May 17, 2016 at 1:15 AM

Great question, and I’m a huge fan of Hawaii 5-0! I watched that show, Season 6, Episode 25: O Ke Ali’l Wale No Ka’u Makemake. It pains me to see so many medical inaccuracies that could have been avoided by a quick consultation with a physician. I guess most people never notice the medical mistakes, or just excuse the bad science in the name of good drama.

Danny tells the transplant surgeon that he can stop looking for a compatible liver donor, because he and Steve are the same “blood type.” This is a partial truth, at best, because HLA antigen typing of organ donors goes way beyond matching the blood type. The chance of Danny being a good donor match for Steve is actually quite low, even if they are both the same blood type.

In the operating room, Steve and Danny are shown wearing simple oxygen facemasks, possibly awake, as they are prepped and draped for surgery. In reality, they would both be under general anesthesia, unconscious, with airway tubes coming out of their mouths and connected to a mechanical ventilator. This would be done long before the surgical area was prepared. Their eyes would be taped shut. I admit the scene wouldn’t be pretty for primetime TV.

I’m not aware of any medical facility where two patients are operated on in the same room, even for organ donation. Normally, the two procedures take place in separate rooms, and the donor organ is transported to the recipient. Putting the two stars in the same room for surgery reinforces the “loving partner” theme, eliminates the need to shoot two scenes, and saves airtime, too.

Hawaii 5-0 isn’t a medical show, but the writers could have easily checked their medical facts. I forgive the director for simplifying the shoot, fitting the time allotment, and optimizing the drama at the expense of medical accuracy.

H.S. Clark, MD

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