Medical dramas never go out of style. From great Aussie classics like A Country Practice to slick contemporary shows like Doctor Doctor; our screens have often been populated with sexy nurses and doctors. Yet, it seems like one medical myth keeps getting recycled through the ages: the flatline gag. We’ve all seen it: a patient is struggling for life in the back of a speeding ambulance. All of a sudden their heart monitor flatlines. Cue the handsome paramedic who grabs the defibrillator and zaps the patient back to life. While this makes for compelling drama, it simply doesn’t work that way. The defibrillator is designed to treat arrhythmia. Commonly available AEDs work by analysing a patient’s heart rhythm and assessing if a shock is required. The shock delivered by an AED interrupts chaotic heart rhythm; thereby allowing it to reset. Think of it like a ctrl+alt+delete for your heart. A defibrillator cannot bring a heartbeat back from flatline. If a heart has stopped beating, the correct treatment is good old-fashioned CPR. At On-Set Health, our highly experienced staff can provide healthcare and medical consultancy. We have advised on productions such as Bloom, Judith and Punch, Neighbours and Romper Stomper to name a few.

Debunking Medical TV Clichés

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