10 Completely Unrealistic Moments in Television ERs

Meeting the Ambulance
Sorry, if you’re hoping for a doctor to meet you at the ambulance, you’re likely to be disappointed. © katifcam/iStockphoto

Did you see the episode of "ER" where Dr. Romano accidentally lost an arm while meeting an emergency helicopter transport? Or when he is crushed to death in the hospital ambulance bay by — that's right — another air ambulance? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you arrive by ambulance to the hospital's emergency department, whether by road or air transport, there won't be an ER doctor, nurse or a surgeon waiting to meet your ambulance.

Normally when a new patient heads to the emergency room via medical chariot, emergency medical services personnel advise the hospital emergency team of the incoming situation while they're in route. Then, depending on the severity of the patient's condition upon entrance, he'll either be immediately whisked away for lifesaving care, or he'll be sent to the triage nurse. The triage nurse then evaluates the patient's symptoms and decides the level of need for care, and where on the patient priority list the new patient should go. Most emergency departments stay so busy that doctors don't have the time to wait on an incoming ambulance or helicopter the way their TV counterparts do.