AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. June 2000, Volume 2, Number 6.

Ethics Poll

Should Reality Trauma Shows Be Banned?

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

In light of the success of medical drama shows such as "ER" and "Chicago Hope," a cable network has been producing a "real-world" trauma show. Episodes are filmed in actual emergency rooms, depicting encounters between patients and physicians. Some consider these shows to be informative, in that viewers are provided a unique opportunity to see how patients are treated in trauma centers. Through this lens, viewers gain a better understanding about the successes and limits of modern medicine, and thus have more realistic expectations about the health care delivery system. Critics, however, consider these shows to be more sensational than educational in nature. Furthermore, they argue that patients in the emergency room are too confused or injured to read posted signs indicating that filming is in progress.

Do you think that reality-based trauma shows are appropriate?

Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of Virtual Mentor readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.