CBS Hospital Drama

January 28, 2016


If you’ve tuned in to CBS’s new medical drama Code Black, you’ll be most interested to know it’s helmed by someone much like you – a medical school graduate.

Executive Producer Dr. Ryan McGarry graduated in 2009 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and completed his residence at Los Angeles County General Hospital, known for having America’s busiest emergency room. There, patients often wait more than 14 hours for treatment. As you can imagine, things can get emotional for both patients and medical staff, especially when the words “code black” are uttered. The phrase is used by medical professionals to describe a situation wherein the influx of patients far exceeds the hospital’s resources to care for them. 

To help increase awareness of just what ER doctors, nurses and support staff endure on a daily basis, Dr. McGarry called upon his creative side and in 2013, wrote and produced Code Black, a documentary film.

The film is described on this way:

“A notorious trauma bay in an inner-city E.R. earns its keep as the ‘hurt locker of medicine’ as new, idealistic and adrenaline-seeking doctors train in an environment akin to a war zone. When the hospital moves to a swank new building, the rush fades and bureaucracy gridlocks the state-of-the-art facility, and the doctors are faced with the unexpected realities of life and death in a safety-net health-care system on the brink of overload.”

The real-life scenes drew the interest of Hollywood and last September, the series premiere aired on CBS. Though fictional, the scenes in the show, which follows the staff of the LA County Hospital ER, mirror those that occur in real life emergency rooms nationwide, providing a realistic look at just what today’s medical students may face in their eventual careers.

“At the end of the day, even with all the medical reality … what we’re trying to build here is an emotional experience,” Dr. McGarry, who also is a faculty member of emergency medicine at Weill Cornell Medical college of Cornell University and serves as an attending physician on the weekends at the ER of New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, recently told reporters with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “What this show does beyond anything else is, it gives you a front seat to being a physician in a situation like this.

“The actors are very serious about studying the reality of the characters they portray,” McGarry adds about the cast, led by renowned actress Marcia Gay Harden. “We don’t cut many corners, procedurally, on the show.”

While watching Code Black offers a preview of an emergency medicine career, enrolling in preparatory courses atWOLFPACC can help assure you’ll one day play a starring role in saving lives, too. Call 904-209-3140 to find out how.

See the trailer for the 2013 documentary Code Black