Fox News Article Calls Grey's Anatomy "Irresponsible Entertainment"

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Fox News Article Calls Grey's Anatomy "Irresponsible Entertainment"
While Grey's Anatomy has become TV's top show by transferring the "all for one, one for all" mentality of Friends to the arena of fictional Seattle Grace Hospital, some aren't convinced that's a good thing.

In real life, a Fox News article by Peter Brown asserts, friends don't always look the other way when crimes are committed and rules are broken.

In fact, the columnist finds profoundly disturbing the show's message that it is normal, and to some degree acceptable, for people in a position to decide who lives and who dies to give their own emotions preference over the law and medical ethics.

Of course, it's only TV. But given the series' popularity and the topic's seriousness, Brown finds himself offended by a major story line of the hit show -- which he admits to finding extremely entertaining.

He's talking about when a surgical intern, Dr. Isobel "Izzie" Stevens (above), broke the law and medical canon to manipulate the way a heart transplant was allocated to save her fiance, Denny Duquette.

The show's failing, in this writer's opinion, is the inaccurate impression that the transplant process is capricious, can be easily manipulated, and if so, there's no real harm, since it's to help a friend.

Brown was lucky enough to receive a liver transplant in 2002. He became acquainted with the arduous process by which organs are allocated.

Organ transplants are the ultimate zero-sum game. For every patient saved, someone else is not. Many more eople need hearts, livers, lungs and kidneys than there are available organs. Thousands of Americans die each year waiting for a transplant.

Everyone connected with the transplant process -- doctors, nurses, donor families, or recipients and their families -- understands this.

The United Network For Organ Sharing supervises U.S. transplants. It has set criteria for evaluating patients' needs, primarily based on a recipients' closeness to death, overall health and ability to thrive afterwards. It decides who gets a transplant and who doesn't.

In the Grey's Anatomy world, in last May's episode, "17 Seconds," Dr. Stevens makes her fiance sicker by cutting his LVAD wire in order to move him up the list when a heart becomes available. Several fellow interns, instead of stopping her, aid in her efforts.

Izzie Loses Denny

Denny dies in the season finale after the transplant and the other interns don't report what happened. Later, they refuse to finger the culprit in some kind of celebration of friendship.

If upcoming episode previews are to be believed, the hospital lets Dr. Stevens back on staff. Is this right?
Arthur Caplan, a Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, says what would then happen in the real world is this:

  • Dr. Stevens would probably face murder or manslaughter charges, since she began a process that resulted in the patient's death. She would face criminal charges for falsifying medical records. She would be dismissed from the intern program and almost certainly never get a medical license.
  • The hospital, aware it could lose its accreditation to do transplants and have to pay a huge damage settlement (not just to this patient's family, but to the family of the one who didn't get the heart due to the fraud), would report what happened to the state medical board, UNOS and the police.
  • The other interns could also face criminal charges. Their medical futures would be in doubt since they could be considered accessories to the crime.

In the show, nobody talks to the police or the Washington State medical authorities. Nothing happens to the other interns. Now, TV is, of course, entertainment. It is invested in hooking viewers on Izzie Stevens' character. But it is also a business, hence their reluctance to write a popular character off the show.

You got the feeling when the tough resident doctor, Dr. Bailey (Chandra Wilson) who supervises the interns began lobbying her boss to take Dr. Stevens (Katherine Heigl) back that she will somehow return to the staff and all her friends.

It's a shame.

Television doesn't have to replicate real life. But when a drama, not an obvious farce like the NBC comedy Scrubs, suggests crime can be without consequences, it is as dangerous to the public good as when it glorifies sex and violence.

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.


It's TV and most shit on TV is not real...even those so called reality shows...anyway FOX wrote about it because the show is popular and we will read it because it is about GA and so we will read it....they are doing their job.....getting people to read and may attention to them....I love GA...


I am sorry if people cannot put together that any fictional show on t.v. is NOT REAL and so HOLLYWOOD then they are at fault not the show!!!! Shows are made to tug at the emotions and make people feel something. If this show sounded like a Discovery Channel Documentary then I highly doubt it would have kicked CSI's ASS on Thursday nights! GET A LIFE PEOPLE WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS! They must have been hurting for a story and nothing else interesting on there plates. How sad is that!


Fox is just jealous of ABC's amazing hit TV show. It is highly entertaining show on so many levels, and it 's very. very popular, not to mention that it is probably making a LOT of money. So, the people who wrote that article are probably just trying to create drama to turn the attention away from the show. Grey's Anatomy is awesome, so people can just... cut it out.


Ooh for goodness sake, it is a TV SHOW!! Not reality!!! I don't watch the show to get a dose of reality, I watch it to be entertained and to get away from the chaos that we live in.....With everything else going on in the world like the war on terroism, people starving across the globe, I want to know why they chose to write about a television show? He needs to go write about some current events or something and quit taking tv shows literally (I would hate to see what he thought about soap operas). It's ridiculous. I still LOVE my Grey's Anatomy!!!


Are you kidding? Someone actually took the time to prepare this ... Do they realize that they could have been reporting on some other important news and not this. A vast majority, if not more fan of the show know right from wrong, know real life of tv ... People need to realize that we do not need someone else to dictate how to interpret what we watch on television. It's TV for goodness sake ... get over it ... move on ... Grey's Anatomy ROCKS!!!!


Organ donation is a long process, does anyone think it isn't? Does anyone in their right minds believe that what Izzy did to try & save Deny would be ignored in a real hospital setting? If they do, they shouldn't have a television to watch the show, they should be in school, learning a thing or two.
I'm sure alot of fans, including myself have scoffed at a number of things in this show. But it's a show, it's entertainment. What harm will really come of this? Someone that is smart enough to get into & through medical school & become a surgical intern might try the same stunt one day? I don't think anyone who would try this in real life, would get through the 1st year of med school.
If you want to disect shows, go for reality tv, that shows it's ok to cheat/steal/lie/starve yourself/trade spouses, etc whatever necessary to win.


oh come one... they're doing this because Grey's ratings are kicking *ss!!! i bet if GA wasn't the #1 show right now, they wouldn't give it a time of day. and also, 17 seconds aired last may, why just make a fuss now? whatever!


Fox news GET A LIFE!!!! Just a show this is ONLY TV


yes it is only TV, but the article made some good points. there needs to be some truth behind the shows. something as serious asa transplant there are so many things that need to fall into place. what izzy did was wrong. i do think however that the critisisms of the show should have waited a few more episodes, to see what actually becomes of Dr. Stevens, there could very well be some more repercussions for her actions. both lawfully as well as personaly (like say guilt.)


I have a friend who had a heart transplant, his 7 yr. anniversary was 10-25-06. If you think for one moment that I find Greys offensive, you are wrong! I can tell the difference between TV and the real world! Get a life, and I am grateful that you had a successful transplant, but realize that we all do enjoy the escape of the real world and the horror that it gives us each day. I would have destroyed Izzie myself had this been real world; but instead I was able to cry for her and Denny. Being able to enjoy Grey's Anatomy is what makes my real world bearable. What makes your real world bearable Peter Brown? Writing b.s. for Fox? Sorry for you!


Grey's Anatomy Quotes

Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

Meredith (closing voiceover)

Burke was- He took something from me. He took little pieces of me, little pieces over time, so small I didn't even notice, you know? He wanted me to be something I wasn't, and I made myself into what he wanted. One day I was me Cristina Yang, and then suddenly I was lying for him, and jeopardizing my career, and agreeing to be married and wearing a ring, and being a bride. Until I was standing there in a wedding dress with no eyebrows, and I wasn't Cristina Yang anymore. And even then, I would've married him. I would have. I lost myself for a long time. And now that I'm finally me again, I can't. I love you. I love you more than I loved Burke. I love you. And that scares the crap out of me because when you asked me to ignore Teddy's page, you took a piece of me, and I let you. And that will never happen again.