on that show. I remember some episode where they're having some epic race to get a patient. IRL, whoever is up next for a patient gets the next patient admitted. There is no racing of the residents.

I'm sure I could think of more, but that's what pops into my head.


  1. 6. You think there should be a lawyer in every hospital - even more than one? i am afraid, i am very afraid of the health system in your country...

    8. i do very often, well it's not singin, but just whisteling some tunes...

    9. i treat pediatric patients... but i am only a surgeon. even our internists do, it's normal for them. we do not have special pedriatrics in our hospital but once in a while some pediatric patients show up and not everyone needs to be sent away to our related hospital which treats them...

    besides, i am from germany :-)

    1. And now you understand how it is that we have more trouble than any other modern nation providing efficient universal health care funding for our citizens. You can now also understand why we have so many jokes about dead lawyers.

  2. We think doctors would be afraid to be sarcastic for fear of being sued. (Unless they've known the patient for many, many years). We haven't any singing there either ...
    You may be able to catch re-runs but the show ended in 2010.

    1. The whole thing is available on Netflix. Though, the last season blows.

  3. I don't know what you're talking about - I sing in the hospital all the time. All the time. Out loud. I'm trying to work up the courage to bring a guitar into a ward round.

    1. I my iPod filled with Broadway musicals. While operating.

      I've been told to stick to my day job. ;)

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  5. Just as an FYI, all seasons of Scrubs are available on Netflix streaming. Yay!

  6. Loved the air band "Boston" episode

  7. Wait, scrubs is not a documentary?

  8. Funny, my two most recent posts were about residents that my hospital hired. I honestly hope one of them stays forever and ever. The other one can go far, FAR away.

  9. JD was introduced to his senior resident in the pilot episode. Throughout the first episode, the senior resident kept repeating "I'm a tool, I'm a tool, I'm a tool."

  10. I agree that, of all the medical-themed shows, scrubs is the most realistic. They stretch the truth here and there for entertainment value, but there is definitely a core to the show that resonated with me when I was in med school. I think they really captured (in a humourous way) how unglamorous medical training can be -- unlike grey's anatomy. Also, unlike grey's anatomy, which seemed to have, like, the same 7 doctors running the entire hospital (how can you be the 'head' of neurosurgery if there are NO OTHER neurosurgeons around?), Scrubs regularly showed interns/residents/attendings/whatever other than the main cast -- even if it was just for a throwaway joke.

  11. i love the show ... and yeah,our paediatric surgery doctor used to get some songs played while operating.

  12. Break out in song? Here's the head of the UKMC Emergency Medicine...

  13. I agree that Scrubs portrays the training process more accurately than any other medical show. And, it is true that everything does come down to poo (especially in pediatrics).

  14. Weren't JD and Elliot ICU residents? So intubating/seeing peds would make sense...