There's a reason actors don't practice medicine and instead choose to play medical professionals on TV: any respectable hospital would unceremoniously fire many of these fictional doctors. While it's not a crime to be ridiculously good-looking (we're looking at you, Dr. Shepherd), it's a violation for a surgeon to hide a medical condition that results in a hand tremor (hello, Dr. Bell and Dr. Burke). The former may be a simple distraction for a patient, while the latter could cost a patient their life.
Some TV doctors are intentionally ridiculous, like Dr. Spaceman from 30 Rock or Dr. Riviera from The Simpsons, but these "good doctors" are trying their hardest to replicate real-life physicians accurately. The worst fictional doctors on TV range from psychiatrists to dentists to neurosurgeons. TV patients put their lives in the hands of these professionals, and the results are sometimes disastrous.
What would you do if you found out the surgeon performing your operation had an addiction to painkillers or was only 16 years old? Would you voice concern if your doctor yelled at you for no real reason? It would be wise to avoid these terrible TV doctors - your negligence may cost your life.
Dr. Robert Romano (Paul McCrane) became a recurring character on ER during the acclaimed medical drama's fourth season. Though this general surgeon demonstrated talent, he was also incredibly rude. One of his most cold-hearted acts came during Season 7 when he contributed to the firing of psychiatrist Dr. Legaspi (Elizabeth Mitchell), primarily because she was a lesbian.
Romano had few friends in the ER, and his colleagues universally disliked him. He also faced a sexual harassment accusation in Season 5. It's a bad sign when a doctor encounters animosity from almost everyone he meets and becomes alienated from his entire staff. In Season 10, a falling helicopter killed Romano.
Dr. Randolph Bell (Bruce Greenwood) is chief of surgery at Chastain Park Memorial Hospital on the Fox drama, The Resident. On the surface, he seems like the perfect surgeon. However, he hides a medical condition that causes a hand tremor. A shaky hand is detrimental to any surgeon's career - thus, every time Dr. Bell operates, he is putting his patient's life on the line.
When performing surgery, Dr. Bell is effectively implying that his medical career is more important than saving a human life.
Before Bryan Cranston took on the role of meth-making kingpin Walter White on Breaking Bad, he appeared on several episodes of Seinfeld as Dr. Tim Whatley, Jerry's re-gifting dentist. In one episode, Seinfeld becomes offended when he thinks Whatley converted to Judaism solely to make Jewish jokes without sounding like an anti-Semite. When Whatley gets wind of Jerry's outrage, he makes the comedian pay by adding extra time and work while in the dentist's chair.
However, Whatley's worst alleged crime comes after Jerry discovers dirty magazines in the waiting room. After Jerry awakes from sedation, he sees a nurse and Whatley start getting dressed - but he isn't sure if that's what they're actually doing, as he is still hazy from the anesthesia. Jerry also realizes his shirt is untucked, but can't remember if he had tucked it in or left it out when he got dressed.
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Featured on the wonderful medical drama, Grey's Anatomy, Dr. Preston Burke (Isaiah Washington) is one of the most celebrated and talented surgeons around. He is the top physician for anyone with a heart condition, until his pride takes over, making him a danger to his patients.
In the show, Burke gets shot in the shoulder, and the bullet wound causes nerve damage in his arm. It's enough to cause his hand to shake, which is disastrous for a surgeon. Despite this, Burke continues to perform surgery. He also involves his fiancée at the time, Cristina Yang (Sandra Oh), in his cover-up. She often has to step in to take over complicated heart surgeries when she knows Burke can't perform at his best.