Wednesday, March 07, 2007

CNN Documentary Reveals Real Lives of Medical Residents for Grady’s Anatomy

CNN Pressroom - CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Four Young Doctors Guide Viewers Inside Busy Inner City Hospital

The experiences of Dr. John Carter on E.R. and Dr. McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy might make for fascinating television drama, but the lives of actual young doctors are even more exciting. The personal dramas and life-saving work of medical residents are the subjects of a new documentary, CNN: Special Investigations Unit – Grady’s Anatomy, which will premiere on Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25, at 8 p.m. and 11p.m. All times Eastern.

More than 900 medical residents practice at Grady Memorial Hospital, one of the busiest Level 1 trauma hospitals in the Southeast. Based in the bustling southern city of Atlanta, Grady offers non-stop action, and physicians-in-training have to be prepared for almost anything.

Four Grady residents – and CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta – allowed CNN to shadow them as they juggled their professional and personal lives. An experienced attending neurosurgeon at Grady, Gupta also serves as CNN’s chief medical correspondent, reporting from conflict zones and natural disasters around the world. In an emergency situation, he once operated with a Black and Decker drill while reporting from the battlefront in Iraq.

For three weeks, CNN followed Dr. Nii-Daako Darko, Dr. Robin Lowman, Dr. Andrea Meinerz and Dr. Luis Tumialàn on rounds through the emergency room and the operating room as well as during their free time for a game of high stakes poker, a baby feeding … and even a little bird watching. The residents include:

· Dr. Nii-Daako Darko, whose parents emigrated from Ghana in West Africa. A first-year surgical intern, Darko grew up in near Newark, N.J., and says that he relates to the personal struggles of his inner city patients. He describes Dr. Cliff Huxtable of The Cosby Show as his inspiration;

· Dr. Andrea Meinerz, who spends her few free evenings with her husband bird-watching and tending to their two ferrets. As a release from her hectic schedule, Meinerz also plays poker, often using her skills as a first-year neurology medicine resident to analyze her opponents’ reactions;

· Dr. Robin Lowman, a second generation physician who grew up shadowing her father during his rounds in a hospital emergency room. An emergency medicine resident, Lowman is also a talented singer. She performed off-Broadway before her residency and still writes and records her own music;

· Dr. Luis Tumialàn, a fifth-year neurosurgery resident and former U.S. Navy diver and medic, who balances his professional responsibilities with his duties at home as a new father. In the documentary, he consults with Gupta on patients and performs delicate brain surgery.

Grady’s Anatomy also takes a look at how this group of young doctors manages their training around recent restrictions on the number of consecutive hours medical residents are allowed to work. In 2003, new national guidelines limited the number to no more than 30 consecutive hours, and an average of no more than 80 hours per week. While some doctors say the restrictions prevent doctors from becoming overly tired and improve patient care, others believe these restrictions do not reflect real medical practice and do not allow enough flexibility for unpredictable, on-the-job learning opportunities.

“This may be one of the biggest changes that we’ve seen in medical education in the last few decades – limiting now the number of hours that we can actually train residents,” Gupta says in the documentary.

The executive producer for this program is Bud Bultman; the vice president and senior executive producer for CNN Productions is Mark Nelson.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is one of the world’s most respected and trusted sources for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; four Web sites, including, the first major news and information Web site; CNN Pipeline,’s premium live news video service; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and partnerships for four television networks and two Web sites.

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