[This is a reworked repost on TV medicine from my old site, Everywhere and Here, whose URL my boyfriend told me in no uncertain terms that no one would ever remember. And it’s true: Call Me Watson is much snappier.
In any case, I love TV, and watch rather too much of it. Here, I’ll review shows depicting medicine on TV as to its relationship to reality, and proximity to entertainment. Enjoy!]
Those four words alone should pique your interest, if not promise a certain level of quality. Also, the letters BBC. And the names Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm. And in fact, it delivers.
What you wouldn’t be able to tell from the above is that this is set in snowy Russia, and is based on the notebooks of Mikhail Bulgakov, a doctor in the 1900s during the Russian Revolution and subsequent civil wars. He went on to abandon his trade for that of a writer’s (a man after my own heart indeed), most famously writing the masterpiece, “The Master and Margarita.”
This BBC miniseries follows a new medical school graduate (played by Radcliffe), who aces all his medical examinations and therefore – this being Russia – is rewarded by being promptly carted off to the middle-of-nowhere (more specifically, Muryevo) to run a rural hospital by himself. Jon Hamm plays his future self, recently released from a mental institution for an unknown reason, both recollecting his story through his notebooks and interacting with his younger self. It’s surprisingly hilarious while being surprisingly dark, which makes sense, since it is produced by the British.
In the American medical system, the operating rooms are considered especially mysterious. In hospitals, the dedicated housestaff who operate in these places are members of an elite squad known as residents.
These are their stories.
Ravenlocks and the Three Scrub Sinks
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Ravenlocks, with hair as black as raven feathers. But you wouldn’t know, because she had to stuff it every day under a really unflattering blue bouffant hat – two, in fact, to keep her hair from falling out through the weak elastic opening.
Most days, Ravenlocks would sit into operating room, waiting for her prince – no, wait, the patient – to come, rolled in by the anesthesia elves with their propofol magic. And after the prick of the needle, and the patient fell into a deep sleep of a hundred years (sorry, minutes), she would wander out into the wilderness that was the operating room hallways to look for a scrub sink to wash her weary hands.
Outside the operating room, she found a sink. Ravenlocks was in a hurry, so she opened a scrub brush and kicked the water panel with her knee to start the water’s flow. She tested the water from the first sink.
“Owwwwwwww, s#)%!” exclaimed Ravenlocks, a real pottymouth, “That f%^&*($ sink is TOO HOT!”
[Use some of that scrub for your tongue, young lady – love, Mom]