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King_of_Sexytown's avatar

How accurate is the show "House"?? Or "ER" even?? Any medical drama?

Asked by King_of_Sexytown (1493points) December 12th, 2009

My mom used to enjoy watching House and ER. Now she will only watch ER cos she claims that the medical stuff on ER could happen and the stuff on House is bogus. I would also like to know how far off the bogus ones are. Like could it maybe happen or do they sound mostly or kinda accurate?? Or are they just entierly farfetched??

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13 Answers

MacBean's avatar

The House people search for rare things that have actually happened. But then they usually mess up the technical medical stuff in favor of making it benefit the overreaching show plot. So that show, at least, is loosely based on true stories. I can’t speak for any of the others, though. I don’t watch/obsess over any of them.

fireinthepriory's avatar

I used to watch ER! It’s certainly dramatized, but not nearly to the extent of House or… what’s that other one? Grey’s Anatomy. ER has also gotten more fantastical over the years. I figure they feel they can’t repeat too much stuff, and of course after 13 years of the show they start to run out of exciting things that happen in an ER! But the early show especially tried to be really accurate. I know they hired actual ER doctors and surgeons to tell them what to say, and how much blood the art crew should be splattering about the set. I assume that a lot of their medical techniques are improperly done (don’t just copy what you see on ER and try to give someone an emergency tracheotomy in an elevator!) since it’d take forever to train all the actors to do all that stuff right, but after catching an episode or two of House and Grey’s Anatomy, it looks like ER tries a lot harder than most medical shows.

Buttonstc's avatar

Well, I know quite a few medical professionals in RL and the comment I most frequently hear about House is that it’s the opposite of reality in one critical respect.

One of the main points they stress in Medical training is “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses not Zebras”.

This means that the vast majority of diagnoses are going to be of fairly common diseases. You can’t run every medical test in the book just to rule out every possibility.

Because their education presents them with a vast variety of esoteric diseases and processes, many of which they will never see in their entire carreer.

However, the formula for House is the exact opposite. Every rare syndrome or disease ever in existence pops up like clockwork on this show each and every week.

It’s not as if it’s total BS and they are inventing things that don’t exist. It’s just that all of these EXTREMELY RARE things keep popping up at this one little hospital in the middle of NJ. Now how likely is that?

But that’s the main feature of this character’s skillset. He is the expert diagnostician so it’s sort of unavoidable. Just know that if you watch House long enough, every single rare medical zebra will make it’s way to his door sooner or later.


ragingloli's avatar

House is accurate in the sense that every disease they show actually exists and can happen, though the show is riddled with errors in details and praxis. , which is to be expected from a show that emphasises on drama and one genius doctor.

King_of_Sexytown's avatar

@Buttonstc I have never seen House. It sounds like he might be a doctor that specializes in rare diseases and they might have to be taken to his place for treatment. Like a “There is this one doctor in America who might be able to save you” type thing. Thanks!!

ragingloli's avatar

Not really, because at the beginning of every episode, no one has a clue what is actually wrong with the PotW (Patient of the week).

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I don’t watch any medical shows, because as a medical professional they make me cringe at their lack of realism and blundering judgements that somehow turn out to save lives.

therapist's avatar

ER is more closer to the actual hospitals you would see. Especially county hospitals that deal with the poor/homeless: long waiting times, overworked/understaffed, etc.

gemiwing's avatar

I know House got Cushing’s wrong. The guy was as skinny as a rail- then again, I’m no medical professional. I still have them all on dvd though. It’s addictive!

jerv's avatar

I question the accuracy of anything that has Hugh Laurie speaking with an American accent.

filmfann's avatar

All I know is it isn’t Lupus.

Sampson's avatar

@filmfann Yay for esoterics!

MacBean's avatar

@filmfann: Except for the one time when it is!

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