Grey's Anatomy is one of my favorite shows, not for the fact that it has anything to do with medicine, but that it's got funny and interesting plot lines. However, I hope that those of you who aren't in the medical field don't get the impression that Grey's Anatomy resembles any sort of medical reality.
Surgical interns don't scrub into surgeries. They spend their time on the "floors", taking care of pre- and post-surgical patients, doing the "scut" work. They don't date their supervising physicians, let alone socialize with them. Saying things like, "I'd like to get a chem panel, CBC, and CT of the head" doesn't make you look smart in the real world. And since when do orthopedic surgeons and obstetricians supervise surgical interns? They don't.
The most recent plot line pushes reality even further. The surgical interns are sent out to a mass casualty in Seattle. One intern finds a man crushed by a car, and without any tools, she's asked to save his life. Conveniently, she has the head of the department of surgery on speed dial on her cell phone, who talks her through the process of drilling holes into the man's skull in order to reduce the pressure in his brain. I would have preferred seeing her stand by as he dies. That's reality -- interns don't drill Burr holes in brains.
Another subplot is that intern Meredith Grey, the main character, falls into the river. She's eventually pulled out of the water by her boyfriend McDreamy. Having been under water for at least several minutes, if not longer, she is in cardiac arrest. CPR is performed for what seems like an inappropriately long period of time. She is pronounced dead. Then in previews for next week's episode, you see one of her co-interns insist that CPR is continued, that not everything has truly been done.
Let's just put it this way -- after prolonged CPR, the odds of coming back are exceedingly slim. This sends an awful message to the lay public, that you're not really dead, that you can't give up on CPR ever. A message that will take away from the dignity of dying patients everywhere.
Medical shows are fiction. But writers need to realize the impact of their scripts on how people perceive medicine.