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Doctor who writes for The Resident believes fictional medical shows can combat misinformation

  • Daniela J. Lamas, a pulmonary and critical-care physician who serves as a co-producer on the Fox medical drama, says of her experience: "When I started to write for a television medical drama a few years ago, I embraced the job as a salve for the burnout that so many doctors face. It offered me a release from the unyielding sadness of intensive care, a way to turn tragedy into something more hopeful and to control how the story ends. But in straddling these two worlds, I have realized that television drama is not just about escapism. On the contrary, I believe that medical fiction can also be a powerful tool for countering misinformation and changing minds...I used to want to show the hospital as it truly exists, to reveal the humor and tragedy and grace that characterize my world. I could tell you about the time a family came to say goodbye to a dying woman. A misplaced identification card had led them to believe, wrongly, that she was their mother. I could tell you about a patient’s brother, a hulking man with skull tattoos on his shaved head, who told us that he could not stand to be in the room when we took his brother off the ventilator. When he left, we thought we would never see him again, so we were surprised when he returned minutes later — not to sit vigil at the bedside, but to collect his brother’s prosthetic leg. He spent the rest of the day in the hospital chapel with the leg beside him. I could tell so many stories about the forms that love takes. But when I recounted these types of stories in the writers’ room, I learned that much of what I see is simply too grim. The public does not need to be reminded — especially now — of how quickly things can go bad, how protracted illness can lead a family to disintegrate, how doctors can try their very best and yet people will still die. Audiences want to see their heroes succeed. And when life is uncertain, as it is now, the predictably optimistic formula of network television is more reassuring than ever."

    TOPICS: The Resident, FOX, Daniela J. Lamas, Coronavirus