Inside Scope on Medical Truths: Are Medical TV Shows Worth Watching?


Donya Forst

Donya Forst, Print Editor

   Medical television shows are often criticized for their improper use of medical terms and false representations of the hospital setting. Critics believe if they cannot use terms correctly, they really serve no purpose to viewers. Their ultimate contribution is to networks, which receive high ratings and profit by drawing in viewers with romance, drama, and comedic effects. Some shows offer more than that. While “Grey’s Anatomy” writers may need to consult a medical dictionary, writers do offer life lessons that viewers can relate to.

   The lead character of the show, Dr. Meredith Grey, faces many challenges starting from her intern year until she becomes an attending surgeon. With these challenges, come many words of wisdom not only pertaining to the medical field, but about life. Sometimes it just helps to know that you’re not alone and there are thousands of other people out there somewhere experiencing the same thing. So here are a few real lessons this fictional character has taught us along the way.

   Don’t be too guarded. Putting up walls pushes people away. Let your walls down and your true self show. As Dr. Grey says, “At some point, you have to make a decision. Boundaries don’t keep other people out; they fence you in. Life is messy. That’s how we’re made. So you can waste your life drawing lines, or you can live your life crossing them.”

   You’ll never learn if you don’t try. Apply yourself. Try something new. Don’t sit there and wonder what would have happened. Experience it and then have a story to tell because that’s far better than wondering what if.  “We have to sweep today’s possibilities under tomorrow’s rug until we can’t anymore, until we finally understand for ourselves… that knowing is better than wondering, that waking is better than sleeping, and that even the biggest failure, even the worst most intractable mistake, beats the hell out of never trying,” said Dr. Meredith Grey.

   Always expect the unexpected. Sometimes what you are looking for isn’t exactly what you need and sometimes the most unexpected things wind up being the best things that have ever happened to us.  “Sometimes the unexpected simply pales in comparison to the unexpected. The expected is just the beginning. The unexpected is what changes our lives.”

   Everyone deserves the truth. Even though it might be the hardest thing in the world to say or hear, they deserve to know and you owe it to yourself to share it. Secrets make everything harder and, even though the truth might sting for a while, honesty is one of the most important things – especially if it’s being honest with yourself. “The truth is painful. Deep down, nobody wants to hear it, especially when it hits close to home. Sometimes we tell the truth because the truth is all we have to give. Sometimes we tell the truth because we need to say it out loud to really hear it for ourselves. And sometimes we tell them because we owe them at least that much,” she said.

   Change is a necessary evil. While no one is really a fan of change, it is essential to our growth. If we stayed in one place forever, we would never get to experience the wonders or people of another place. Travel as often as you can, let go of the things that aren’t good in your life, and strive to be the person you know you can be.  “It’s one of those things people say: ‘You can’t move on until you let go of the past.’ Letting go is the easy part. It’s the moving on that’s painful. So sometimes we fight it, trying to keep things the same. Things can’t stay the same, though. At some point, you just have to let it go, move on. Because no matter how painful it is, it’s the only way we grow.”

   Things always work out in the end. Even if right now you feels like you are not where you are meant to be, stick with it. Don’t give up now, when you’ve already gotten so far. “Just when we think we’ve figured things out, the universe throws us a curve ball. So we have to improvise. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find our way back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way; sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong.”

   While it’s easy to sit back and relax after a long day of work or class and watch a medical show just for the entertainment, try and appreciate the message. While the entertainment part may be what draws you in, the meaning and lessons involved are what keep you around at the same time every week to watch the next episode. Take the journey. You never know what you’ll find out about yourself along the way.