10 Completely Unrealistic Moments in Television ERs

Every Case is Critical
There are many fairly mundane and non-life-threatening issues being treated in hospitals all the time — it’s not always an emergency or a dire situation. © Spotmatik/iStockphoto

It seems like everyone is having some kind of critical case in hospital emergency departments on TV. There's a steady stream of dramatic issues coming through the doors. While fictional doctors may be treating fictional severe injuries continually during their fictional shifts, one-upping each other on the severity of each new case or spending all day (or night) investigating and diagnosing a single patient, the reality is that more than half of the visits people make to emergency departments aren't actually for life-threatening or urgent problems [source: Cunningham].

Millions of people will visit ERs this year seeking treatment for cuts, despite the fact that most cuts and scrapes are considered minor enough to treat at home [source: Hines]. When's the last time you watched a TV medical drama featuring a minor cut? There's intrigue in critical cases, though, right? And isn't that really what TV is all about? Cases of minor kitchen-knife accidents and banged-up knees from outdoor adventures wouldn't be likely to garner the same ratings as more histrionic fictional patient cases.