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Avatar universal

Dr. House and reality

Anyone ever notice how *wrong* this show is about neurological problems?

They do loads of MRIs, with 3 doctors sitting there evaluating each slice as it's done.. As if that ever happens! They do LPs to rule out MS. Wrong.

In fact, MS is mentioned a lot and is even diagnosed, always to be retracted by the end of the show. Last night's rerun included an MS diagnosis at one point, so House ordered the patient to be started on 'a double dose of interferon.' Yeah, right. And then in what must have been intended as only a few hours later, they say the patient is responding (favorably) to the med. Wouldn't that be nice?

I have to wonder how many errors there are that I'm totally ignorant of, in other specialties.  Not that I take it seriously, but it would be nice if they adhered a bit more to reality. There's enough drama just with that.

24 Responses
382218 tn?1341185087
Yes, I noticed that too.   Weird since they must have medical consultants on staff.  I wonder what other diseases they also get wrong?
293157 tn?1285877039
yeh I like the show for the show... but don't really get alot of the med stuff... I also watch "Mystery Dxs" ... that's more of a reality show..heheheh... takes Dr awhile to find the Dx..

take care
667078 tn?1316004535
I noticed the double interferon too.

"ER" used to kill me. I worked an ER, well it was animal but we were state of the art. When animal crashed, you use drugs to get the heart going. Rarely do you use electricity. Everyone got the paddles on TV.

What about most TV is real.

I liked Hopkins that was a good show. I just assumed all donated organs were usable. Often the transplant team finds the organs are not. Then they have to tell the person waiting for an organ at the last minute they are not getting it. That must be so heartbreaking.


721523 tn?1331585402
The mistakes is these shows leed to alot of misconceptions that we, as patients, must deal with.  Oh well, at leist it brought some attention to our disease.....
984138 tn?1359816673
That is my favorite show ever!!! I also see them mention MS alot and laugh but i dont really mind it i just love the show  great drama!! Got all the series! lol( i mean its a non reality t.v. show  what really can you expect?)
338416 tn?1420049302
If we're going to start pointing fingers, all three of the CSI shows are so wrong, it's ridiculous.  Who has beautiful people like this working in their lab?  Even sillier - how do they have time to do all the tests they're supposed to do?  And DNA tests are not done at the regular lab - they send them off, and the results come back three days later.  If they're lucky.  And don't get me started about the 'enhancement' of a video image.  Grrr....  And the so-called computer programs that they have?  Looks like the future to me.

But I don't worry about accuracy - I'm watching the show for entertainment value, not for education.  If they were more accurate, it would be quite boring.
382218 tn?1341185087
Seriously, white pant suits and 4" sandals at worn at crime scenes that inevitably involve lots of blood, guts, and/or swamps?   Even for glamorous and gorgeous Miami it is a bit of a stretch.  :)
739070 tn?1338607002
Yes, House takes liberties with ALL of their dx. Don't get me wrong, I love his sarcastic humor and wish I could have used it at times when dealing with difficult patients but the writers of this show are really off when it comes to the medical end of it.

First , who trained all of these residents or Fellows or whatever they are called, to do every job in the hospital? Like you mentioned, 3 docs watching every slice of the MRI. Or could we have a little more assualt and battery when House stabs a patient in the leg with a syringe of the "miracle drug" for that episode. Where is the informed consent?

To db: Cutty the Chief of Medicine who decides all of House's moves, wears the same 4 inch heels and has enough cleavage showing to model for Hugh Hefner. Most Medical Directors I've seen are old, balding and grumpy ;-)

They take a lot of liberties or dramatic license with their storylines...but I still watch. In fact, one of my bosses asked me why I didn't have flames on my cane like House.

My favorite reality show, medical wise, is Dr. G Medical Examiner. This woman is the coroner in Orlando , FL and she discusses why and how people die and what lead up to their demise. Kinda gory to some but at least I know it's real.
Avatar universal
Love your comment/observation about House.  I am a family doctor with MS and am preparing a lecture on general medicine and management of MS (mainly in terms of diagnosis and working with neurologist on appropriate treatment).  What I am looking for are short clips from House that display these fleeting diagnoses of MS that seem to come up in every other episode and are discarded every time.  I don't know if anyone knows how that can be done, but I do appreciate input.  

By the way, I and other doctors generally agree that the most realistic medical program on TV is Scrubs.  (Really!)
1218873 tn?1300094816
Yep the medical "drama" style shows here in the UK are just as Bad.The recent episode of casultly a patient comes in about something trival and goes out 4 hours later Dx with MS! another one the consultant is pushing a patient in a wheel chair to have a CT scan- I'd like to see that in real life.

I teach ballet and quite often watch a film about a so called dancer and I find myself cringing both at the story line and the dancer technical ability.

We have to remember it's only pretend. Huh!
Avatar universal
Hi, Michdoc. A coincidence that I'm reading this soon after your post.

House has been on since '04, so that's a lot of shows to go through. However, I see that Fox has a website that includes episode recaps--


You could try that for some examples.

Meanwhile, I hope you will join us here often! The comments of an MD with MS would be invaluable. We do have one already, Quixotic1, who used to practice pediatrics before health issues caused her retirement. She takes an active interest in MS research and treatment, and is the author of most of our wonderful Health Pages (yellow icon in upper right).

Please take a look, and welcome!

867582 tn?1311630997

I've never watched that show (never turn on the TV - no time) but it sounds like one thing that show does do well is reflect the current reality of sloppy, inaccurate, and even falsified neurologic inquiry that many of us have experienced in our quest for a diagnosis.  Again, I urge all of you seeking diagnosis to always get copies of what your neuro is writing about you and your neuro exams - it's amazing how neuros can turn positive neurologic findings into totally negative exam summaries that will stay in your medical record forever!!

572651 tn?1531002957
Hi michdoc, let me join in the welcome here and second ess' invite to hang around with us.  We have a very smart MS community here and they are definitely proactive.

Funny that Dr House has popped up again - I just heard about a man who has computed the medical costs involved with one of Dr. House's diagnosis trails  - they were interviewing the author, Andrew Holtz, on NPR.

Here's the link to the story


be well, Lulu

1312898 tn?1314571733
I have always found Dr. House to be hysterical in it's incredibly innacuracies.  Here is a list of things that just crack me up:

Dr Cuddy, an administrator, wears clothing that always reveals cleavage and/or other body parts..

House goes to a state run 'mental hospital' that looks like it is straight out of the early 19th century.   I mean really he would be going to one of the 'Hiltonesque' hospitals

Wilson has a sexual relationship with a patient and doesn't lose his license.

Houses cane is on the wrong side (I think)

Doctors regularly break into the patients house.

Everything they do is ridiculous but that's what makes it funny.

Even with all of that, I wish there was a real doctor that could diagnose us that quick.

Avatar universal
Ah, to  name all of the inaccuracies of House would take all night. But even despite them, I love that show! That is like the only show now I watch regularly on tv. I HATE reality tv.

Anyways, everyone brought up some good inaccuracies of the show. I have a couple to point out. In regards to the MRI , which we can all agree doctors do NOT sit there and stare at the computer screen while we are in the machine, the thing that I want to point out is that an MRI machine is basically a giant  magnet. Therefore, you can NOT put something magnetic (metal) in the same room as a giant  magnet. Bad things would happen. So, I always chuckle a little when I see an IV pole (metal!!) right beside a patient in the MRI.  I actually experienced this while in a 3T machine last year. My wedding ring started to shake and vibrate! I had forgotten to take it off.

The other issue I have with the show (but I ignore cause I love the show) is that doctors do NOT do laboratory testing. No way no how. I know this because in real life this is my job. Medical technologists do laboratory testing. My husband will roll his eyes when he watches the show with me cause every once in a while I will recognize a mistake they are making (they couldn't get the result that fast! That's not  how you test for that..etc.). I think in part I like watching the show because I can find inconsistencies. I do enjoy the characters.

Nevermind the fact that in real life, House would have long lost his license by now. Your boss knows you are addicted to pain meds and still lets you  practice? I don't think so! But I love the show anyway.
1312599 tn?1276880402
They have also touched on Hashimoto's and celiac (my number ones) and a bit inaccurately, so I take it all with a grain of salt, but still one of my favorite shows!
1312898 tn?1314571733
I can't figure out the "...it's never Lupus.." means.  Anyone know why he says that consistently?  Or perhaps it's just yet another idiosyncracies
739070 tn?1338607002
My opinion on why he says..it's never Lupus" is because it is known as the Great Imitator. It's symptoms are vague and varied. Lupus is also Latin for fox meaning it is sly in it's presentation.

1253197 tn?1331212710
Well sounds like we are missing out here in Uk...but as Twist mentioned our own dramas are equally bad at portraying things and I too was amazed to see in "Casualty" the dx of MS in 4 hours from start to finish....still I needed a good laugh!!
1312898 tn?1314571733
Thanks Ren,  I have always wondered about that---and now it makes sense.  Interesting that Lupus means Fox
211940 tn?1267884866
My wife and I, are huge fans of "House", but we never take any of it seriously, because we know better.  I, myself, have been in and out of hospitals, and had so many procedures done, I know who does what, and the "doctors" don't do much.

I do feel for Gregory House, because of his situation.
He has a deformity, which will cause him life long pain, therefore he needs pain management.  What do people usually receive for pain, but pain medicine.
He did not get an injury, then given pain medicine, then the injury healed and he was addicted to pain medicine (i.e. an addict).  He has chronic pain (that will never go away), so you have two choices:  ignore it or take something for it.  When he takes something for it, they call him an "addict" because he is addicted to the pain killing medicine.  What a no-win situation.  If he takes pain medicine, then he is an addict, if he doesn't take pain medicine, then he is in constant pain.

Put this situation to any of us, let's say you are taking Rebif (as I am) for my MS treatment.  One day they tell me, I'm addicted to Rebif, so stop taking it.
How am I addicted to something helping my situation?

Or how about any anti-tremor medicines (atenolol, for ex.), let's say you are taking it, for your tremors, and one day they say you are addicted to it, so stop taking it, and your tremors return.
How are you addicted to something helping your situation?

Gregory House, in theory, is no different, he doesn't take pain medicine because he is addicted to the drug, he takes the pain medicine because it relieves his (chronic, life long) pain.

I will say, that the writers of "House" should take lessons from the staff of CSI.
CSI writing staff, spend hundreds of hours researching, and have actual CSI technical staff that correct them, when they do something, that would not be done.
However, they also note, that "liberties" are taken, time-wise, when it comes to getting back tests results, but not how any test is performed or any CSI technique or tool is performed or used.

The writing staff, at "House" definitely need to do their homework.

Having said all that.

We still love the show, and how their writers love to dig into the characters lives, like no other show on TV.

-- Socrates
1313843 tn?1275025037
My wife loves House, I watch it every now and then just cause she is watching it. Other than that, I prefer to stay with NatGeo,Discovery and sports channels.

Reality TV's Craks me up. Wants a reality TV, take a few people and put them to survive in Iraq beside soldiers or take a few and put them in a south african jungle with lions and hyneas and tell them to survive. That will be reality TV.

Avatar universal
Here's a good one!

The USA network seems to be running a House marathon, and I have it on now.

House actually feels guilty about something and admits this readily. Then, realizing how uncharacteristic this is for him, he decides he must have MS. Brain damage is the only thing he can think of that would give him guilt. He has Wilson do some tests and MS is ruled out.

Avatar universal
For your research, give this website a try.  A doctor (Scott) provides his own detailed critique of every single episode of House.

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