We love Grey's Anatomy, but advocates of organ donation might not be so hot on the long-running medical drama. A new study criticizes the show over its organ donation storylines.
As Vox reports, a study set to be published in the July 2014 issue of Communication Research claims that Grey's depicts an "overwhelmingly negative and cynical view of organ donation."
"The majority of organ donation coverage on this program depicts doctors as vultures, eager to transplant organs from their patients," the researchers write. "In addition, plots often highlight doctors crossing ethical lines by privileging patients that are their friends as well as affluent patients with organ transplantation over less familiar and affluent individuals."
One episode in particular that the researchers may have cited was the Season 2 episode "Enough Is Enough" — an installment in which Derek (Patrick Dempsey) stops an organ recovery team from taking organs from a patient whom he realizes isn't actually braindead.
The American Society of Transplantation issued a press release criticizing that particular episode: "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."
According to Vox, the new study found that the more respondents watched Grey's, the more they believed the show's medicine to be accurate, the more they developed attitudinal barriers to the idea of transplantation, and the less accurate their knowledge of transplantation became.
The report does stipulate that the decrease in accurate knowledge did not seem to affect respondents' final opinion about becoming a donor — but it does result in other potential sticking points, like distrust in medical institutions.
Has the show changed your opinion of organ transplantation? Let us know below!
Grey's Anatomy Season 11 airs this fall.
Sources: Communication Research via Vox, American Society of Transplantation press release