Dr. Romano's Dog

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I hated the bit about Romano and his dog (well, the two of them were cute together, and I liked that) - veterinary medicine and human medicine, while similar, have some glaring differences. There is a reason students have to go through four years of veterinary medical school to become a DVM. I used to work as a veterinary technician and saw pets that had been poisoned by their MD owners - what is safe for a human is not necessarily safe for another species. Also, how could they decently monitor anesthesia since no one seemed to know a resting canine pulse rate? It will be hysterical when they diagnose the dog with sepsis after the operation with the glaring symptom that her temp is elevated to 101 - normal for a dog.

-- Anne Collins (nina.breton@exodus.net), February 11, 2000


Technical aspects of human/animal medicine aside, I thought it was very endearing to show Romano's devotion to his dog. So far his love for animals is his only redeeming quality! I just hope the ER writers don't try to make him too loveable, because he's so much more fun as a "villain"!

-- Cindy (tailchasers51@hotmail.com), February 14, 2000.

They've done it before, too. I can recall at least one other episode where they had to operate on a dog.

-- Cai (mohawk@xmission.com), February 14, 2000.

Bless you Anne, you're the only other person who seems even mildly perturbed by this arrogant and completely illegal act. It's a perfect illustration of the MD-as-God syndrome (you know, it goes like this: I am a doctor, therefore anything I don't know about must be a) really simple if people other than doctors can understand it and b) not important anyway). Don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to say that the syndrome is universal, but anyone who's worked with enough doctors, particularly surgeons, will have encountered it at least once. I used to work as a vet and I really hate it when TV shows have doctors blithely performing procedures on animals. Like you, I was a bit riled that they were giving a GA without knowing drug doses, normal physiological parameters etc and the "sepsis" issue occurred to me too! And what's the bet they put in a smaller diameter ET tube than that dog needed? Plus, did they check the length to make sure they didn't intubate one main bronchus? For those who think this is just a bit of business protectionism, consider this: if I, as a qualified veterinary surgeon with a strong interest in anaesthetics, had a family member who needed surgery - let's say a CABG, I should watch a couple of episodes of Chicago Hope and then do it myself in the veterinary hospital to make sure it's done properly, right? Wrong. And do you think the reaction of my colleagues would be just indulgent amusement that I cared so much about my family? No? Well, perhaps the converse situation shouldn't be treated so lightly either. And yes, I KNOW that arrogance is one of Romano's chief characteristics, but that doesn't excuse his colleagues for going along with this idiot.

-- Prue Oxford (prue@wellmark.com.au), February 16, 2000.

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