6 Medical Myths Hollywood Needs To Stop Using
You never want to be the type of asshole that points out every little thing in a movie or TV show and says, "actually, it doesn't really work like that." Most people probably know, or more likely, don't care, that criminals don't spontaneously jizz all over every crime scene or that the one dude in the action movie didn't reload before firing off more bullets.
However, there is one big area where they have somewhat of a responsibility to get it slightly right, for no other reason than it could be the difference between life and death. Or, at the very least, the difference between an accurate portrayal of the medical field and one that could send you right into the real one if you copy what they're doing ...
Defibrillators Don't Work Like the Movies
Arguably the mother of all bullshit medical nonsense we still see in fiction today. The shocking of a flatlining patient back to life. With a simple "CLEAR!" and a couple of shortcircuiting irons, you can bring a dead ass back to normal. This one is particularly dangerous because an idiot like me may see it as permission to treat my heart to a little vacation. Just head to the Golden Corral, drink a 12-pack in the parking lot (this is not the outrageous part yet, just anyone's standard Golden Corral appetizer), make six rounds through every item in the buffet, hook up an IV-drip of chocolate waterfall directly into my heart valves, snort packets of red pepper flakes, go for another few trips through the buffet, sweatily dance to Huey Lewis' Sports album while puffing a pack of Cowboy Killers, finally let my heart to explode, die, and wake up to a handsome doctor holding two spatulas surging with electricity.
Good as new.
It's a common enough trope to be the basis of an entire movie ... twice.
Because I'm not a handsome doctor holding two Pop-Tarts with electrified handles taped to them, I won't try to give an overly scientific reasoning behind this except for the fact that defibs are not Lazurus-makers. Their main function is to help stabilize those in the middle of cardiac arrest. If you take a dead person on a table and start turning them into Marv from Home Alone 2, you're not likely to get a bunch of bleeps on a monitor; you'll probably just have a bunch of concerned nurses wondering why you keep electrifying the super dead man like a Spider-Man villain.
Stop Slapping Choking People
Nobody loves to slap the shit out of a choking person more than Hollywood. In what usually results in some dipshit gag of a piece of food being bazooka'd from the fat guy's mouth onto the pretty girl's forehead, who then falls back into her husband and gets amnesia, forgets him and their love, and ends up falling for the fat man in a classic everyday love story we can all relate to, the slapped-out choking object is actually pretty dangerous. Because slapping an upright choking person in the back can actually dislodge the object and send it further down, you're more likely to just be pummeling a choking person to make them choke harder.
C'mon Oldman; we expected better.
There is one key, lifesaving element to the back slap that movies and TV always omit: you have to lean that person forward before you start wailing away. This will send the fat man's lodged food torpedoing to the ground, where it skids across the floor like a meaty centipede before a waitress steps on it and does a banana peel slip, smacking her head on the counter, forgetting about her boyfriend, and falling in love with the hot-dog-ejecting man. Another classic, standard love story in the making with just one small, lifesaving update.
Needles to the Heart Aren't Smart
One of the most visually-memorable yet wildly dangerous medical myths you may have seen on the screen is the needle to the heart. For most, this comes to mind in the famous heroin overdose scene in Pulp Fiction ...
... and the truly infallible Nicolas Cage classic, The Rock. Both scenes feature some version of a character taking a big ass needle to their important ass heart and being cured. Stop it. Just stop. Though there have been treatments using direct injection to the heart, it's by and large absolutely not a preferred delivery method and will more than likely kill your ass stupid dead if you went this route.
This is the medical equivalent to the Amazon delivery guy gunning it through your front door and dumping every package in his truck onto your living room floor before hanging himself in the kitchen knowing that his job is done. If we're to watch something like this and follow this kind of "logic," then maybe the next time it burns when you pee after a Golden Corral orgy, just squirt some Neosporin onto a sword and chop your balls off and be done with it. The needle to the heart may just be a medical myth that was left on screen in the 90s, and it should probably stay there.
Don't Piss On Your Friends ... Unless That's Their Thing
One of the most infamous onscreen medical myths comes from a show that can only possibly be enjoyed by people without a pulse. The show Friends, where boring dickheads drink coffee, made famous the myth of peeing on a jellyfish sting for relief. Though this myth existed long before the show gave it legs, you can guarantee that a lot of vacationing cruise ship cheesedicks peed on their spouses after seeing this on their favorite TV show.
There's just one problem with this, if your friend gets stung by a jellyfish and you start pissing on them, you're just soaking your friend in piss while they continue to also have pain from the sting. It's basically like watching your friend get mauled by a bear and climbing a tree to drop explosive diarrhea on them during the process; you're just making a bad thing worse. Though your piss does contain a sting-aiding compound like ammonia, it's also mostly just water, so there's no effect at all to be felt. Even more hilarious than the added insult of pissing on a friend in need is that if you have a particularly strong stream, you may actually be making it worse by Super Soaker-ing the stingers around in the wound and coaxing even more venom out from them. Saving peeing on friends for if you ever bump into Matthew Perry on the street.
Knocked Out Cold. Super Cold
Movies and TV love a good traumatic brain injury. Especially action fiction, the protagonists typically get off on delivering CTE like linebackers with absolutely no moral compass and cement-tipped helmets. These kinds of heroes are often shown delivering blows that knock their targets out cold for hours. In one swift punch to the head, they shut the lights off on their opponent and drag them around until they groggily wake up six states over, nine days later
This is extreme bullshit. When people experience something as traumatic as a full-on knockout, they're likely to be down for seconds, not hours. Even a professional night-turner-offer like Mike Tyson probably won't cut off the power for enough time to prepare you a meal in the middle of the ring to wake up to. In fact, if your roundhouse to the back of someone's head has had them sleeping through the binge of an entire season of Treehouse Masters, I'd have to ask you why you're roundhousing people during Treehouse Masters and also why you aren't on the run already. Because you just killed a man, and you should probably get on the move.
Doctors Are Not Swiss Army Knives
In broad terms, the way that doctors are portrayed in movies and TV is that they are the ultimate know-it-alls. While it's true that most doctors are smart enough, they're probably not specialists in every single medical field under the sun.
On-screen, doctors can treat just about anything because, well, they're doctors. Having a heart attack? The handsome doc's got you. Did your son eat two LEGO sets? Cool. Handsome doc will get around in his stomach and take care of that for you, too. Just come on into the lobby of handsome doc, where it's a veritable grabbag of every type of injury and ailment imaginable just waiting to be cured.
The truth is, we're talking about people that go to school for around 8 years to specialize in nothing but the opening in your dickhole. They've read no less than six hundred books about the dickhole opening. They eat, breathe, sleep dickhole. But guess what? If you come to the hospital with a problem regarding your butthole? Dickhole doc probably can't do shit. Because they're the Dickhole Doc. You'll have to go see the Butthole Doc for those butthole issues.
Top image: NBCUniversal Television, Miramax Films