For my reflection this week, I decided to watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I’m a little behind right now, so the episode I watched was the first episode after the winter break (season 16 episode 10). I was actually quite surprised with the doctor patient exchanges this week. Normally, I can tell that they are crossing so many boundaries and that what they are doing would most definitely not fly in the real world. But, I love Grey’s Anatomy and all the characters and it’s good TV, so I still watch it. This week, however, most of the exchanges I saw were pretty okay, with no boundary crossing. Most of the patients were also doctors at the hospital because of an accident that happened at a nearby bar, which normally means extreme boundary crossing. I will say that I’m not entirely sure it was ethical for their colleagues to be operating on them. I’m not entirely sure how that all plays out in an actual emergency situation if they are the closest hospital.
The first positive interaction I saw was when Meredith was talking to Helm (the patient) while she was sedated getting an operation. Meredith using a very calm, almost soothing tone with her. Helm was kind of talking funny because she was sedated, but Meredith was very good at just listening to her, taking compliments, and just going along with whatever she was talking about. This was good because Meredith was calm, so it was helping to keep the patient calm as well.
Meredith was also good with another patient, Schmitt. He passed out with no known cause, so Meredith was doing a full workup. Before she left the room, she made sure to ask if there was anyone she could call, which got him worked up a little. She then made sure to tell him to stay calm and take deep breaths. I thought this was a good exchange because she took time to make sure that his emotional needs were met before moving on to a different patient. She knew that it is important for a patient to have emotional support when they are going through something like that.
A third interaction was when Altman was helping a patient whose PTSD from war was triggered after the accident. When they found him, she knew what he was going through because she was also a soldier. She knew to approach him by asking for permission to approach (like they do in the military) because of her previous experience. She then proceeded with facts saying things like you’re safe, gave their location, then asked him if he wanted to come with her to check him out. She didn’t demand him to do anything, and almost let him lead them in a way. I think this is a very important thing, especially when dealing with mental illness. It helps keep the patient more relaxed and cooperative.
A final positive interaction I saw was when Avery and Owen were talking to a patient’s relative. When they spoke, they were telling the relative exactly what happened during the surgery and all of the steps they took. This kept it very professional without crossing any boundaries. The relative then asked if the patient was going to be okay. Avery responded in a very good way by not saying yes or no, but by saying something along the lines of well there are always risks. Normally on this show, they make all these declarations saying they will be just fine, when a doctor really can’t say that for sure. So, I was surprised when he handled it in a very professional manner of stating facts and not making promises he can’t necessarily keep.
There was only one slightly questionable interaction that I saw this week (besides the already mentioned colleagues working on each other). DeLuca was talking with a patient’s significant other after the patient basically had a miracle happen and their heart started beating again. It was fine when he was accepting thanks and accrediting the surgeons who actually did the surgery. Then the patient hugged him, just as a gratitude hug. I think hugging is one of those things where it can be either therapeutic or totally inappropriate. In this situation, I think it was therapeutic, because the significant other really was just so thankful, and it was her way of saying thanks. But, I think there are situations where it could be considered inappropriate and crossing a boundary. So, it is something to look out for and be careful about. Overall, I was pretty pleased because I saw some pretty normal, professional provider patient interactions on this particular episode of Grey’s Anatomy.