A Doctor Ranked Popular TV Shows Set in Hospitals by Their Medical Accuracy

YouTuber Mike Varshavski, a.k.a. Doctor Mike, uses his platform to dispel medical misinformation, most recently busting coronavirus myths and clarifying some of the key facts about public health during the pandemic. But he’s also a fan of watching hospital dramas and comparing them to his own life. In a recent video, he lists 16 popular medical TV shows, and ranks them in terms of their scientific accuracy.

Attaway General

“The uniforms aren’t right, they’re wearing hairnets at times, they’re having teenagers deliver medical care as volunteers… Just nothing makes sense on the show,” he says.

Doogie Howser, M.D.

The entire premise of this show, in which a teenaged Neil Patrick Harris works as a professional physician, is far-fetched to the point of ludicrousness, but even setting that aside, Doctor Mike objects to the scientific inaccuracies depicted in the plots—not to mention a very dated scene in which an older woman attempts to seduce the young lead.


“I’m calling B.S.,” says Mike. “I love nurses, they’re the backbone of medicine. The show itself didn’t give them justice.”


From the very first episode of this series, Mike couldn’t help but notice a lack of chest compressions in scenes where they would very much be necessary. “Chest compressions, chest compressions, chest compressions, folks!”

Royal Pains

“The medical accuracy is out of this world,” he says. “It’s almost as if they’re functioning like an E.R. specialist, family medicine doctor, interventional cardiologist, toxicologist. It’s like they’re superhuman… I feel like it misguides people into thinking doctors have to know right away what is going on. A lot of the time we don’t, and we have to investigate further.”

The Night Shift

The further up the list Mike goes, the more popular the shows he’s dragging—but just because something makes for enjoyable TV, doesn’t mean it’s realistic. “There was just so much unrealistic action happening, it made it feel not medically accurate.”

Nurse Jackie

This long-running, critically acclaimed series follows a nurse who must balance her high-pressure job in a busy New York hospital with her secret opioid addiction. Which of course leads to some stuff going down that no real-life healthcare worker would ever consider. “There are just so many things that keep happening to make it seem outrageous, to make it interesting, it just doesn’t feel realistic.”

The Resident

“While I dig the drama, the realism falls somewhere down the middle,” says Mike, comparing the titular medical residents to “cowboys” who do whatever they want.

New Amsterdam

“All in all I think it’s a good show,” says Mike. “It talks about some really important systemic issues within healthcare. While I think it takes on important challenges, it also does it in a very unrealistic way at times.”

Grey’s Anatomy

“I know it’s the most popular medical drama of all time… it’s just not medically accurate,” he says, acknowledging that he will probably catch some smoke for this controversial opinion.


While this beloved sitcom finds the humor in some pretty dark and tense medical situations, Mike can’t back its verisimilitude.”I honestly struggled with this one, I didn’t know where to place it,” he says. “I do think it is an accurate satirical representation of what happens in hospitals, but it is not medically accurate.”

Chicago Med

“I couldn’t find almost anything medically wrong with it,” says Mike, applauding the show for its inclusion of nurses as important characters in the cast, which reflects the reality of life in hospitals.

Code Black

This one, says Mike, is so on-point that it “felt like it was written by medical professionals.”

House, M.D.

“While the show has incredible scientific rigor… I think the way my friend House goes about it is just reckless.”

The Good Doctor

Mike is a fan of this one, which he believes to be a highly true-t0-life depiction of what it’s like to work in the medical profession, topped only by…


It’s decades old by now, but it remains a classic for a reason. “It’s still bingable. It’s still quality. It still tells real-life stories about humans,” says Mike. “It’s truly one of my favorite medical dramas.”

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