Paging Dr. Obvious

P.S. Nurses don't look like that either.In a stunning piece of research the medical community has concluded that Hollywood is unrealistic. I’m shocked.

Dr. Eelco Wijdicks, head of critical care neurology at the Mayo Clinic, says film portrayals of comas are wildly inaccurate, in a study published in the journal Neurology.

"They all portray what we call the 'sleeping beauty phenomenon' - nicely groomed. In many of the movies, they look as healthy as can be and then awaken suddenly, in a matter of minutes, and are back to (normal).

"Patients who are comatose have suffered a major brain injury," said Wijdicks, who analyzed more than two dozen films involving a character in a coma for accuracy as part of a study. "And the reality is that patients are on ventilators, there's very sophisticated medical care needed to prevent complications and when they survive that period (if they do), they need a prolonged period of neuro-rehabilitation."

This is, apparently, bad as people may not realize that people are woken with a mosquito, à la Uma Thurman’s The Bride in Kill Bill Vol. 1. Other films that didn't make the grade: The Dead Zone, with Christopher Walken coming out of a five-year coma with heightened mental powers; Regarding Henry with Harrison Ford rebuilding his life after being comatose for weeks; and 28 Days Later where a bicycle messenger who has been in a coma, suddenly awakens, steps out of bed, pulls out his catheter and walks out of the hospital.

So if comas don't make you psychic, perhaps a virus wouldn't turn most of the world into murderous zombies in four weeks. If so, what else has Hollywood lied to me about? Do nerds always win in the end? Do all phone numbers actually have 555 in their digits? Do vehicles really not ignite upon impact?

If you are getting your medical information from a film, you are in for a lot of nasty surprises in your life.


  1. AnonymousMay 09, 2006

    Last night we watched Batman Begins, and the bad guys have a super magic microwave device that instantly vaporizes all the water in the city's water mains, yet somehow the water in people's bodies is completely unaffected. Uh huh!

  2. AnonymousMay 10, 2006

    Are you saying that isn't possible? Oh Hollywood! (Yelled while shaking fist in the air.)

  3. AnonymousMay 25, 2006

    Wow. I am so shaken. I thought movies were for real. I guess I have the reality of television to fall back on then.

  4. AnonymousMay 25, 2006

    My whole world view would collaose should anyone find that reality shows are scripted. Makes me shudder just thinking about it.

  5. AnonymousMay 25, 2006

    Reality Shows scripted? Wouldn't that be an oxymoron? Surely no one would stoop so low as to do such a diabolical thing.