Monday, April 18, 2005

Grey’s Anatomy- Shake Your Groove Thing. A Resident’s Perspective

Welcome to Seattle Grace Hospital, the setting of the new ABC show about five surgical interns trying to make it through their first year in of residency. Apparently, surgical residencies in Seattle recruit only models these days. Coincidentally, this was also one of the themes in this week’s show.

Another, BTW, was the apparent complete disrespect that Interns can show Attendings without worrying about repercussions. During last night’s show, Sandra “You’re getting married this Sunday” Oh, who plays Cristina Yang, decides to code a patient who is DNR, defying direct orders from her attending. Not only that, in an earlier scene she calls him an outright liar. Of course, Kathryn Heigl (rrrrrr) and Ellen Pompeo (rrrrrr, rrrr) both decide that it’s ok to show Attendings up as well. Aha! Yep, very realistic (If you’re aiming to lose your residency).

I have to hand it to the writers though because the plot is pretty interesting. Patrick Dempsey (Apparently playing a Surgeon who can cross cover as a neurosurgeon who needs no prior films before doing extremely dangerous procedures) is secretly dating Dr. Gray. This allows Pompeo to have a little more free time on her hands than most other surgical interns. She used this time to make a great diagnosis of a likely brain tumor, which is very impressive for a Surgery intern (Sorry couldn’t resist). Also, she has a heart to heart conversation with another patient’s wife about whether life is worth living with dementia. Let’s examine this week’s show:

This week’s plots:

1. Nurse Fallon and pancreatic cancer

On the whole this plotline was very interesting. Pancreatic cancer is one of the tragedies of medicine. Mainly because by the time it causes symptoms it usually has spread to other organs. Currently, the treatments available to cure pancreatic cancer are not very effective and most patients die. Dr. Yang (Sandra Oh) befriends this nurse in an apparent attempt to scrub in on a Whipple Procedure. When the procedure never gets scheduled she finally understands that the patient has come to the hospital to die.

This was a bit surprising because many patients who have pancreatic cancer never get operated. The Whipple is an extremely difficult procedure. Quality of life following the procedure is not great. Therefore, if a patient has advanced pancreatic cancer most of the treatments are actually aimed at symptomatic relief. I’d expect that Dr. Oh (who is highly motivated, it seems) would have already known this or that the writers would have worked it in somehow. But this storyline was very attractive anyways.

The death scene was pathetic with Dr. Oh trying to single-handedly revive Nurse Fallon, in spite of direct orders to stop and a DNR order. Not very realistic.

I would have also liked the conversation of a hospice to have come up. A much better way for terminally ill patients to die.

2. Mr. Humphrey and the prostate cancer

Mostly to highlight Kathreen Heigl’s, who plays “Izzie” Stevens, previous career as a model. Apparently, she did this through medical school to survive and keep herself out of debt.

First, I WISH I could have done this to keep myself out of debt (feel free to use the amazon link in the sidebar).

Second, it seems that the producers are motivated to keep her in underwear onscreen as long as possible (Thank You).

Third, she did highlight the fact that most medical students incur great debt to do this job. So give us a break hah!

3. Jorge Cruz, brain cancer and nails in head

Mr. Cruz mistakenly pumped his skull full of solid nails after losing conscience and falling. The x-ray films were amazing. As an internist I’m not sure that there was a real necessity to operate immediately as the patient had a stable blood pressure and pulse. But, who am I but a simple medicine Resident. I will have to refer to my surgical consults for help on this one.

Patrick Dempsey felt this was a medical emergency that deserved immediate surgery. Apparently, in addition to dating Interns he also operates on brains. Cool job.

But the story was mainly a side plot to introduce Meredith’s mother, who was a very motivated surgeon who now has early onset Alzheimer’s. Very tragic. Meredith decides to have it all out with the wife (unrealistic) about quality versus quantity of life. I liked the plotline because it discussed these underlying issues, as if Terry Schiavo wasn’t enough.

Best line: "If you make your Resident look bad she'ss torture you until you beg for your mama"

Well, that wraps it up. Overall, I liked the show. It’s a bit unrealistic but its network TV, so what did you expect. The cast seems to have great chemistry. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’re light on the eyes too.