How true to life is ABC's Grey's Anatomy?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Many of you are viewers of one of ABC's most popular shows, "Grey's Anatomy." Characters Meredith Grey and Dr. McDreamy have captured the imaginations of people who were perhaps never before interested in medicine. But how realistic is the show? For a look at that, we took a rare behind-the-scenes look at the set.

Most women in America who watch Grey's Anatomy might like it if Patrick Dempsey, also known as Dr. McDreamy, followed them.

"I think we're all still looking for Dr. McDreamy," said UT surgical intern Dr. Christi Blakkolb. "But we haven't seen him around here!"

Take a look behind the scenes on the set of the show. An emergency room doctor helps find 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."

Registered Nurse Linda Klein 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 Dempsey. "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.

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

"I love the show, but more for the drama entertainment value than the medical validity," Dr. Blakkolb told us.

First year surgical intern Dr. Nathan Allison added, "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 that exciting.

"There's not as much drama in our lives as there seems to be on TV," said UT surgical intern Dr. David Sada.

"If you took an entire week, we might make a good 15 minute show," joked Dr. Allison.

What about the steamy relationship between surgical intern Meredith Grey and Dr. McDreamy?

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

And are doctors really mean to interns?

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

And we know the question you really have. It's about those rendezvous. Do they really happen in dark places all around the hospital?

"Not that I've seen," said Dr. Allison.

I don't know if I've had enough time during my day to day work schedule to break off for sessions like that," agreed Dr. Blakkolb.

This part is real -- trailing the attending on rounds.

Nurse 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.

Or maybe what keeps people coming back isn't the reality of the medicine, nor the steamy scenes, but unrequited love held in check; endings yet to be written...kind of like real life.
(Copyright © 2006, KTRK-TV)

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