Fox News Article Calls Grey's Anatomy "Irresponsible Entertainment"

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Fox News Article Calls Grey's Anatomy "Irresponsible Entertainment"
While Grey's Anatomy has become TV's top show by transferring the "all for one, one for all" mentality of Friends to the arena of fictional Seattle Grace Hospital, some aren't convinced that's a good thing.

In real life, a Fox News article by Peter Brown asserts, friends don't always look the other way when crimes are committed and rules are broken.

In fact, the columnist finds profoundly disturbing the show's message that it is normal, and to some degree acceptable, for people in a position to decide who lives and who dies to give their own emotions preference over the law and medical ethics.

Of course, it's only TV. But given the series' popularity and the topic's seriousness, Brown finds himself offended by a major story line of the hit show -- which he admits to finding extremely entertaining.

He's talking about when a surgical intern, Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens (above), broke the law and medical canon to manipulate the way a heart transplant was allocated to save her fiance, Denny Duquette.

The show's failing, in this writer's opinion, is the inaccurate impression that the transplant process is capricious, can be easily manipulated, and if so, there's no real harm, since it's to help a friend.

Brown was lucky enough to receive a liver transplant in 2002. He became acquainted with the arduous process by which organs are allocated.

Organ transplants are the ultimate zero-sum game. For every patient saved, someone else is not. Many more eople need hearts, livers, lungs and kidneys than there are available organs. Thousands of Americans die each year waiting for a transplant.

Everyone connected with the transplant process -- doctors, nurses, donor families, or recipients and their families -- understands this.

The United Network For Organ Sharing supervises U.S. transplants. It has set criteria for evaluating patients' needs, primarily based on a recipients' closeness to death, overall health and ability to thrive afterwards. It decides who gets a transplant and who doesn't.

In the Grey's Anatomy world, in last May's episode, "17 Seconds," Dr. Stevens makes her fiance sicker by cutting his LVAD wire in order to move him up the list when a heart becomes available. Several fellow interns, instead of stopping her, aid in her efforts.

Izzie Loses Denny

Denny dies in the season finale after the transplant and the other interns don't report what happened. Later, they refuse to finger the culprit in some kind of celebration of friendship.

If upcoming episode previews are to be believed, the hospital lets Dr. Stevens back on staff. Is this right?
Arthur Caplan, a Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, says what would then happen in the real world is this:

  • Dr. Stevens would probably face murder or manslaughter charges, since she began a process that resulted in the patient's death. She would face criminal charges for falsifying medical records. She would be dismissed from the intern program and almost certainly never get a medical license.
  • The hospital, aware it could lose its accreditation to do transplants and have to pay a huge damage settlement (not just to this patient's family, but to the family of the one who didn't get the heart due to the fraud), would report what happened to the state medical board, UNOS and the police.
  • The other interns could also face criminal charges. Their medical futures would be in doubt since they could be considered accessories to the crime.

In the show, nobody talks to the police or the Washington State medical authorities. Nothing happens to the other interns. Now, TV is, of course, entertainment. It is invested in hooking viewers on Izzie Stevens' character. But it is also a business, hence their reluctance to write a popular character off the show.

You got the feeling when the tough resident doctor, Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) who supervises the interns began lobbying her boss to take Dr. Stevens (Katherine Heigl) back that she will somehow return to the staff and all her friends.

It's a shame.

Television doesn't have to replicate real life. But when a drama, not an obvious farce like the NBC comedy Scrubs, suggests crime can be without consequences, it is as dangerous to the public good as when it glorifies sex and violence.

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


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It's a tv show. A TV SHOW! It's suppose to be entertaining and interesting, if you want real life watch a documentary, not a DRAMA! Common sense should tell anybod that that stuff really doesnt happen like that i mean come on. Are we really that stupid? Get a grip......


I agree with what so many of you have said. This is so silly. Would anyone use Grey's Anatomy as a way to learn about medicine?? For goodness sakes. Could a boy really survive with a tree limb stuck in his abdomen, or a man survive who was run through with a metal rail? Or, could a bomb really shoot into a man's chest and not explode and yet when carried so delicately as to stay completely level then blow up bomb squad guy? This show provides the drama of a real life operating room, not actual practice. I didn't expect to actually watch what would happen in a real hospital. It is fiction! The hospital sets the stage for the interactions and relationships. It isn't suppose to be the practitioner's guide to heart transplant protocol. Give it a rest, FOX.


oh, come ON!!! it's TV for pete's sake. they honestly think a surgical intern in real life would actually think they could do something like that without consequences?? jeez. get a life.


I find this very amusing since it's coming from Fox news and there news reports have been questionable about REAL news issues like the War in Iraq. Secondly, if they are going to point fingers and tv dramas, why not look at their own network first. I am an avid Grey's Anatomy fan, but I also enjoy watching House from time to time. How many times has Dr. House broken the rules, or done things, which would cause him to lose his medical license? Where are the news articles about that series? TV is TV is TV is TV!!! This is the point!! People are too busy trying to move the responsibility from themselves as parents onto something silly like a television. If you teach children that it's just a tv show then they will know better than to cut LVAD wires to help their boyfriend get a heart transplant. Either way, bad publicity is good publicity. The show wouldn't be talked about if it weren't doing so darn good.


This is just ridiculous. As the writer said this is ONLY TV. Get over it and move on. Write about something that is real life and is going to have a real affect on earth not on a television show! And the fact that someone took their time to even write this article is hilarious. But I guess they have their own opinions like I have mine when it comes to hating whoever wrote this article.


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

Burke was- He took something from me. He took little pieces of me, little pieces over time, so small I didn't even notice, you know? He wanted me to be something I wasn't, and I made myself into what he wanted. One day I was me Cristina Yang, and then suddenly I was lying for him, and jeopardizing my career, and agreeing to be married and wearing a ring, and being a bride. Until I was standing there in a wedding dress with no eyebrows, and I wasn't Cristina Yang anymore. And even then, I would've married him. I would have. I lost myself for a long time. And now that I'm finally me again, I can't. I love you. I love you more than I loved Burke. I love you. And that scares the crap out of me because when you asked me to ignore Teddy's page, you took a piece of me, and I let you. And that will never happen again.