This is a fun little article regarding the realism of the Emergency Medicine environment showcased on the popular U.S. television show "ER". As the authors state in their introduction, the viewers of the show have been surveyed, and a significant portion of the viewers believe the content of the show to be valid clinical information. However, the televised outcomes are frequently unrealistic (CPR success rates, patients emerging from comas, etc.), and lead to inaccurate public perceptions.
This team of authors watched all 22 episodes from a single season of "ER" to evaluate the types of patient encounters depicted, and then compared their findings with representative data from the NHAMCS dataset. Overall, there were 192 patients during the 22 episodes, and they differed from the real-world by:
- Weighted heavily towards 25-44 years of age, rather than infants and elderly.
- More male and white, rather than black and female.
- Depictions of lower pain levels.
- Far more traumatic injuries.
And, this analysis only observed the patients - the responsibilities and skills of the treating medical students, residents, and attendings are also wildly dramatized, of course.
So, it's nothing like "ER". It's really more like "Scrubs"....
"ER vs. ED: A comparison of televised and real-life emergency medicine."