Medicine in the frame

“HEY, Wilson,” yells diagnostician Dr Greg House in an episode of the hit American medical drama House M.D. “I’m gonna go cut out a cripple’s eye… want to watch?”

Or what about this exchange between GP Dr Martin Ellingham, the lead character of the British series Doc Martin, and his patient: “Mr Fenn, there is a high probability you have a cancer of the larynx. You’ll need surgery and you may well lose your voice, which has a certain appeal.” 

These lines might have audiences in stitches, but doctors will know they are unlikely to be delivered in a real hospital ward or GP’s surgery.

As Gold Coast GP and filmmaker Dr Peter Yaxley says, these comments come from characters that represent dysfunctional doctors. 

“In medical school, those sorts of people are turfed out,” he says. “Who wants to employ someone who talks to patients like that? We don