Tapping TV doctors’ popularity to teach medical ethics

The lede:

Gregory House, MD, has an unusual view of right and wrong. On several occasions, Dr. House has ordered underlings to break into patients’ houses to search for clues to an elusive diagnosis. He once triggered a seizure — against a patient’s will — to confirm a diagnosis of the rare metabolic disorder acute intermittent porphyria.

Dr. House is the fictional protagonist of Fox TV’s “House,” a medical mystery drama that last year drew an average 16.2 million viewers weekly. The bad-boy antics that made the master diagnostician a hit with American viewers also have made him popular among medical students, according to a December 2008 study in The American Journal of Bioethics.

The survey of nearly 400 medical and nursing students at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland found that 76% of doctors in training watch “House” and 73% watch ABC’s hospital soap opera “Grey’s Anatomy.” Nearly 40% watch NBC’s “ER” and one in five tunes in “Nip/Tuck,” which airs on the FX cable network. Eighty-five percent of medical students said they watched a medical drama in the prior year.

The whole shebang.