Monday, February 22, 2010

tv show pet peeve

Picture this scene (you know you've seen it many a time):

A terrible accident has occurred, and now a character whom you've come to know and love is lying in a hospital bed, barely clinging to life (and, I might add, looking remarkably attractive and well-groomed for someone so Critically Ill... usually without even a nasal cannula, much less an endotracheal tube, to spoil the effect).

Suddenly, the rhythmic beeping in the background gives way to an ominous hum, and you know the terrible truth. The heart monitor swings into view to show you the all-too-recognizable flatline.

Instantly, doctors and nurses rush in. What is the first thing they do? Check the Airway, Breathing, Circulation? Start chest compressions? No way, baby, because in medical drama there is nothing more glamorous than the all-powerful defibrillator. One of the (also remarkably attractive) doctors grabs those paddles, slams them on the patient's bare chest, yells "CLEAR!" and the patient jerks violently.

Lather, rinse, repeat. This goes on for a grand total of about 30 seconds (despite the fact that real codes can last more like 30 minutes at times... and do, in fact, typically involve chest compressions) before the Doctor In Charge wipes his/her brow, fights back tears, and says, forcing stoicism, "Call it."

So what is the pet peeve here? The unlikely attractiveness of... well, everyone? The fast-forwarded code blue? The lack of oxygen therapy (or any kind of medical device) on a patient who is evidently Hovering Near Death? Actually, no.

People. Asystole is NOT a freakin' SHOCKABLE RHYTHM!

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