Are you sick and tired of going to the doctor and not seeing McDreamy at the other end of the stethoscope? You aren’t the only one.
A new study published in the journal Trauma Surgery & Acute Care found that TV dramas based in hospitals and medical settings “may cultivate false expectations among patients and their families” regarding the realities of medical treatment, care and recovery. Wait, you might be wondering, is Grey’s Anatomy realistic?
For the study, a nurse practitioner and two trauma doctors were tasked with binge-watching 269 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. They paid particular attention to the 290 trauma patients seen at the fictional Seattle Grace/Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital and their demographics, severity of injuries, length of stay and admission patterns. The fictional results were then compared to very real patient data from the National Trauma Databank.
So, is Grey’s Anatomy realistic?
Although common sense probably told you that the answer to is Grey’s Anatomy realistic was a big no, what did the study find? TV hospitals make it seem like surgery, recovery and all the things that go with health care a lot easier — and faster — than they are in real life. And the injuries are more brutal.
According to the study, televised medical treatment was more deadly than real life: 22 percent of trauma patients at Seattle Grace died, compared with seven percent of real-life patients. They also recovered and left the hospital quickly, while in real life recovery from trauma is often a long, arduous process.
The differences in real life vs. fiction might lead to patients having unreasonable expectations about their care.
“If there’s a real gap between [expectation and reality], it makes a relatively poor experience for the patient, and it transfers to a poor experience for the nurses and doctors trying to take care of this patient who feels very frustrated,” said study author Dr. Jordan Weinberg, trauma medical director at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
That said, he doesn’t see anything wrong with following hospital dramas as long as people can see the difference between fiction and reality.
“We don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy to be educated. We watch it for entertainment value,” Weinberg said, according to Entertainment Weekly. “Within the constraints of what they’re trying to do, which is entertain people, they actually do a very good job of achieving reality.”
So we’ll just have to let go of our dreams of having Meredith Grey treat us when we’re sick.