Grey’s Anatomy, Say What?!

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On the popular TV show, Grey’s Anatomy this past week, there was a mention of diabetes.  One that left me a bit flabbergasted. 

Here is how the storyline went: There was a patient getting a surgery to have his tumor removed and during surgery they found a cyst in danger of rupturing on his pancreas.  The surgeon called forth the person who the patient had listed as his emergency contact person, who just happens to be a surgeon (interestingly enough this surgeon married the patient just so he could have life-saving insurance).  The doctor performing the surgery tells her, “We found a cyst on Henry’s pancreas that’s in danger of rupturing, removing it means removing a large portion of his pancreas, which would make Henry a diabetic.  We didn’t discuss that possibility with him.  Do you think that’s something he could live with?”

I slapped my hand to my forehead.  Shish kabobs! Is this for real?

Since the lady surgeon/wife/emergency contact/decision maker for Henry didn’t really know him, she replied with, “I don’t know”.  She gave the doctor performing the surgery to proceed as he saw fit and he removed the large portion of pancreas as needed to save the man’s life.  Phew.

Does this happen in real life?  Does anyone say, “No, you know what? I don’t think my dear [insert loved one’s name] could deal with being a diabetic.”  When the alternative as I understand it is possible or sure death…why is this question asked by a surgeon to someone who may not even know about diabetes?  I understand that they ask because in some cases people don’t have “a support system in place” to help them adjust to a new life as an insulin dependent diabetic, but, in most cases, people can take care of their insulin dependent diabetes all on their own no? 

I’m still shaking my head no…no…this can’t be. 

Ask me right now: “Do you think insulin dependent diabetes is something you can continue to live with?”

With my hand over my heart: “Oh my goodness, yes! Please!”

6 thoughts on “Grey’s Anatomy, Say What?!

  1. Amanda

    You know, of that episode what really ticked me off was at the end when the patient & surgeon(wife) were talking and she explained to him what happened. He said “so I’m a diabetic now?” Then the Dr. said “yes” and the patient said “wow, that sucks”. I can’t even explain why but this really just ticked me off. I know that he was probably just thankful to be alive, but ugh it annoyed me anyways.

  2. Crystal

    Gosh. Guess I’m one of the few that was pleased with that episode. So many TV shows get it wrong or use horribly crass humor in relation to Diabetes.

    The line about needing support for a very tricky disease made me happy, because no matter the type, it Is tricky and no matter who you are, we all need support.

    But that’s just me. :-)

  3. Sysy Post author

    I totally agree with what you say, Crystal. They got all the details correct, including making sure to say, “insulin dependent diabetic” and pointing out that it “sucks” which it does, which might have struck a chord with us because we know how hard it is.

    In this post however, I’m referring to being surprised at how in the show, the surgeon asks the emergency contact person to decide whether a man would want his life saved even if that meant living as an insulin dependent diabetic. I’m wondering if this is the reality. I’m wondering if this scenario has played out in real life and if someone has said “no” and I’m wondering if someone has died because someone else thought they would rather be dead than be an insulin dependent diabetic.

    I’m not saying I wasn’t pleased with the episode. I’m talking about the medical derivative aspect of it.

  4. Sysy Post author

    Thanks for your comment, Beth, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who said, whoa whoa whoaaa during that show :)

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