Document Detail

Dr House, TV, and Reality….
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23331444     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
BACKGROUND: Medical practice in the media is usually far from reality. Thus, the viewer may be led astray. The world-famous fictional Dr House has to face a difficult diagnosis every week. His practice does not seem to reflect reality. The aim of this study was to assess the diagnosis strategy involved in this television program.
METHODS: An observer has previewed the 2011 season. The episode running time, the patient's age and sex, the list of all investigations and interventions, the final diagnosis, and the patient's outcome were collected. Number and proportion of French viewers for each episode were recorded.
RESULTS: We analyzed 18 episodes. The median running time was 42.5 (42.1-43.2) minutes. Main patient characters were 12 men (66%) and 6 women (33%); the average age was 31 (22-38) years. There were 225 investigations or interventions reported, averaging 14 (9-15) per episode, representing one examination every 3.1 (2.9-4.8) minutes. The most frequently prescribed investigations were magnetic resonance imaging (MRI; 13; 72%), blood sample (11; 61%), and biopsy (10; 56%). The most frequent interventions were surgery, anti-infectious treatments, and steroid treatments (9 each; 50%). Two patients (11%) died. The median number of spectators was 8.4 (8.1-8.7) million, corresponding to 33% (33%-34%) of the French national audience.
CONCLUSION: The population and the examination strategies used by Dr House were unrealistic. Because of this distortion, patients may not understand, nor accept the delay, the investigation choices, the intervention costs, risks, nor failures of a daily medical practice. Physicians should be aware of this "information bias."
Frédéric Lapostolle; Sylvie Montois; Armelle Alhéritière; Carla De Stefano; Philippe Le Toumelin; Frédéric Adnet
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The American journal of medicine     Volume:  126     ISSN:  1555-7162     ISO Abbreviation:  Am. J. Med.     Publication Date:  2013 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-01-21     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0267200     Medline TA:  Am J Med     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  171-3     Citation Subset:  AIM; IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
L'Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, Urgences - SAMU 93, Hôpital Avicenne, Bobigny, France; Université Paris 13, Sorbonne Paris Cité, EA 3509, Bobigny, France. Electronic address:
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