Grey's Anatomy Paints An Unrealistic View Of Doctors & Surgeries

You're facing the prospect of orthopedic surgery, and the concept isn't entirely foreign to you. It's not that you or anyone you know personally has had this type of operation. Instead, most of what you know about orthopedic surgery comes from watching Dr. Callie Torres on Grey's Anatomy. Just how real is this show's depiction of an expert orthopedist and a busy hospital? You definitely hope that the doctors at your hospital aren't so distracted by their personal lives as they are on the TV show. 

There's Less Romance at Real Hospitals

The New York Times reports that real-life doctors aren't nearly so busy with in-hospital romances as Grey's Anatomy would have you think. That's good news for you, since the Grey's doctors commonly ignore patients and make serious errors as they focus on their romantic partners instead of their work. 

Most Surgeries Aren't Dramatic

While watching a fictional TV medical drama, viewers can get the impression that most surgeries lead to the patient coding at least once and needing to be revived. Numerous other traumatic events happen during those TV operations as well. In reality, most surgeries are straightforward and not very exciting. This is a reassuring point when you think of your own upcoming operation. 

You'll Receive Attention From Nurses

On Grey's, nurses are seemingly nonexistent or barely noticeable throughout most of the shows. While you're in the hospital, however, you'll receive regular attention from nurses and nursing assistants who help during your pre-op and recovery. Your doctor won't be the medical practitioner regularly checking on you if you need to stay in the hospital overnight or longer -- although that's what Grey's Anatomy would have you think. 

Orthopedic Surgeon Demographics

If your orthopedic surgeon is anything like the typical orthopedist in the United States, this doctor is probably a white man in his middle age or senior citizen years, rather than a 30-something Latina woman.

Fewer than 5 percent of orthopedic surgeons are women as of 2012. Fewer than 2 percent are of Latin descent as of 2010.

It's difficult to know Callie's age for certain. But she is certainly younger than the average orthopedic surgeon. As of 2011, the average age of a full-time orthopedic surgeon is about 49. Part-time orthopedic surgeons are nearly 67 years old, on average. 

Concluding Thoughts

In the best possible scenario, your doctor will have all the great qualities of Callie Torres as an orthopedist, and none of the problematic characteristics so common to doctors on the TV show. Be confident that your operation will go smoothly and you'll soon be back to doing the activities you enjoy. Contact a doctor like Jon B. Greenfield MD for more information.