Real-Life Interns Dissect Grey's Anatomy

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Real-Life Interns Dissect Grey's Anatomy
Scene: Morning.

Derek Shepherd awakens in bed next to fellow doctor Meredith Grey.

The lovely Izzie Stevens bursts in - wearing only a towel, of course.

She complains, naturally, about another doctor (Alex Karev) who just walked in on her in the bathroom.

Dr. Ben Gbulie, chief resident at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., is incredulous, according to the Washington Post:

"Do you realize there is one attending (doctor) and three residents in the same bedroom right now? In the morning?? And one of them is half-naked?!"

Gbulie and other real-life interns and residents have gathered to watch an episode of ABC's hit medical drama, Grey's Anatomy.

The show's interns at fictional Seattle Grace Hospital practically all live together in one big house, where bed-hopping is a sport.

"Um, noooo, my life isn't really like that," Gbulie said.

The residents and interns in orthopedic surgery, ophthalmology, podiatry and general surgery who wander in are all on-call, many of them 15 hours into their shifts.

Amid their harried work lives, it's not easy to be a regular watcher of Grey's Anatomy, but they're likely - even from casual viewing - to know more personal details about the characters on Grey's Anatomy than one another.

Grey's Anatomy is the nation's most popular non-reality program (American Idol is tops overall). Emphasis on "non."

"It's not about the medicine," sixth-year resident Vanessa Ngakeng said. "It's entertainment. Sleep with an attending? No way."

In real life, Patrick Dempsey, who plays Dr. Shepherd, and his wife just had twins. Chandra Wilson (Dr. Bailey) won a Screen Actors Guild award.

"Which one is Bailey?" Gbulie asks. She's the one known as "the Nazi," he's told. It's the character closest to himself, a late-year resident, shepherding the interns.

Judging from room reaction, Miranda Bailey a favorite character because, unlike the attendings who are too busy sleeping with their charges, she keeps the interns in check.

The group's response gets livelier as the show progresses.

So, unlike George O'Malley, real interns wouldn't get to scrub in on an appendectomy on their first day of residency?

"The first day, you don't even know how to hold a scalpel," Ngakeng said.

And all the show's back-talking of superiors?

"The way they talk to the attendings is just wrong," podiatrist Dr. Michangelo Scruggs said.

How about dating a patient?

"The thing is, after seeing a patient in a certain way, I don't want to see anything else," Scruggs said. "But I deal with feet."

Many lascivious scenes later, Dr. McDreamy - a neurosurgeon - has to open up a patient and perform something a cardiothoracic surgeon actually would do. The room is riveted.

Gbulie: "He's aspirating ... That's good TV!"

The residents agree that the terminology and medical procedures are pretty accurate. Usually.

But then there are TV "sweeps" months, when good ratings are a must and the writers get carried away. Like, an intern gets to drill holes - with an industrial drill - into the head of a patient trapped under a car because of a ferry accident.

Among the interns, three of the show's story lines were voted the most entertaining:

No. 3: Code Black! There's live ammo in a patient's body, Meredith's got her hands on it, and unless the hottie-hot bomb squad guy can disarm it, the whole operating room might explode!

Gbulie: "That's not comparable with real life, but I thought it was a beautiful story."

No. 2: Izzie cuts the (incomprehensible medical acronym alert!) LVAD wire! Izzie endangers her patient (and fiance) by cutting the wire to his heart pump in order to make him "sicker" - so he'll move up the transplant list. And she doesn't get fired!

No. 1: Meredith rises from the dead! Meredith drowns, McDreamy pulls her from the waters. Then, miraculously, she comes back to life in "Some Kind of Miracle" and immediately begins talking in that whiny voice of hers (which was inexplicably unaffected by having had a tube down her throat while she was ... did we mention she was dead?).

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




anyone who watches this show and expects to get reality is delusional. true that some of the medical terms and procedures are close to reality but if i want to know about the real thing i can always watch discovery channel. the messiness of the characters and the show is what entertain the viewers. so keep watching


I'm from Norway, and Season 2 ended here in February. Seson 3 is due to start this Fall. Anyways... I know not EVERYTHING on the show is realistic. But I can tell you this much: I was very very shocked and disappointed when someone I know, told me that the case in "Much Too Much" (episode 10, season 2) where one of the quintuplets were diagnosed with hydrocephalus, isn't a real thing. She was saying that it is unrealistic to be diagnosed with hydrocephalus and still live. That really disappointed me, because I myself was diagnosed with it. So I am proof that Dr Sheperd was right when he told the patient how to treat this. I also know other cases on the show that can happen in real life. But of course, I also know that some other stuff on the show isn't realistic. But I LOVE the show!


i'm in med I KNOW this is not a medical show, it's about the characters and their lives, much like those laywer series but better. It's a great show and i watch it every week....sure it has some mistakes...and everyone sleeps with everybody...but no more mistakes than in House md. (wich i watch too) where apparently any doctor can operate, do dangerous procedures even resucite new borns....that's really funny!!! so i think it's too much to expect realism in the most watched television series on would get boring trust me I KNOW...oh and by the way...christina rules!!! (and i want new episodes....!!!!!!!)


uh helllloooooo!!!!! drops off and vanishes. ARE U TRYING TO KILL ME!!!!! lol, i luv this show and personally, reruns are better than nothing. but u r right, they need to stay more constant with it. i want to go into the medical field and i have seen how stressful it is, so this is my weekly medical as well as dramatical/emotional/romantic fix and its all i need.


I love this show because it is not real life. I've worked in the medical field for a while, and yes, you are helping people, but also, much of the time it is very depressing. If I wanted to see 'real life' hospital drama, I'd stay at work. But I want my Happy Ending dammit!


As far as I'm concerned they already played the season finale! What is the matter with you people? They can't even show a full season without repeats? I didn't expect it to be realistic and it certainly isn't, but I did expect continuation and as much as I looked forward to the show, it's off my list. I hope this and any other show that shows as much disregard for the viewers drops off the edge of the ratings and vanishes!


Yeah, I can't imagine a lot of that stuff happening in a real hospital...but I sure wish my real Dr. was McDreamy.....


i read somewhere that we'll have 24 episodes for this season, and that the spin-off (Kate leaving) would be slipped in as the 22nd or 23rd. hope the finale wont leave us wondering like crazy.. I DONT WANT THIS SEASON TO END!! dont think i can hold my breath till the next season starts!!


I agree with you, notasurgoen. I really don't care that not all of the medical stuff could or would happen. If I wanted real medical shows I would watch Discovery Health. Although, I do miss the fact that there used to be more medical stuff. But, nevertheless, I watch it for the characters and their relationships with eachother and the fact that it really is entertaining!


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.