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Medical Inaccuracies In Chicago Med That Even Fans Noticed

While NBC's hit medical procedural "Chicago Med" generates decidedly healthy ratings for the network (per TV Line), fans have picked up on the fact that the show sometimes dispenses not-insignificant doses of medically inaccurate information.

On the one hand, as trauma surgeon, SWAT team member, and "Chicago Med" advisor Andrew Dennis told Science News for Students, the procedures and protocol at the show's fictional Chicago Gaffney Medical Center hits an accuracy rate that he estimates to be 85% (which means, albeit, 15% of stretching for the needs of the story). The actors really do train with doctors, and Dennis' guidance ensures that even the movements actors make during operation scenes looks authentic. But the fact is, even though the cases that are rolled in through the doors of the show's Emergency Department may be based on actual events, "Chicago Med" — like all other TV medical series — often opts for drama over veracity and ends up getting a diagnosis or treatment wrong in a way that would simply never occur in a real-world medical setting. 

With that being said, what are a few glaring examples of medical errors caught by the sharp-eyed "Chicago Med" viewers?

Fans caught missteps in Chicago Med's Emergency Department procedures

Since launching as the first entry in producer Dick Wolf's "One Chicago" trio of shows in 2015, "Chicago Med" has challenged its Emergency Department docs and nurses with everything from mass-casualty train wrecks to citywide bio-weapon attacks. But even though the show relies on documented medical cases for its episodes, this doesn't keep it from missing the mark from time to time.

In this regard, a number of viewers commenting on IMDb's "Chicago Med" user reviews page called out specific moments that seem to stray from standard emergency room practices. IMDb poster pizzygod wondered, for instance, why post-op patients sometimes languish in the E.R. instead of being taken to the Intensive Care Unit, saying: "I am an ER nurse [...] Why oh tell me why does the patient never leave the ER? They should be in the ICU but for some reason they are getting ECMO [Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation] in the ER!" 

Meanwhile, a Reddit fan, user u/rosedewittbukater, commented on the show's subreddit discussing medical goofs. Saying that they are a 4th year medical student, the user chimed in to say, "[My] biggest issue is how much stuff is handled in the ED. The ED is for triage and stabilization. Its supremely unrealistic how they often have patients remaining in their room for days at a time."

Viewers also spotted these Chicago Med gaffes

For several "Chicago Med" fans, the mistakes they catch range from specific details of a surgical situation being misrepresented to an unnecessary call for emergency procedures during a routine birth. Posting on the show's IMDb review page, user katmurphy-30027 stated that, as a nurse, they found it "disturbing" that the show's scriptwriters are not getting more astute input from the series' medical advisors. They then went on to cite a misdiagnosis in a Season 7 episode of the show, saying, "The patient is in surgery, she's bleeding... Dr. Archer says she's hypertensive. SHE FAR FROM HYPERTENSIVE. She's hypotensive and losing blood actively [...] All it takes is a simple google and basic medical terminology and understanding." For IMDb commentor jeffwillard-63545, it's the show's birthing protocol in the Season 3 Episode 12, "Born This Way" that was worth complaining about, as the shoulder dystocia, they said, was not something as severe as the show made it seem.

Noting another procedural inaccuracy, the Bioethics Today website points out that in the "Who Knows What Tomorrow Brings" episode of Season 5, Dr. Will Halstead (Nick Gehlfuss) violates basic patient confidentiality when he discusses treatments with a fully lucid and abled patient in front of the man's girlfriend, who then attempts to make decisions about the man's health that she has no legal right to make.

Other fans think Chicago Med has a dangerous drug problem

IMDb commenter Iouann_wallace singled out the 2016 episode "Choices" for a scene that finds Dr. Daniel Charles (Oliver Platt) making a drug-dispensing faux pas: "Medical adviser needs to be careful of Psychiatrist telling the wrong drugs for bipolar disorder [...] when he mentioned other drugs the patient had tried he quoted SSRIs [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors] which should not be prescribed to bipolar cause they throw the person into a manic state."

RoswAlien_lady also wrote on IMDb to argue that the seeming unfamiliarity the doctors have with drugs — or in this case, the names of them — is also an issue for her. "They don't teach them how to pronounce the medical jargon in their lines... dude said metoclopramide and i had to repeat it back to myself [...]"  Similarly, an observant Redditor posting on the series' subreddit caught Dr. Ethan Choi (Brian Tee) mixing up his terminology while oxygenating a patient in the Season 6 debut episode "When Did We Begin to Change," explaining that Dr. Choi claimed to be using nitrous oxide when he meant to say nitric oxide, despite both being different gases altogether.  

So while these blunders likely won't affect the prognosis for "Chicago Med" remaining alive and well and on the air for the foreseeable future, they have caused some fans to demand a second opinion where medical accuracy is concerned.