How Grey's Anatomy Keeps it Real

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The interns and surgeons of Grey's Anatomy have captured the imaginations of millions of viewers, many of whom perhaps never before took an interest in medicine. But how realistic is the show, from a medical perspective? A Houston television station set out to find out.
One of the Show's Consultants

A behind-the-scenes look at the show's filming reveals an emergency room doctor who researches real and unusual medical problems for the stories.

"That was actually very challenging," said Dr. Karen Pike, a consultant on the show. "It was fun."

Then, registered Nurse Linda Klein (pictured) comes on set to make sure the surgeries look accurate.

"If they're not believable, I'll tell them," she said.

"We wouldn't be able to do what we're doing without her," said Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd. "We love her and respect her immensely and she makes us look good."

"I find it very calming because she knows exactly what to do and exactly where we need to be and how much we need to see to make it look real," added actress Kate Walsh, who plays Dr. Addison Shepherd, Derek's wife.

But do the actors on the show look real to actual first-year surgical interns at UT-Houston medical school?


"I love the show, but more for the drama entertainment value than the medical validity," said Dr. Christi Blakkolb, a surgical intern at UT.

Fellow first-year intern Dr. Nathan Allison agreed, saying, "I like the show. My wife loves the show and she always tries to drag me in there and watch it."

Alas, life as an intern is not quite as exciting as the show portrays.

"If you took an entire week, we might make a good 15 minute show," joked Allison.
Then there is the question of hospital relationships. Would Meredith Grey, a first-year intern, really be dating Dr. Shepherd in real life?

"I don't know how realistic it is for an intern to be dating an attending," Blakkolb said.

As a consultant, Klein predicts an interesting fallout from the show.

"A lot of people getting into medical school because of the sex they see on this show," she said.

And are doctors really blatantly mean to interns?

"That kind of stuff just isn't as true as it used to be," said Dr. Rosemary Kozar, a UT attending surgeon.

As for the quickie rendezvous that happen all over Seattle Grace, the UT residents concur that they would probably be too busy. But the bulk of the show is real -- everyone working around the clock, interns trailing the attending on rounds, doing the research, getting the lab results and making their diagnoses.

Realistic or not, perhaps what makes the show so popular is neither the medicine nor the sexual tension, but the pure human emotion. That's what makes every episode so captivating. The inevitable failure, pressure and joy, unrequited love held in check; endings yet to be written. Now that's real life.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Okay GREY'S anatomy is teh best show EVER!! I MEAN I CANNOT LIVE WITH OUT IT I MEAN WHAT AM I GOING TO DO

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Grey's Anatomy Quotes

CRISTINA: "There's a club. The Dead Dads Club. And you can't be in it until you're in it. You can try to understand, you can sympathize. But until you feel that loss... My dad died when I was nine. George, I'm really sorry you had to join the club."
GEORGE: "I... I don't know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn't."
CRISTINA: "Yeah, that never really changes."

MEREDITH: "You don't get to call me a whore. When I met you, I thought I had found the person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was done! All the boys and all the bars and all the obvious daddy issues, who cares? I was done. You left me. You chose Addison. I'm all glued back together now. I make no apologies for how I chose to repair what you broke. You don't get to call me a whore."
DEREK: "This thing with us is finished. It's over."
MEREDITH: "Finally."
DEREK: "Yeah, it's done."
MEREDITH: "It is done."