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We expect a certain level of medical farfetchery on television, like how Dr. House manages to keep the medical board from taking his license and setting it on fire.

But this lack of realism doesn't really hurt anything other than our intelligence, unlike these Hollywood medical myths, which could hurt you to death:

CPR Works When Nothing Else Will

As Seen On:

The Abyss, House, ER, Baywatch, Grey's Anatomy, Chicago Hope

According to Hollywood:

Sometimes doctors have to get up close and personal to keep death from stealing away their patients before they have a chance to pay their medical bills. By straddling the patient, giving mouth-to-mouth and pounding on their chest like Alex Van Halen, a doctor can bring someone back from the brink of oblivion, coughing and sputtering but alive and well.

A CPR gang rape doesn't work either.

The Wrongness:

We're not saying you should never perform CPR in real life--CPR works, sort of, by oxygenating the system and occasionally knocking the heart back in rhythm. However, there's not a whole lot it can do for someone who has already stopped being alive.

Also, CPR is nowhere near as sexilicious as television and the movies make it out to be. A properly performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation usually ends up cracking the patient's ribcage, which doesn't fit so well with a sweeping orchestral soundtrack. And the success rate is staggeringly low, something like two to four percent. In fact, most websites about manual resuscitation will tell you straight out that it almost never works.

Certain death sounds pretty good when the other option is a two to four percent chance of living through some stranger busting your rib cage and slobbering down your throat.

On a related note...

Defibrillators Can Bring You Back To Life

As Seen On:

Every medical show in existence

According to Hollywood:

The defibrillator apparently allows us to bring anyone whose heart has stopped back from the dead, provided we have at least 75 percent of their remains intact.

"Quick, get the defibrillator!"

With this wonderful piece of modern medical technology, we are able to laugh in the face of death, then spit in it, make obscene phone calls to his wife three in the morning, steal his newspaper and shit on his porch. With science.

The Wrongness:

Have you ever wondered why they call it a defibrillator instead of a de-deather or de-lawsofnaturer? That's because defibrillators don't work that way; they can't bring people back to life. They are a little like Sean Connery: suave and sexy in movies, but pretty unimpressive in real life (also very old and hairy).

Basically, what the defib machines can do is help a patient regain a regular heart rhythm when they go into cardiac arrest, which it does by stopping their heart. Hopefully, it restarts with a normal rhythm. If the patient is already flat-lining, meaning their heart has already stopped beating, using the defibrillator to stop it some more will do about as much good as removing a malignant brain tumor with a shotgun blast.

Imagine your heart is a dude carrying a few heavy boxes, which in this metaphor contain your organs. If he drops them, you die. When you have a heart attack this imaginary man loses his balance and starts swaying dangerously. A defibrillator is the guy that runs over and helps your heart stand up straight, effectively saving your life. What the defibrillator won't do is gather your heart up off the ground if it has already fallen and dropped its boxes, because quite frankly he's late for work as it is.

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Gun Shots to the Shoulder or Leg are Flesh Wounds

As Seen On:

Die Hard, Rambo, Every Action Movie Ever

According to Hollywood:

In the movies and on television, taking a bullet in the arm or the leg just results in you bleeding a bit and limping around with gritted teeth, looking like a total badass. In fact, we're curious why movie cops don't just try slapping gunfire out of the air, seeing as how the subsequent damage is so inconsequential.

...oh right.

The Wrongness:

When it comes to bullets and your body, think less "make a tourniquet out of my headband and gut a few dozen more terrorists" and more "spend thousands of dollars on painful nerve grafts." For instance, a study done on 58 patients with gunshot wounds to the shoulder found that four months after the initial injury, 51 of them were suffering from persistent pain due to vascular damage and about half ended up with partial or complete loss of mobility in their arm, thus reducing their ability to punch terrorists by 50 percent.

If they're sissies.

The leg isn't much better. Due to the tightly packed arterial highway going through most of your body north of the kneecap, any penetrating round in that general area is likely to sever something really important. Without immediate medical attention, shooting someone in the leg can cause more blood loss than tossing a hemophiliac orphan through a plate glass window.

This orphan.

Honestly, if you really have to get shot either to satisfy a bet or cap off a homerun of a job interview, the best place to get hit seems to be the ass. With its layers of fat and lack of any major arteries or nerve clusters, a bullet to the cheeks is your best bet to avoid permanent damage apart from avoiding gunfire altogether.

"He's having a seizure! Wedge something in his mouth so he doesn't swallow his tongue!"

As Seen On:

ER, M.A.S.H., Alien

According to Hollywood:

Take Joe Fictional, your average everyday ferret juggler.

One day he is minding his own fictitious business, presumably while juggling ferrets, when he catches a glimpse of a Pokemon episode out of the corner of his eye and goes into a brain-detonating seizure. The people around him have only seconds to force some object, like a wooden spoon or one of his smaller ferrets, into his mouth to keep him from swallowing his own tongue and choking to death.

Joe spasms and struggles, but thanks to the gallant efforts of those around him his airway is kept free from any tongue-shaped obstructions and his life is saved. Except for the whole seizure thing, he might still die from that.

The Wrongness:

While we would all appreciate a good excuse to ram random objects into strangers' mouths, it turns out that it's medically impossible to swallow your own tongue. So all that stuff you did to help that seizing man in Wal-Mart was technically sexual assault.

It's true that a seizure victim's jaw clenches during a seizure, and that could potentially result in some damage to the tongue, but all of that is small potatoes compared to the injury inflicted by pinning the person down and prying their mouths open to shove something between their teeth.

The human jaw is He-Man strong, and when it involuntarily shuts, it can and fucking should remain that way. Trying to force it open can easily cause mechanical damage to the teeth, the gums, the tongue or your own fingers. Worse yet, having a person bite down on something during a seizure can potentially block their airway and suffocate them, which you may remember as the thing you were trying to prevent in the first place.

Really, unless you are a trained EMT the only thing you should do is protect the victim's head and wait for the ambulance to arrive.

"...why are there chunks of ferret in this man's mouth?"

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Stopping Bleeding with a Tourniquet

As Seen On:

M.A.S.H., Die Hard, Jurassic Park, Many Cop Shows

According to Hollywood:

Following TV logic, when someone gets stabbed or shot and starts spraying blood like a soda fountain, the first course of action is to tear off strips of your own shirt and expose a glistening set of abdominal muscles. Next, you take the strips of your shirt and tie them tightly above the leaking wound, producing a make-shift tourniquet that stops the rampant blood flow and keeps the victim alive. If the victim is a blonde, your reward shall be boobies.

The Wrongness:

The problem with using a tourniquet to keep a wound from bleeding out is that cutting off the blood from other parts of the body to the injured area is sort of like blowing up the city's Water Works because you can't get the faucet in your kitchen to stop leaking: It's a bit drastic and someone will probably die because of it.

Applying a tourniquet to a bleeding limb should be the last, most desperate measure you could possibly take. Cutting off circulation to an area of the body can lead to necrotic tissue, a phrase which sounds like "zombie" because it means "your skin dies, rots and has to be amputated." And trust us, no matter how perfectly sculpted your abs might be, causing a girl to lose a body part is pretty much the ultimate turn-off.

The best course of action is to apply pressure directly to the wound with a piece of cloth or gauze while speeding the victim to a goddamn hospital. Tourniquets really only work when you've already lost a body part, because they cut off circulation and therefore keep blood from flowing through your ragged stump and out of your body.

"He's been shot! We have to get the bullet out!"

As Seen On:

ER, M.A.S.H., Every Action Movie Ever

According to Hollywood:

Watching movies you would think most bullets were full of radioactive poison, seeing as how fast the fictional doctors try to pluck them out. Someone gets shot and before their body even hits the ground, five different medics appear and start digging around the wound before the hero's life can slip away.

The wrongness:

As it turns out, you should leave the bullets where they are. When fired, bullets become very hot, so hot in fact that by the time they lodge themselves deep inside 50 Cent, they are completely sterile and pose no infection risk whatsoever. However they might be pressing on some vital blood vessels which could easily be severed by a removal attempt, and as we pointed out earlier, you kind of need blood to live.

If you don't want bullets floating around inside your body for the rest of your life, you can opt for a procedure to remove them somewhere down the line, but it's rarely an on the spot priority.

Interestingly enough, some scholars believe that both Presidents Garfield and McKinley could have survived their assassinations if the damn doctors hadn't gone poking around in their executive abdomens with dirty instruments and unwashed hands looking for bullets to remove. And when Teddy Roosevelt got shot in the chest he refused to have the piece of metal extracted, a decision which probably saved his life.

The bullet later descended into a third testicle.

You can read more of Cezary's stuff at DrownYourself.com

Do you have something funny to say about a random topic? You could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow. Go here and find out how to create a Topic Page.

Check out what else Hollywood has wrong, in 5 Things Hollywood Thinks Computers Can Do. Or find out why you should think twice about having sex on that stallion while riding along the beach, in 9 Awesome Places to Have Sex (And the Horrific Consequences).

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