Medical Myths On TV: The Real Deal


I came home dead tired and a bit disappointed with my job hunting today. No such luck today. Anyways, as a kid in a commercial said, “There’s always another day! Try and try until you succeed!”. Tama. But not all things you can see on TV are real. Some may fool you, some may mislead you, and might eventually hurt, injure or even kill you…


While watching a Pinoy telenovela after the news, I saw a scene so disturbing, it got me up off the couch. Here’s the scene: an actor lying on the hospital bed – seems acting like dying – with all the equipment around him. Name it, oxygen cannula (*hell no, on a dying patient?), mechanical ventilator with the tubings included, and cardiac monitor – showing a sinus rhythm converting to asystole…

And then, all of a sudden, the commotion started. One of the actresses started crying like hell (e.g.: tulo luha, tulo uhog and everything, lupasay sa sahig). And then someone dressed in white ordered/shouted – “Defib! 160 Joules! Clear!”. WTF?!? I bursted to laughter and thought – what in the world are they doing? Do they even know the protocols?- Yes, given the fact that they are actors/actresses, at least they should have researched…

With accordance to AHA 2010 guidelines, such rhythm should NOT be defibrillated. Rather, it should be assessed first of all (*Check Leads Placement, Increase Gain, Check Other Leads – I,II,III). If the rhythm is true asystole, then proceed with Good Quality CPR and doses of inotropics such as Epinephrine (Every 2 to 3 minutes). And if the rhythm is converted to a shockable rhythm, then you call for defibrillation…

During my ER days, I remember a family bringing in a dying relative. Upon entering the unit, one of the patient’s relative said “Gawin nyo po lahat ng magagawa nyo.” After 30 minutes of resuscitation and effort, the patient succumbed to death. The same relative burst out saying “Yun na yun, hindi niyo man lang kukuryentehin?”The patient didn’t even shown a single shockable rhythm in the first place…

Final Note: Not all things you see on TV are true. Some may not, some may do. Reality is different from the things that TV programs are portraying to the masses. Reality bites – and it hurts.

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  • very informative posts …

  • timgurl

    i am about to post my article today, but you already did for we have the same thoughts. i just decided to post it as a comment though.
    Malpractice/ Negligence sa Filipino movies/teleserye
    Malpractice – is professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient, with most cases involving medical error. Standards and regulations for medical malpractice vary by country and jurisdiction within countries.
    Nakakainis, nakaka-asar at hindi maiwasang magkomento pag may nakikitang pagkakamali. Nais ko sanang pagtawanan na lamang ngunit hindi kanais nais na masilayan.
    Because if you really are a keen observer and knowledgeable with a certain procedure, all you can do is react and get dismayed.
    Hospital settings
    Scene no. 1
    Patient with severe bleeding may tama ng bala/ nasaksak. Emergency room ang layo ng nilalakbay ng pasyente at mga taong nagtutulak bago marating ang ER. Lubos na hindi kapanipaniwala dahil sa totoong buhay pagpasok sa pintuan ng ER ilang steps lang lipat bed agad.
    Scene no. 2
    Patients sa bed biglang nag-respiratory arrest – takbo ang healthcare provider doing ambubagging na may unan ang pasyente at naka-connect ang tube sa oxygen supply.
    Scene no. 3
    Patient na intubated in coma – biglang nakakapagsalita while the tube is in the trachea? and connected sa mechanical vent? Boom! Siguro out na.
    Scene no. 4
    Sa operating room bago mag start ang procedure – doctor, nagsuot muna ng gloves tapos isununod ang mask. Unsterile na. hmp!
    Scene no. 5
    Patient with cardiac arrest with tight clothes di tinanggal continuous CPR then bilang nag- defib wow! Yun ang shocking.
    Etc. etc.
    Ang daming halimbawa. Sana naman mag-research din ang mga taing nasa likod ng mga palabas na ito.