Sunday, August 2

Sunday Fun - Television

There is a lot of buzz on the interwebs about a new TV show on NBC this fall. I have remained neutral as to what I think about the show, since I have not seen it, but judging from the previews, I don't think we'll see anything too new when it comes to the way our profession is viewed by the TV audience and those in the business.

Then I thought more about the impact TV medicine has had on my ability to treat patients in the field. I tried to get mad about folks calling for the new medicine they saw in commercials or that they have a condition seen on last night's episode of House or ER.

But I realized that the way EMS and EMS patients are portrayed actually plays into our favor. Follow me on this. There are a few conditions I classify with the prefix "TV" as in "TV-Seizures."

TV-Seizures have a person, often in their 20s to 30s, flopping around on the floor, holding their eyes shut tight while the friends panic and run around looking for something to put into their mouth. I often lean down into the patient's ear, introduce myself as a Paramedic and explain that I know what a seizure looks like and that they can stop faking it now.

TV-Overdose has a number of subsets but my favorite is the ice in the crotch for the heroin OD. Whether this is an old herbal remedy minus the herbs or what, it certainly is a perfect way to let me know he was using heroin. You can deny it all you want but when you try to explain the ice in the crotch and pits is where a drink spilled, now you look silly.

TV-Medics are always on their way to another career. "I'm going to medical school," is my favorite, but they rarely portray EMTs and Medics who want to be just that. The one exception I found was the short lived show "Saved" that featured a laid back medic who's family kept trying to get him into medical school, but he declined. His partner was, alas, studying to go back to school. I like the trendy T-shirt with "bus driver jacket" uniform he wore. So relaxed. I will one day put a Ferrari patch on my jacket ala Mother. I'll post a pic.

But in the end, they always have someone kicking in the door to the trauma room and shouting vitals to attentive ER staff. HA!....sorry....that always gives me a good belly laugh. More than once I've had to block the nurses station to get a spot. That's not good TV.

TV has a lot to offer our struggling profession, little of it can be good because when you get down to it, our job is boring. There are no smoke creatures on a tropical island, no bikini clad co-eds romping in strange stunts (not all the time anyway) and no cash prize at the end. The reason TV shows about EMS never do well is because they follow the characters home. Remember when Rescue Me was a cool firefighter show? Then they followed Tommy home, the family got weird and now it's a circus soap opera set in a firehouse.

Come on TV Producers, give us a show about EMS that show the public the truth! Show them the countless hours of training and recertification, standby, paper work, stocking and dealing with 911 abusers, finding a clean bathroom on post, not just the "You're not dying on my watch!" cliche. I've tried it, it doesn't work at all.


MotorCop said...

Dude, don't get me started on the abortion that is CSI. I hate that fucking show.

I once had a cranker lady tell me, after reporting a vandalism to her car, that she wanted me to fingerprint the rock they used to break her window.

The rock.

Okay, sure, tweeker. I'll send in the CSI chopper and they'll fast rappel down and handle it.

Ckemtp said...

The appearance of "paramedics" on TV always makes me cringe. They're usually portrayed as overly-excited idiots ala every show whose main character ends up calling the shots on an emergency scene and then slaps the ambulance twice as it pulls away or they're portrayed as uncaring, grumpy near-criminals who consort with drugs and whores as in "Bringing out the dead"

On ER, where yea, the DOCTORS STAND OUTSIDE TO MEET THE AMBULANCE AND RUN IN WITH THE COT, the medics are portrayed as people who can't perform any interventions and just shout out vital signs and what drama may have happened on scene.

THe media portrayal of our profession has done us and our patients a great disservice..

and it pisses me off.

Geez Happy, I was having a good day and then you brought up an issue that made me angry ;)

And in all seriousness, anything that makes us ambo drivers look incompetent hurts patients by making them less likely to call and then trust us in a medical emergency.

The Happy Medic said...

Hey there CK, step back from the TV, I was only trying to have a bit of fun, as I'm sure you know. I agree the portrayal of us on TV is wrong, but find me one profession that is represented accurately and fairly on TV. I mainly wanted to poke fun at some of my fakers.

I meant not to offend one of my 6 readers.


brendan said...

Worst. Show that hasn't debuted yet. Ever.

Michael Morse said...

Stay tuned, I wrote a screenplay, currently in pre-production.

911 and the Randomness.. said...

Wow, and try getting the caller to speak common English, my baby daddy gotta gsw!! kay..... To many silly TV shows.

Ckemtp said...

I think you have at least 7 readers. I know that Medic999 reads you, and Gkemtb reads you every now and then.. and then here on the comments there's MotorCop, MichaelMorse, and two others... so that's 7 counting me.

Hey Mike, I used to do a lot of musical theatre, can I act in your screenplay?? Can I please?

You didn't tick me off Happy. Work may have done that for me today! Grrrr...

But my first call was a code that I resuscitated from ----------. 2 resuscitations for 2 codes this summer so far. (

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The Happy Medic said...

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