Earlier this week at The Conference on World Affairs, I watched a panel about science in the movies. During the panel, physicist and science writer Sidney Perkowitz said that, out of all the people writing about science and medicine in Hollywood, the writers of House are some of the people who care the most about accuracy.
After I tweeted that, reader Jay Rishel pointed me toward Polite Dissent, a blog written by a doctor that periodically reviews the medical science presented on episodes of House.
It's a nice reminder that even the writers who care the most about getting science right, don't always succeed. That said, I am pretty impressed that, for the most part, the complaints the doctor-blogger has are usually closer to the nit-pick end of the spectrum. For a show that is so densely packed with medical information, that's pretty good. Some of the complaints about Season 2, Episode 1:
I’m surprised the inmate didn’t have a severely elevated blood pressure with the pheochromocytoma, and I’m equally surprised that his abdominal surgery went so well since pressure on the abdomen is enough to cause the tumor to release a large amount of adrenalin. This sends the blood pressure rocketing dangerously high.
The patient got over his respiratory depression remarkably quickly — one minute he’s sick enough to require intubation, and the rest of the time he’s fine. (And why wasn’t the endotracheal tube taped in place?)
It takes a great deal more alcohol than a few shots to clear that much methanol from the body, and that’s why IV ethanol is generally used.
Via Jay Rishel
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.