10 Completely Unrealistic Moments in Television ERs


Always Time for a Quickie

Ummmm … no. © iofoto/iStockphoto
Ummmm … no. © iofoto/iStockphoto

It's not only measles lingering in the air of emergency room. If you believe what you see on TV, love is also in the air. Or, at least, lust. Just look at how busy the on-call room is on "Grey's Anatomy" alone: Cristina and Burke in the on-call room, Callie and Mark in the on-call room, Addison and Alex in the on-call room, Meredith and Derek in the on-call room.

In reality, physicians and surgeons rank No. 6 among professions most likely to find love at work, but medical professionals are missing from the top 10 most likely to have an office fling [source: PayScale].

But realistically, there's just not time for hanky panky in an ER. The wait times at hospital emergency departments are legendary, and that's partly because of a never-ending line of incoming patients. Finding a moment to wedge in a bit of romance would likely only make the lives of doctors, nurses and other staff harder as they struggle to make up for time lost to trysts.

Author's Note: 10 Completely Unrealistic Moments in Television ERs

Ever notice that House uses —OK, used — his cane wrong? It should be on his body's strong side, but he uses it on his limp side. Or was that an intentional quirk of character? If he has a reason, I missed it. And while we're on the topic: Have you noticed how many medical professionals across many medical shows aren't correctly wearing their stethoscopes and need to turn them around?

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • ABC. "Grey's Anatomy Episode Guide." 2015. (March 15, 2015) http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy/episode-guide
  • American Heart Association. "2011-2012 Annual Report." 2012. (March 15, 2015) http://www.heart.org/idc/groups/heart-public/@wcm/@adt/documents/downloadable/ucm_449081.pdf
  • American Heart Association. "Defibrillation." Jan. 9, 2015. (March 15, 2015) http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Arrhythmia/PreventionTreatmentofArrhythmia/Defibrillation_UCM_305002_Article.jsp
  • Association of Surgical Technologists (AST). "AST Standards of Practice for Surgical Attire, Surgical Scrub, Hand Hygiene and Hand Washing." April 13, 2008. (March 15, 2015) http://www.ast.org/uploadedFiles/Main_Site/Content/About_Us/Standard_Surgical_Attire_Surgical_Scrub.pdf
  • Belluck, Pam. "A Made-Up Hospital That Offered Real Medicine." The New York Times. April 4, 2009. (March 15, 2015) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/05/weekinreview/05belluck.html
  • Cannada, Lisa K. "Zero-Tolerance for Hospital Romance?" AMA Journal of Ethics. Vol. 12, No. 1. Pages 16-22. January 2010. (March 15, 2015) http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2010/01/ccas3-1001.html
  • Chung, Jae Eun. "Medical Dramas and Viewer Perception of Health: Testing Cultivation Effects." Human Communication Research. Vol. 40, No. 3. Pages 333-349. April 29, 2014. (March 15, 2015) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hcre.12026/abstract
  • Cunningham, Peter. "Nonurgent Use of Hospital Emergency Departments." Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). May 11, 2011. (March 15, 2015) http://hschange.org/CONTENT/1204/1204.pdf
  • Devlin, Kate. "Hospital Dramas Like 'ER' Mislead Viewers Over Seizure Care." The Telegraph. Feb. 15, 2010. (March 15, 2015) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/7224069/Hospital-dramas-like-ER-mislead-viewers-over-seizure-care.html
  • Diem, Susan J. "Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation on Television — Miracles and Misinformation." The New England Journal of Medicine. Vol. 334. Pages 1578-1582. June 13, 1996. (March 15, 2015) http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199606133342406
  • Duke Medicine News and Communications. "Study Finds TV Portrayals of CPR are Misleading." Nov. 3, 2004. (March 15, 2015) http://corporate.dukemedicine.org/news_and_publications/news_office/news/783
  • Epilepsy Foundation. 2015. (March 15, 2015) http://www.epilepsy.com/
  • Fennelly, Kevin P. and Jennifer L. Hosford. "Behind the Mask: Overdue Evidence." American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Vol. 185, No. 10. Pages 1041-1043. 2012. (March 15,2015) http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.201203-0548ED#.VQYj5_nF9bw
  • Füchtbauer, et al. "Emergency Department Physicians Spend Only 25 Percent of Their Working Time on Direct Patient Care." Danish Medical Journal. Vol. 60, No. 1. January 2013. (March 15, 2015) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23340186
  • Goodman, Kevin. "Imagining Doctors: Medical Students and the TV Medical Drama." AMA Journal of Ethics. Vol. 9, No. 3. Pages 183-187. March 2007. (March 15, 2015) http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2007/03/medu1-0703.html
  • Gould, Tim. "The Perfect Moment for Reviewing Your Workplace Romance Policies." HR Morning. Feb. 13, 2015. (March 15, 2015) http://www.hrmorning.com/workplace-romance/
  • Handal, Kathleen. "What can I expect when I arrive at the emergency room (ER)?" Sharecare. (March 15, 2015) http://www.sharecare.com/health/critical-care/what-expect-arrive-emergency-room
  • HealthStyles. "TV Drama/Comedy Viewers and Health Information 2005 Porter Novelli HealthStyles Survey." 2005. (March 15, 2015) http://www.cdc.gov/healthcommunication/pdf/healthstyles_2005.pdf
  • Hines, Elizabeth Quaal et al. "Glue Adhesives for Repairing Minor Skin Lacerations." Contemporary Pediatrics. Dec. 31, 2012. (March 15, 2015) http://contemporarypediatrics.modernmedicine.com/contemporary-pediatrics/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-feature-articles/glue-adhesives-repairin?page=full
  • Huff, J. Stephen. "Seizures Emergencies." WebMD — eMedicineHealth. Dec. 10, 2014. (March 15, 2015) http://www.emedicinehealth.com/seizures_emergencies/article_em.htm#seizures_emergencies_overview
  • Kautz, Don et al. "From ER to ICU." Brain Injury Association of Kentucky. March 2009. (March 15, 2015) http://www.brainline.org/content/2009/03/er-icu_pageall.html
  • Katz, Ingrid. "Paging Dr. Welby: The Medical Sins of 'Grey's Anatomy.'" Slate. Sept. 26, 2005. (March 15, 2015) http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2005/09/paging_dr_welby.html
  • Landau, Elizabeth. "Medical Dramas Give Bad Information About Seizure Treatment." CNN. Feb. 15, 2010. (March 15, 2015) http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/02/15/tv.medical.dramas.seizures/
  • MedicalBag."Fact or Fiction: Do Doctor Dramas Accurately Portray Real Life in the ER?" May 20, 2014. (March 15, 2015) https://www.themedicalbag.com/practiceprognoses/fact-or-fiction-do-doctor-dramas-accurately-portray-real-life-in-the-er
  • Medscape. "Do Emergency Medicine Physicians Have More (or Less) Fun? A Lifestyle Report." Jan. 12, 2012 - Jan. 27, 2012. (March 15, 2015) http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/lifestyle/2012/emergency-medicinePayScale
  • "Who's Finding Love at Work? A PayScale Office Romance Report." 2013. (March 15, 2015) http://www.payscale.com/data-packages/office-romance/
  • Phend, Crystal. "Unmasking the Surgical Mask: Does It Really Work?" MedPage Today. Oct. 5, 2009. (March 15, 2015) http://www.medpagetoday.com/InfectiousDisease/InfectionControl/16278
  • Pillow, M. Tyson et al. "Seizure Assessment in the Emergency Department." Medscape. Jan. 8, 2015. (March 15, 2015) http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1609294-overview#a11
  • Plumb, Marisa. "A Gentler Defibrillator Jolt." IEEE Spectrum. July 13, 2011. (March 15, 2015) http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/devices/a-gentler-defibrillator-jolt
  • Reiter, Mark. "Emergency Medicine: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." Medscape. Sept. 30, 2011. (March 15, 2015) http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/750482
  • Stix, Madeleine. "Un-extraordinary Measures: Stats Show CPR Often Falls Flat." CNN. July 10, 2013. (March 15, 2015) http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/10/health/cpr-lifesaving-stats/
  • Tapper, Elliot B. "Doctors on Display: the Evolution of Television's Doctors." Baylor University Medical center Proceedings. Vol 23, No. 4. October 2010. (March 15, 2015) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2943455/
  • Teasdale, G. "Trauma Scoring: Glasgow Coma Score." Lancet. Vol. 2. Pages 81-83. 1974. (March 15, 2015) http://www.trauma.org/archive/scores/gcs.html
  • University of California, Irvine: School of Medicine — Department of Emergency Medicine. "Physician's Role." (March 15, 2015) https://www.emergencymed.uci.edu/clerkships/physicians_role.asp
  • Van Dusen, Allison. "TV's Medical Missteps." Forbes. Sept. 19, 2007. (March 15, 2015) http://www.forbes.com/2007/09/19/tv-health-missteps-forbeslife-cx_avd_0919health.html
  • Westbrook, Johanna et al. "How much time do nurses have for patients? A Longitudinal Study Quantifying Hospital Nurses' Patterns of Task Time Distribution and Interactions With Health Professionals." BMC Health Services Research. Vol. 11, No. 319. Page 1-12. 2011. (March 15, 2015) http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1472-6963-11-319.pdf
  • Woo, Steve. "Medicine on the Small Screen." The New Physician. Vol. 58, No. 8. November 2009. (March 15, 2015) http://www.amsa.org/AMSA/Homepage/Publications/TheNewPhysician/2009/1109FeatureDrama.aspx
  • Zamosky, Lisa. "Ambulances: Basic Info About a Service You May Take for Granted." Los Angeles Times. Jan. 26, 2014. (March 15, 2015) http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/26/business/la-fi-healthcare-watch-20140126


How One Woman Unexpectedly Became the Voice of Siri

How One Woman Unexpectedly Became the Voice of Siri

Susan Bennett never knew she would become one of the world's most famous voices until Siri debuted on iPhones in 2011. HowStuffWorks tells her story.