Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Respiratory Therapy in TV and Movies.

Have you ever caught yourself watching a movie or TV show, where there are hospital scenes, looking for respiratory related things in the show? Finding something done correctly is hard to do. What got me on to this idea? Well I was watching the movie with Billy Bob Thorton called "Astronaut Farmer" and there is a part where he ends up pretty injured and in the hospital supposedly on life support. Looking a little closer in the scene I notice that he is connected via endotracheal tube to a Vision Bipap and with a closer shot he is on a t-piece connected to that Bipap. Finally the scene pans out and I notice there is a Puritan Bennet 840 Ventilator on the other side of the bed with NOTHING connected to it, now granted the average person will not notice these things but Us as RT's should notice these things. So yes this is what has me thinking where have I scene RT issues in movies and TV shows and what better way to get this going but to start a list.

My List to Respiratory Therapy things in Movies and TV shows
  1. Astronaut Farmer - Billy Bob Thorton connected to Vision Bipap with a T-Piece and a PB 840 Ventilator next to the other side of the bed.
  2. ER - Many shows the yell "Page Respiratory", but you never see them. The Doc's bag the patient then they either die or move off to O.R.
  3. Sopranos - Tony's nephew Chris is in the hospital and a Incentive Spirometer is on the bedside, and there is a Episode where Uncle Junior gets fitted for a CPAP machine for his sleep apnea, and a scene he falls asleep and his girlfriend puts in on him. I'm actually impressed here, to items you wouldn't think directors would think of for a show.
  4. Sherlock Holmes Returns (TV) - on there is a film credit for Peter Kelamis as the Respiratory Therapist. This I came across in a google search, click on the link to see, never actually saw the show but now I'm curious.
  5. Million Dollar Baby - Hillary Swank's character Maggy Fitzgerald is shown talking, while she is being ventilated via a tracheostomy tube in her throat. Although people can talk using "fenestrated" tracheostomy tubes, they can't be ventilated at the same time. But then again how many people actually know this.

Anyways I'm sure there are many others out there, I know I have seen a show/movie where the MA-1 ventilator in the corner breathing away and the patient is sitting there talking with a cannula on. I think there is a shock factor of the bellows moving and the sound of, shuuuu hahhh shuuuu hahhhh. I will continue to explore this RT related issue on the silver screen and would appreciate any noticeable scenes anyone else might have seen. Maybe somehow I could become a consultant for Respiratory Therapy on upcoming movies and TV shows, I would love to show the proper way to do mouth to mouth to Halle Berry or Jessica Alba and check some lung sounds, hell I'll even do a EKG on them. Could happen right?

Talk care and keep breathing.


lil'jon said...

Yeah and the random scenes with the docs shocking for asystole. That kills me everytime.

Freadom said...

Great post. There are millions of RTs who'd be more than eager to inform producers and writers the "correct" way things are done. All it would take is a simple phone call.

Respiratory therapists are never treated well on that show ER. It's always, "Where the hell is respiratory?" Of course, like you say, the Dr. is always doing respiratory's job.

This probably goes back to our past discussion about nobody knowing what an RT is until you need one. "Respiratory Therapy? What's that?"

The hospital can't survive without RT, but Hollywood can. They probably save a million dollars not casting RT correctly: $500,000 for the cast member, and the $500,000 it would cost to get information out of me.

Glenna said...

Funny, we were talking about this just the other day in ACLS certification. I hate where Hillary is talking through the trach in Million Dollar Baby! ER is horrible about codes. House kills me because the residents do EVERYTHING. Yeah, like a resident even touches an airway except to TRY to intubate, let alone do all the angio and all the tests themselves. Also, I was cracking up a couple of months ago when I happened to flip the channel by The Young & Restless to where a guy had collapsed and they showed the EMT shocking and then not looking at any monitor because there was no monitor saying "He's dead. I'm sorry." Then they pulled back to see the other EMT doing nothing. The guy was laying there with an ET tube sticking out of his mouth with no bag connected and the 2nd EMT with his hands on his knees. I was howling with laughter. Also, love on the Sopranos how after Tony was shot the vent was an 860. yeah, like there's not a single Servo i, Avia, or Drago Evita anywhere in the state of Jersey? Give me a break. I never noticed stuff like that until I went to respiratory school but while I was in school my cousin, who's a nurse, said once "You'll never be able to watch a TV or movie showing a hospital scene again without laughing." So true!

newbie RT said...

The movie "Bullitt" has Bird Mark 7's for ventilators- if you know the movie, the gangster Ross was hooked up to one...

"Volcano", of course with Tommy Lee Jones. A smattering of the Bird Mark 7's in the background sometime during the middle of the film.

What cracks me up are the lame-ass chest compressions they do on TV! C'mon and break some ribs, people!

The best yet, Non-rebreather masks on patients that are completely DEFLATED!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey newbie, yes television never does anything to our standards, but i hate when people think you have to break ribs to circulate the body effeciently. Yes it does happen, but that is not what your focus is. Also the cartilage breaks not the ribs, which can add more trauma to the patient. That happens only sometimes to circulate the body.

The movie somethings got to give calls for an RCP when jack nicklson is in the hospital, but of course they only call for one... you never see one.

dharmesh said...

I found your post really interesting and it has really improved my knowledge on the matter.


Anonymous said...

Watch the movie Heat with Robert DeNiro... When the daughter is taken to the hospital for suicide attempt the doctor screams twice for respiratory.

Unknown said...

People can breathe and talk on vent with inline Passy Muir valve. . Have used it often

Thomas Lovelace said...

On CSI Miami. A conl star is truamatically injured and dies in front of actor Caruso. Funny when I work trauma level icu.. some that bad usually has i.v.s.. intubated..
The dont look pretty like a model

Mara Canciano said...

In Grey's Anatomy the marvelous surgeons intubate without stylet