Who here is a Grey's Anatomy fan? Honestly, I've never watched an episode of Grey's. The details just aren't true to life (as evidenced by the above photograph) and my OCD can't take it. I always end up yelling at the TV. LMAO.
My daughters are HUGE Grey's fans. Between school and work and their individual home lives they do find time to binge watch Grey's and I love how much they adore the show and the medical field. One is in nursing school and the other has plans to get into the medical field. #ProudMomma here.
One thing that is extremely important to me is getting the medical details in my books as true to life as possible and communicating those details in a way that my readers can understand. I want you all to see my "world" as vividly as I do and to know that nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, phlebotomists, radiology techs, etc... are human.
What you won't see in my books-- doctors drawing a patient's blood, serving them lunch, walking a patient in the hallway, going to a patient's house to search for "evidence" as to why a patient is sick... That stuff just doesn't happen in real life.
The inaccuracies of medical dramas on TV annoy the crap out of me. Here's another example. I think it was on the show, Chicago Med. The EMS crew is shouting out a patient report as they roll into the ER. Oxygen saturation is in the toilet and patient is in severe respiratory distress. Glancing at the TV, I see the patient. She has a nonrebreather oxygen mask in place.
Here is a picture of a nonrebreather face mask.
Pictured in a nonrebreather face mask on a mannequin. Oxygen is off. The reservoir bag in not inflated.
Here is a nonrebreather face mask placed properly with oxygen on! See how the bag is inflated?
So getting back to the medical drama that came on immediately after the show I was watching ended and the EMS crew bringing in the respiratory distress patient in with the patient's oxygen level in the toilet... I glance at the TV and the damn nonrebreather they have the patient on is completely flat!! No oxygen getting to the patient whatsoever!!! Grrrr.... So I tell the TV, "Turn the damn oxygen on and your patient may be able to breathe better!!"
My husband is all, "Honey, it's just a television show."
My response, "So! They at least need to get the details right!" I promptly changed the channel, wondering what else the writers on the show (who pay medical professionals to guide them to get those details right) get wrong. This stuff comes into people's living rooms and the nation sees this stuff and think that what they're seeing is the norm.
So, please know that not everything on TV is real. I think the majority realize this. Thank goodness! And when I write a scene depicting real life medical drama... the details of the injury or medical diagnosis will be accurate even though the situation and patient I'm writing about at the time will all be fiction. And fiction gives me the creative license I need to have fun with what I do. Here's a great example of a medical scene where the details of the injury and how we treat the injury is all real, but the interaction between the hospital staff and with the patient is so much fun to write. It's taken from the 2nd book of my Dating Series, Dating Impossible.
JJ entered PGH’s bustling emergency room with a new-found confidence. Her morning meditation had done wonders to lift her sagging spirits. Expertly applied makeup and eye drops hid her night’s cry-filled obsession. When she returned home tonight, she’d submit her resume to the other hospitals she’d considered before choosing PGH. The plan helped to alleviate some of the torment she’d experienced since leaving Kazimier.
JJ scanned the bustling computer screens above the main nurses’ station that had all the patients who were already checked in listed by medical record number only. This protected patient confidentiality. Alice sat with her head bent over her keyboard, efficiently pounding out orders on the chart before her. Beside her stood Jake. JJ liked his sunny disposition. She was glad he was working today as he was sure to lift her spirits and distract her from her worrisome thoughts.
“Wow. We’re hopping already,” she said to Jake. She glanced around, saw several others scurrying from one room or the next in their haste to get tasks done for the patients. “Ah, who’s in charge today?”
“Rhonda,” he replied, handing her a fresh chart with a charming smile that lit up his dark brown eyes. “She said when I saw you to send you in to the trauma bay. They’re bringing in a GSW to the chest. I’ve set the room up and the trauma team has been called. Most are already gathered, waiting. ETA five minutes.” He chuckled. “Nothing like starting your twelve-hour shift off with a bang.”
JJ rolled her eyes. “That’s a really bad pun, Jake.” If Rhonda was in charge, that meant no Angie. Relief flooded her. It was usually one or the other. Luck was on her side. JJ’s spirits rose even higher. “How old is the victim?”
He lowered his head covered in short, rich dark brown curls and scrutinized a yellow sticky note. “Twenty-two.”
“Young, but at least it’s not a child,” she said. Working with injured children was emotionally exhausting, especially if they didn’t survive. She wasn’t sure if she could manage that kind of rollercoaster today. JJ set the clipboard on the counter and removed her white doctor’s coat, hanging it on the row of pegs that lined one wall of the nurses’ station. Clip board in hand once more, she turned to head toward the trauma bay then stopped abruptly.
“You coming?” she asked Jake.
“No. I’m handling triage today. Angie’s your nurse. She’s already in there,” he replied.
Angie? All of JJ’s earlier cheeriness burst like a black rain cloud, drenching her morale. Acid burned the back of her throat as her stomach roiled. She was stuck with that bat-shit jealous RN?
The distant sirens of the ambulance roused JJ from her gloominess. She could do this. She was a fucking professional after all. Straightening her shoulders and standing to her full height, she strode with purpose to the trauma bay. Angie was just going to have to fucking get over her bitchy self.
Upon entering the room, JJ found the team was indeed assembled. Employees from each department stood by all dressed in yellow isolation gowns, latex-free gloves, and facemasks with clear visor shields to protect from blood splatter. X-ray techs, phlebots, and nurses stood by expectantly waiting for JJ’s orders. As the only doctor in the room, she would lead.
She spotted Angie off to the side, clipboard in hand. Hatred spewed from the woman’s blue eyes. JJ ignored her and gowned, gloved, and masked. The paramedics slammed through the trauma doors with the victim on the gurney. JJ’s adrenaline coursed through her veins. Angie forgotten, she concentrated on what the EMS team’s field report.
“Twenty-two-year-old male shot in the chest. No breath sounds left upper lobe. BP 86/42. Heart rate 146. Resps 35 per minute…”
On the count of three, the patient was moved from stretcher to hospital gurney. The motion was swift and expertly done, but the patient moaned and shouted cuss words as the jostling caused more pain. “Take it easy! That fucking hurts, man.”
JJ smoothly stepped to the head of the gurney. “Sorry about that, my friend. But there’s no help for it. Everything we do is going to hurt right now. We will give you pain meds as we can, but you’ve lost a lot of blood and your blood pressure is dangerously low. Can you tell me what happened?”
“Nothing, man.” His voice was muffled and a bit tinny through the oxygen face mask he wore. “I was just walking down the street minding my own business,” he said. His tone was defensive mixed with just a bit of smugness that was typical.
JJ rolled her eyes. Pretty much the standard answer she’d expected. The truth was he’d been shot by a store clerk while trying to steal the money from the cash register. “What’s your name?” As she spoke, she listened to his chest, observed the unequal fall with each short rapid breath he struggled to inhale. His pale skin was slick with sweat, and the blood-stained gauze dressing just under his left nipple was peeled up along the corners. She removed it, examined the wound, and fired off rapid orders to the team. “Stat chest, full trauma panel including type and cross for four units packed cells and keep two units ahead. Set up for chest tube insertion and call the cardio-thoracic surgeon on call.”
Everyone scrambled to do her bidding. All except Angie, who stood leaning against the wall with the X-ray viewers, clipboard clasped to her chest. As the head nurse, Angie was supposed to be recording and coordinating JJ’s orders.
“What the fuck, Angie? Get your ass moving. I need that chest tube tray now, not in the next millennium,” JJ said.
At the bite in JJ’s voice, all motion ceased for a fraction of a second. Glances were shared, and the only sound came from the patient himself as he writhed, moaned, and shouted expletives of his own. Angie’s gaze threw fire-sheathed daggers at JJ, but she grudgingly pushed off the wall and did as instructed. The monitor above the gurney screamed and flashed the current vital signs. His blood pressure dropped to 60/29. Heart rate up to 180s. Oxygen saturation now read 85 percent. All activity resumed with renewed vigor.
“Slam in two units of uncrossed matched O negative packed cells,” JJ said reviewing the X-ray film Grant handed her. Hemo/pneumo thorax. Just as she’d suspected. “Okay, people. Let’s drain the blood out of his chest and get him prepped for surgery.”
“Well, Marty,” JJ said, addressing the patient using the name he’d given her moments before. “Here’s the deal. I’ve got some good news and some bad news.” She spoke in a soothing voice, trying to calm his anxiety. “Which do you want first?”
He grimaced. “Just fucking say it, Doc.”
“The bad news first then,” JJ said brightly, giving Ambra the go-ahead nod. “The bullet in your chest has lodged near a major artery. You’re going to need to surgery to remove it and repair the damage. But first I need to place a drain in your chest to evacuate the blood that has pooled in there and that has collapsed your lung. Do you understand?”
“I’m fucked, right? I don’t want to die,” he said, his dark brown eyes were wide with fear.
“Not necessarily,” JJ answered as she changed into a sterile gown and prepared to place the chest tube. “We have a couple of great surgeons that are experts at putting chests damaged like yours back together. Don’t you want to know the good news?” she asked, her voice cheery as she picked up the scalpel from the sterile field of instruments to her side.
Gaze glued to the sharp instrument in her gloved hand, he gulped. “W-w-what?”
“The good news”—JJ pointed to Ambra—“is that my best friend here is an expert respiratory therapist. And Matt there” —she motioned to Matt standing opposite side of the gurney— “Matt is going to sedate your lying, stealing ass, knocking you out while Ambra places a tube into your mouth where the tip goes into your windpipe. So, essentially, we will be breathing for you.”
Marty squirmed on the gurney in an attempt to escape. “You’re fucking crazy! That’s not good news!” His slurred speech and half-hearted effort told JJ the sedatives were beginning to work.
“Sure it is,” JJ replied. “That means, when I use this” —she wiggled the sharp scalpel in her hand— “you won’t feel a thing. Some ER doctors aren’t as generous as I.” She chuckled.
I live for this shit!
“Now, Marty, lay back and relax. This won’t hurt a bit…”
Dogged by the gorgeous Dr. Avery with his skillful hands, disarming smile, and hot lips, her resolve wavers. For now, she's having fun making his mission to date her down right impossible!
You can buy Dating Impossible on Amazon. The buy link is here: https://www.amazon.com/Dating-Impossible-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00BMHF3B6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8