We’ve all fallen for a prank at one time or another. It’s okay to admit it; we’ve all been there for the rubber spider or cellophane under the toilet seat. But sometimes a hoax comes along and pulls the wool over a nation—or even the world. Maybe it’s for money, maybe it’s for laughs, or maybe it’s just to make sure that people are paying attention. Whatever their motivations, here are some hoaxes that have taken the medical world for a ride.
Hospitals, like courtrooms, are natural epicenters of drama and life-changing events. Is it any wonder then that we keep returning to them for entertainment? The doctors and nurses who walk the hallways of TV hospitals are written to live up to that larger-than-life image—even if it’s at the cost of accuracy and authenticity.
Please enjoy this list of our favorite medical practitioners to grace the small screen. Which are the worst? Which are the best? We’ll leave that distinction up to you.
Clara Barton was no stranger to the dangers of war: while serving as a nurse during the Civil War, a bullet skimmed her sleeve and killed the soldier she was caring for. “A ball had passed between my body and the right arm which supported him, cutting through the sleeve and passing through his chest from shoulder to shoulder,” she recalled. “There was no more to be done for him and I left him to his rest. I have never mended that hole in my sleeve.”