For this week, read the attached article and answer the following questions:
1- How does the author hook the reader?
2- In what ways does the article surprise you? In what ways does it not?
3- As an aspiring nurse, how do you view medical dramas and television shows that “gloss over” the truth of the industry?
I Am Caught Between the Two Worlds of the I.C.U. and TV – The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/opinion/medical-tv-show-misinformation.html 1/2https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/opinion/medical-tv-show-misinformation.htmlGUEST ESSAYI Am Caught Between the Two Worlds of the I.C.U. and TV By Daniela J. LamasDr. Lamas, a contributing Opinion writer, is a pulmonary and critical-care physician at Brigham and Womenʼs Hospital in Boston. She is a co-producer on the TV medicaldrama “The Resident.”When it is quiet in the intensive care unit, I escape into one of the call rooms. The air is stale and dry, the bed unmade.I take off my mask, angle the computer away from the tousled sheets, and log on to Zoom, where a group of writers and producers is discussing another medical emergency. A young man’s heart has just stopped. The resident rushes to get the defibrillator, but before he can, someone objects.It’s a producer noting that the scene feels too predictable. We need something more, he says, maybe a medical mislead or anescalation to hook the viewers before the commercial break. He looks to me for guidance.
We can do that, I reply, before thealarm of my pager calls me back to the unit once again. We can do anything. This is television.When I started to write for a television medical drama a few years ago, I embraced the job as a salve for the burnout that somany doctors face. It offered me a release from the unyielding sadness of intensive care, a way to turn tragedy into somethingmore hopeful and to control how the story ends.But in straddling these two worlds, I have realized that television drama is not just about escapism. On the contrary, I believethat medical fiction can also be a powerful tool for countering misinformation and changing minds.I leave the call room and return to the unit, where we are caring for an older woman with Covid-19 whose pastor had advisedthe congregation not to get vaccinated. She followed those instructions and now, though her lungs are slowly improving, herkidneys are worsening, and she is profoundly delirious, not waking up. When we stand at her bedside and call her name, hereyelids flutter.
Down the hall, we titrate drips and manage vent settings for a man whose stem cell transplant cured hisleukemia but ravaged the rest of his organs. His wife would be at his bedside, but she is at her father’s funeral.I used to want to show the hospital as it truly exists, to reveal the humor and tragedy and grace that characterize my world. I could tell you about the time a family came to say goodbye to a dying woman. A misplaced identification card had led them tobelieve, wrongly, that she was their mother. I could tell you about a patient’s brother, a hulking man with skull tattoos on hisshaved head, who told us that he could not stand to be in the room when we took his brother off the ventilator. When he left, wethought we would never see him again, so we were surprised when he returned minutes later — not to sit vigil at the bedside,but to collect his brother’s prosthetic leg.
He spent the rest of the day in the hospital chapel with the leg beside him. I could tellso many stories about the forms that love takes.But when I recounted these types of stories in the writers’ room, I learned that much of what I see is simply too grim. Thepublic does not need to be reminded — especially now — of how quickly things can go bad, how protracted illness can lead afamily to disintegrate, how doctors can try their very best and yet people will still die. Audiences want to see their heroessucceed. And when life is uncertain, as it is now, the predictably optimistic formula of network television is more reassuringthan ever.
I Am Caught Between the Two Worlds of the I.C.U. and TV – The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/opinion/medical-tv-show-misinformation.html 2/2During my first experience on the set, walking through our fictional hospital, I learned that when things went wrong — whenan inaccurate image was displayed on a CT scanner or a medical word was mispronounced — we could fix it later inpostproduction. “Don’t worry,” the producers told me. “We can fix it in post.”How I loved that phrase the first time I heard it. That was all I wanted for so many of my patients: to be able to have anotherchance, to treat the sepsis earlier, to stop the pastor from advising against vaccination.
To fix it in post.During the pandemic, I have found my roles as a critical care doctor and television writer increasingly in conflict. I want tomemorialize and honor every tragic death, but I also yearn to tell stories that are hopeful, to immerse myself in a world wherethere is always the chance for recovery, no matter how dire the diagnosis.It is a tension I am still learning to navigate. How do we tell stories that feel true while also keeping viewers engaged? Whatkind of cheats are acceptable, and which are irresponsible? Television characters survive cardiac arrests far more often thanpeople do in real life.
But if we showed all codes as they really are, all the ribs breaking and limbs flailing and the nurse leftalone to clean up after the death, our viewers would change the channel. I struggle to define the line between my responsibilityto reality and to entertainment.Finding this line matters now more than ever. Here in the intensive care unit, where we meet patients at their sickest, there isso much that we cannot fix. But in the writers’ room, we have a chance to start again, to offer a different ending to the story.And in doing so, we can sneak in potentially lifesaving education — about early warning signs of certain illnesses, the dangersof overtreatment or the impact of inequities in access to care.For better or worse, people often do believe what they watch on television. With millions of viewers of all political leanings,television dramas have an unparalleled opportunity to educate and even to change behavior. I once thought that my role was totell the unvarnished truth about medicine. But I have come to believe that it is worth glossing over the facts if we can weave astory that encourages viewers to trust science, to get vaccinated, to look differently at disease.
When I find myself fact-checking what I see on the television monitors, I remind myself of this more important goal.On rounds one recent morning, I stopped in to examine a man with a complex history of congenital heart disease. After Imuted his television so that I could listen to his heart and lungs, he asked me if I might be able to step out of the way of thescreen. He was watching a medical show; it was an episode he had never seen before, and he was just getting to the good part.He noted my surprise. Through all the surgeries over the years, he explained, medical television dramas have been his oneconstant. He knew the schedules of each show by heart. Something about these plots reassured him, teaching him what mightbe ahead while helping him to feel less alone in his own medical odyssey. “They really hit a note,” he said, and I told him that Iunderstood.Daniela J. Lamas (@danielalamasmd), a contributing Opinion writer, is a pulmonary and critical-care physician at Brigham and Womenʼs Hospital in Boston. Sheis a co-producer on the TV medical drama “The Resident.”
The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. Weʼd like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. Andhereʼs our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.A scene from the Fox TV medical drama “The Resident,” which the author writes for. FoxNetwork, via Photofest
As an aspiring nurse, how do you view medical dramas and television shows that “gloss over” the truth of the industry? In what ways does the article surprise you? In what ways does it not?
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