Catching Up with the Stars of Boston Med
We go behind the scenes of the hit reality series.
Interviews by Brittany Jasnoff and Shannon Fischer
Plastic surgeon, Brigham and Womenâ€™s
On being part of the team of surgeons that performed the first face transplant in New England: One thing that people donâ€™t always appreciate about that episode is that the patient [the face donor] had had a heart transplant, and that went very well. But then he had a stroke, and his brain was no longer functioning. What viewers donâ€™t realize is that the heart went on to another recipientâ€”that one heart lived in three different people!
Oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Mass General
On extracting a bullet from Framingham police officer Phillip Hurtonâ€™s faceâ€”with the camera rolling: I donâ€™t know that it made any difference working on camera. In an academic teaching centerâ€”especially one as big as MGHâ€”weâ€™re used to being watched, because we have different nurses around every day, residents at different levels, and visiting professors and students. Now itâ€™s not every day that people are taping us to be on TV…but by the end of it, I totally forgot they were there. The fact is, Iâ€™m not sitting there thinking, What am I going to say because Iâ€™m on camera? Iâ€™m thinking, How I am going to fix this patientâ€™s face?
Transplant cardiologist, Mass General
On the family of her patient, Marvin, allowing filmingâ€”even in the worst of times: At every moment, they had an opportunity to say, â€śThatâ€™s enough; stop following us,â€ť but I think they embraced the opportunity to share this experience and perhaps help other people. I think they saw this as something Marvin would have wanted as well. And the final moments werenâ€™t filmed. They did say, â€śThatâ€™s enoughâ€ť at one point.
Pediatric cardiologist, Childrenâ€™s Hospital
On how fictional hospital shows compare with real lifeâ€”and Boston Med: At least to a happily married man, there seems to be a lot less sex in the real-world hospital. But obviously Boston Med was after something completely different; it sought to capture the real-world drama of medically complex patients. I think they did a good job depicting the story and emotions of having a baby with heart disease. They obviously cut out a lot of important details and events to fit the story into 20 minutes, but in the end, they did get it right.
Trauma surgeon, Brigham and Womenâ€™s
On losing someone on the table: I see a lot of bad things every dayâ€”death, horrific accidentsâ€”and one of the ways that we cope is to keep moving on. But [the camera crew] made it difficult to do that. They did stop you; theyâ€™d ask, â€śHow do you feel about what just happened?â€ť Suddenly youâ€™re standing there and youâ€™re like, Oh my God, that person actually had a familyâ€”and that was hard. Iâ€™m glad they didnâ€™t follow us when we spoke with the family. That family was coming in from a different hospital, and they were told he was okayâ€”just a minor trauma. I was going in there to tell them what had really happened in surgery.
Pediatric cardiac surgeon, Childrenâ€™s Hospital
On the filming of young patients: I was concerned about that, and I was concerned about how parents of really young children might perceive being on camera. We specifically sought out a patient we knew would be able to give consent…but just as important, we wanted someone who would be able to communicate his or her experience. Sara Dumas, the person I transplanted, was perfect, because she was such an articulate young woman and was able to really communicate what her experience was like, dealing with having a life limited by her heart failure. She was also able to articulate what life was like after she got her new heart.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2010/12/the-stars-of-boston-med/