MT. LAUREL, N.J., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Society of
Transplantation (AST) has gone public with its criticism of the writers and
producers of "Grey's Anatomy" for failing to provide accurate information
about organ transplantation. On October 2, millions of viewers watched an
episode titled "Enough is Enough," which ranked number five in the weekly
Nielsen Ratings. Unfortunately, viewers witnessed a storyline that grossly
misrepresented the facts of organ recovery and transplantation. AST, an
international organization of transplant professionals, maintains that when
writers and producers play fast and loose with the facts of organ donation,
they irrevocably damage public perception.
A Flawed Plot
In "Enough is Enough," a purportedly brain-dead female is transferred to
Seattle Grace Hospital, the dramatic center of "Grey's Anatomy." An
examination reveals that she is not brain-dead but had suffered a severe brain
injury. Ignoring the diagnosis, the "expert" organ recovery team prepares to
remove her organs. A clear-thinking neurosurgeon intervenes to save the
patient. "For the producers to suggest that a surgical team would not
exercise due diligence before removing an organ is highly inaccurate,
undermines public confidence in the medical profession, and raises
unsubstantiated concerns about organ donation," stresses Richard N. Fine,
M.D., AST president.
Fact or Fiction?
"Grey's Anatomy" is a television drama; it is not news programming. But
television shows, whether fictionalized or factually accurate, can influence
viewers. Years ago, when the television series "Marcus Welby, M.D." was
popular, more than a quarter million viewers sought medical advice from Dr.
Welby. Many of these individuals were average people, avid television viewers
who blurred the line between fact and fiction - the same type of person who
may one day wrestle with an organ donation decision. "When television writers
address emotionally-charged subjects without the facts, they are acting
recklessly," emphasized Fine.
Nearly 90,000 people are awaiting organ transplants. Organ donation
depends on individuals who trust that organ allocation is fair and equitable
and that physicians accurately determine when death has occurred before organs
are recovered. A U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality study found
that organ donations increase when families have good information about the
process. Episodes like "Enough is Enough" undermine this fragile trust and
can discourage organ donations.
Transplantation in the Media
"As a service to the public, AST strongly urges 'Grey's Anatomy's'
producers to revisit the issue and provide accurate information about organ
recovery and donation," states Fine. "AST requests the media's support in
ensuring that factual information about organ donation is never sacrificed in
the interest of improving ratings," Fine added.
AST was founded in 1982 and includes 2,300 transplant professionals.
Contact them at http://www.a-s-t.org.
CONTACT: LEZA RAFFEL
SOURCE American Society of Transplantation