Red Band Society. Too good to be true?

I’ve seen all the arguments strewn over my Facebook debating how a show like the Red Band Society is emotionally manipulative. Blogs and articles across the Internet bash the idealistic, naive view this show takes as it romanticizes life in a hospital for teens. If you have to be in a hospital as a teen, you probably won’t make these friendships and love connections that “last for a lifetime” as the tv show suggests. But what I think makes this show worth watching is that it has the potential to reach an audience who would otherwise have no idea or even care about what it’s like to grow up being sick in the hospital. I understand the show has to take liberties to reach that wide fan base, but I hope it gives the people in hospitals a face and story. You define who you are; not your disease, not your illness. You aren’t a patient or a number, you are YOU. And more importantly, you have a story that is worth telling.

Yes, this show will probably be cliche. It’s a tv show, not a documentary so they’re going blur the lines of reality and idealism, but that is what all tv shows are like. I haven’t seen the show yet, but I’m hoping that that people can see this and realize that the people in hospitals aren’t just a statistic or something you learned in science class. I hope this inspires even a few more people to care– a few more nurses, doctors, researchers, parents, or friends who care to find cures, to find treatment plans, and to just be aware of what life is like in someone else’s shoes.

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2 thoughts on “Red Band Society. Too good to be true?

  1. My son was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma April 15, 2014. It had spread to his lungs by then. Since his diagnosis I have been in touch with other families in similar situations around the US. This show is not only deplorable but down right dangerous in depicting young adults with life threatening disease. Bald head scary yes but he has his eye brows, that is not realistic. Energy no. If you have to stay in the hospital it means YOU ARE SICK!!!! My worry is people will be sensitized to this and stop funding research to cure these diseases because everyone is ok. Thank you for listening. I am not a fan of Red Band Society. My son is not Jordie. He is fighting one of the most horrible cancers.

    • Shawna, thanks for commenting. My worry when I saw the preview for the show was that it would set unrealistic expectations for young adults who have to be in the hospital. There is just no way any hospital can live up to what this show promises because it’s a tv show and it’s not going to profit unless there’s drama. But I guess I also hoped that the public would see this show and realize that the people who are in the hospital are just that– people, not nameless, faceless statistics we read about in books. As a med student, we are desensitized to all of this. I work on cadavers and have a thousand diseases thrown into my face that I have to memorize. We have practice patients where we go over what we have to do and after a while, it starts to become methodical. It’s a routine, and we stop seeing the person and just start seeing the disease to diagnose.

      I know this show is going to romanticize and make being in hospital seem glamorous, but I take that with a grain of salt, because that is the only way to appeal to the general public. Most people wouldn’t watch a documentary even if it accurately portrays the truth, but they would watch a titillating tv show with drama and love interests. This has the potential to reach an audience who never would have cared what being in the hospital is like, and that is what we need. We need more people who care, more nurses who care, more doctors who care, more researchers who care to not just treat the disease, but also treat the person. I hope your son gets better soon and I’ll be thinking of you and your family. Good luck with everything!

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