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Are television medical dramas bad for our image?

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    1 15 Michigan St NE, 736-B, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
    Lindsey Ouellette
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    1 15 Michigan St NE, 736-B, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
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    Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, MI, United States
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
    Haley Ritter
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
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    Spectrum Health - Michigan State University Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Grand Rapids, MI, United States
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
    Michael Shaheen
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
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    Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, MI, United States
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
    Alexander Brown
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
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    Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, MI, United States
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
    Virginia Huynh
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
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    Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, MI, United States
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
    Amanda Fleeger
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
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    Spectrum Health - Michigan State University Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Grand Rapids, MI, United States
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
    Tiffany Fleeger
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    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
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    Spectrum Health - Michigan State University Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Grand Rapids, MI, United States
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  • Jeffrey S. Jones
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    Corresponding author at: 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
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    Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, MI, United States

    Spectrum Health - Michigan State University Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Grand Rapids, MI, United States
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  • Author Footnotes
    1 15 Michigan St NE, 736-B, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
    2 15 Michigan St NE Suite 701, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, United States.
      The popularity of medical television (TV) dramas is well-established, and emergency medicine educators are beginning to recognize the power of medical media to impact public attitudes, beliefs, and expectations. Previous studies have shown that medical dramas often depict the fictional physicians in questionable, outlandish or dangerous scenarios [
      • Czarny M.J.
      • Faden R.R.
      • Sugarman J.
      Bioethics and professionalism in popular television medical dramas.
      ,
      • Pfau M.
      • Mullen L.J.
      • Garrow K.
      The influence of television viewing on public perceptions of physicians.
      ]. However, it has also been noted that patients may view these dramas as credible portrayals of medical interventions, thus leading them to view real-world doctors as courageous [
      • Quick B.L.
      The effects of viewing Grey’s Anatomy on perceptions of doctors and patient satisfaction.
      ]. TV dramas also tend to misrepresent typical patient demographics, medical problems, diagnoses and mortality rates when compared to real life [
      • Hetsroni
      If you must be hospitalized, television is not the place: diagnoses, survival rates and demographic characteristics of patients in TV hospital dramas.
      ,
      • Primack B.A.
      • Roberts T.
      • Fine M.J.
      • et al.
      ER vs. ED: a comparison of televised and real-life emergency medicine.
      ]. Issues with professionalism and the handling of bioethical conundrums are also often represented on medical dramas. Studies have noted that many shows are rife with departures from professional behavior and bioethical issues [
      • Czarny M.J.
      • Faden R.R.
      • Sugarman J.
      Bioethics and professionalism in popular television medical dramas.
      ]. These programs may not necessarily portray consistently accurate or factual representations about emergency medicine (EM) or its practitioners, and it is unclear what impact they may have on public perceptions. To assess the possible effect of televised medical dramas on the perceptions of the general public, we analyzed the interpersonal relations and professionalism content of popular medical dramas on television.

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        Bioethics and professionalism in popular television medical dramas.
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