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What The Good Doctor Gets Wrong About Organ Donation

It's no secret that plenty of medical procedural shows, such as House or Chicago Med, pay closer attention to dramatic cast exits and romantic tension than to textbook accuracy. ABC drama The Good Doctor is certainly not an exception to this tendency around Hollywood.

Starring noted Bates Motel clerk Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor focuses on Shaun Murphy, an autistic savant turned surgical resident at a San Jose hospital. Shaun soon proves to have unique insight into his cases, thanks in part to his condition, while he nevertheless struggles with the daily challenges of having a disability. The show has received attention over four seasons for Highmore's performance and a positive depiction of autism, though critics have sometimes faulted the portrayal as well.

Despite Shaun's stated gifts within the show, TV writers aren't savant medical doctors and will sometimes ignore basic expertise if it means a great hour-long episode of network TV.

Here's an early instance of The Good Doctor fudging the facts to generate maximum drama.

This season 1 The Good Doctor episode would likely never happen

In the season 1 episode "Heartfelt," Eric, a dying young man, is offered a liver transplant from a convicted murderer. Eric initially refuses the transplant, panicking that he doesn't want a donation from a killer, while doctor and former cop Alex questions the motives of the donor.

According to ScreenRant, however, this very likely would never happen. There's no set law against prisoners donating their organs, but most prisons simply don't allow it due to inmates seeing higher rates of infection and disease. Even if a prisoner wanted to, they wouldn't be able to give their liver to somebody in need.

Luckily for audiences, The Good Doctor is definitely not real life — instead, the dilemma ends when the murderer kills himself so Eric can live. Sometimes, inaccuracy just means a better episode of television, and for a surprisingly dead-on show about doctors, there's always Scrubs (No, really!).