Another Loss in the World of Healthcare

I had stopped watching ER a few years ago when every show promised to be the


When I heard that the show was ending I wanted to see the finale for old times sake. Like seeing the staff of M.A.S.H. being discharged and sent stateside. And, if all the truth be told, I had to watch my man, George.

Watching that storyline quickly reminded me why I stopped watching. A young boy on a bike hit by a car and now determined to be braindead? Comforting the family and talking about their options, knowing that the Life Center Donor Network staff is awaiting word in the next room? It all hits way too close to home. Hubby works in an ER, he didn't wish to extend his workday any longer than the 12 hours he'd already spent there and I had no need to cry for an entire hour.

Scrubs is possibly the most accurate of all the hospital shows in that it truly captures the essence of hospital care and politics. ER, however, depicted the everyday chaos, absurdity and pathos of the emergency room experience. Could even see the effects of "right-sizing", "downsizing", the influx and revenge of the "B students", and the ill effects when profit and healthcare are tied together. Good for them for showing it.

Throughout it all, those characters tried to show us the best that we could be. If you could tolerate seeing a replay of your day at work you might see a "do-over", a way to have connected more deeply. A lesson not to be found in any reality show. But as the last frame showed--the ER is still open for business.


  1. I stopped watching years ago too and for exactly the same reasons. Who needs to repeat the work day while trying to unwind? Not me. I never really watched Scrubs. I'll have to check it out.

  2. I am happy that you wrote about this subject. I have never watched more than a few minutes of ER or SCRUBS and I've stopped watching HOUSE because, even though I love anatomy and physiology, I find the shows too painful.

    I can watch all the LAW & ORDER and CSI spinoffs you want as visual Valium, but those intense doctor shows, no can do!

    Hope you are all feeling better after the Man Cold!!!

  3. As a Lay-Person without the understandable Professional bias, I have watched ER for years, beginning when my Mother used to rave about George Clooney. "He can't act", I would say. "He doesn't have to", was her reply.
    I think the show matured and grew in believable character-development ( no perfect coiffures as on Greys Anatomy). They faced the situation in Darfur before it was fashionable, and have dealt with many human imperfections within the staff, as well as the patients.
    From what I saw of last night's finale, it was not their strongest show. Too many egos to be stroked maybe. My TV had pixelation and sound-freezing problems so I missed minutes at a time. I'll reserve final judgment until I catch up and watch it online.
    I have enjoyed the shows of this final season. I still prefer Dr.Kovack to Dr.Ross.

  4. I remember a show when I was in high school, Emergency. So innocent. "ER" went beyond "Clear!" and brought us into the emergency room. I watched for years. Knowing that it was ending I tuned in but could not watch even with the possibility of Clooney ahowing up.Too gritty and personal--great work but really hard to watch. Humour is needed and therefore, "Scrubs" is my preferred med show.


  5. I am SO glad you posted this. I've always wondered what real ER/critical care people thought of medical shows. Watching things that depict reporter-types has alwys felt like nails on chalkboard. Now that Scrubs has your stamp of approval, I'll check it out. Meanwhile, can't resist eye-candy Gregory House, no matter how nasty and juvenile he is. How is it possible the English accent NEVER breaks through?

  6. I never watched ER and figured there was no sense in watching the finale. I enjoyed your critique immensely and love that you approve of Scrubs. My husband hates it so I have to watch it alone.

    John Kitzhaber, an ER doctor, was Oregon's governor from 1995-2003. You may be interested in The Archimedes Movement that he founded.

  7. i really love the way you write and Ive been meaning to watch "Scrubs" & I love George Clooney. He is sooooo handsome.

    I can imagine having to watch a replay of the wonderful job ure doing.

    Again, you write really well and its a pleasure following your blog.

    Take care and have a great weekend!

    - Rosh

  8. I stopped watching ER a few years ago as well, mainly after the show where Anthony Edward's character died. My only contribution to the world of ER was the EMT class I took about 9 years ago and all the intern hours spent in the ER as an EMT Intern. I do not remember it being as crazy as what was shown on ER, but there were a few things I saw that changed my outlook on life.

  9. I, too, stopped watching ER when every episode was hyped as the most amazing, stupendous, heart-stopping ER ever.
    I loved the days of Dr. Carter, Dr. Ross, Dr. Green, Dr. Benton, and Nurse Hathaway. It was one of the most human shows on TV. It's interesting hearing your insights as a medical professional.
    It's interesting what you say about Scrubs, because I have long been a fan of that show.
    Always a treat to get your insight!

  10. I've always been curious of the medical profession's view of ER. I was hooked for years, mainly due to Dr Ross-hormonal thunderstorm-Clooney. Then I became a mother and ER and HOUSE are both too difficult for me, especially if kids are involved in the plot.

  11. I don't have teleivison, but I would not watch these shows even if I did, I have a huge fear of hospitals and doctors and besides they make me sad. When I was home for Christmas I went to ER with my mom as she hurt her hand. I had hot flashes the whole time I was there :-).
    P.S. I do LOVE George though.

  12. I stopped watching ER because of one character: Abby. She was too much for me. I got sick of every storyline she destroyed. I'm glad to hear that the show was authentic, though. I've always detested shows that purport to be "about public school" because they really never are even close to being realistic. Not in any way, shape, form...anything. They are usually an insult to both teachers and students. So are the stylized movies. Utter crap.

  13. I can not watch most of these medical shows for the same reason. It's more mental and emotional work. I have enough real life drama!

  14. I have huge respect and admiration for anyone who can work in the medical world.. I have a blood phobia, which would never help, but apart from that, the sheer amount of humanity needed. Anyone who walks the path of medicine is a saint!.. thank you.


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