A Gifted Man review
The Lionel Messi of surgeon glorification
March 2, 2012 -- In CBS's new drama A Gifted Man, elite New York neurosurgeon Michael Holt resides atop a pyramid of health expertise, gazing down with some contempt at all the other physicians and even less worthy non-physicians, whose knowledge seems to be merely a small subset of his. The show focuses on the visits Holt receives from the ghost of his recently deceased physician ex-wife, who pushes him to keep afloat the local poverty health clinic that she ran while alive. Holt is a self-absorbed anti-spiritualist who alienates people, but the show presents his skills as fully justifying his over-the-top arrogance; he compares himself to peerless soccer legend Lionel Messi (September 23, 2011 episode). Other characters stand in awe -- one anesthesiologist assures a patient that Holt is not as great as everyone says, he's even better! (October 7) -- and we are expected to take it all at face value. Needless to say, in a world in which even other physicians are treated as inadequate sidekicks, nurses will barely register at all. Holt's boutique neurosurgery facility seems to be staffed solely by swaggering physicians, quivering techs, and high-tech machines, including the advanced HEPA filter that supposedly prevents all infections by itself (October 7).Of course, there is Holt's no-nonsense assistant Rita, who at one point reminds him that she "used to" be a nurse (September 30), apparently before she moved up to the key job of managing Holt's schedule. Holt keeps forgetting her nursing background, evidently because that is irrelevant to the serious health care he provides. The poor clinic, meanwhile, seems to be run by physicians, a social worker, and administrative staff; occasionally, apparent nurses (or just their forearms) will appear to hold something or hand something to physicians. And with physician characters providing all meaningful care, there are many examples of physician nursing and suggestions that health care consists solely of what physicians do. One of the executive producers is Neal Baer, a physician who also worked on NBC's ER. Tonight A Gifted Man aired its season finale, which may also be the series finale, but if the show does return, we urge producers to convey some of the central role that nurses actually play in health care.
Let the producers know what you think!
Snail mail information:
Neal Baer, Jonathan Demme, Susannah Grant, Carl Beverly, Sarah Timberman
Executive Producers, Gifted Man
319 Lafayette St. #144
New York, NY 10012
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