By: Andrianna Veatch, Staff Reporter
Nothin’ gets the heart beating like life or death—and medicine literally runs on life or death. Now, the average Joe likely knows next to nothing after first aid, yet medical based television shows with their complex lingo continue to be popular and successful forms of entertainment. And like a lot of modern entertainment, their depiction of ethics is up for debate.
Perhaps the most medically supportive TV network is ABC, producers of such longstanding shows as General Hospital and Grey’s Anatomy, as well as the newly released The Good Doctor, and the sadly short-lived but thrilling Forever, starring immortal medical examiner Henry Morgan. However, one unfortunate consistent issue with many of the medical dramas in ABC’s lineup is that—for the sake of the titular ‘drama’ aspect—these shows become rife with breaches of professionalism and ethical conundrums. The researchers of PT in Motion, through analysis of the second seasons of both Grey’s Anatomy and House M.D. “…counted 179 depictions of bioethical issues in 11 areas, ranging from informed consent to organ-transplant eligibility to human experimentation."
In this day and age particularly, with health-care reevaluations on the horizon, medicine and medical care are delicate subjects for many people, one to be treated ethically even in the entertainment industry. Certain professionals are also concerned over the lack of a nursing role in many medical dramas, fearing that eventually such a portrayal or lack thereof will fracture the understanding between health professions by developing the belief that physicians alone are decision-makers in ethical dilemmas. This will impinge communication in the future.
From all this one can see a truth of mankind continues to stand firm: exaggeration entertains. Regardless of heated ethical debates or impact, if the drama is just over-the-top enough to get viewers’ hearts pumping and invested, the entertainment industry will continue to produce popular shows like Grey’s Anatomy, House M.D, and General Hospital.