Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Movies Every Med Student Should See

I've come across many lists that have movie suggestions for medical students or even doctors, but most of the suggestions are kind of redundant and miss some of the best ones! So here's my list of top movies any would be doctor should see. Some are repeats from other lists, but some aren't on any list I've seen thus far.

1. Wit (2001)

Stars Emma Thompson as an English professor who has been diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer.    It's not so much because of the hospital death theme that I'm suggesting this movie but because it shows how many doctors treat their patients and how patients are able to muddle through it. Not to mention the acting is awesome and it's a great tear jerker. I can't get ten minutes into it without starting to sob hysterically. But, it's still a GREAT film. (You can find it on youtube)

2. Gross Anatomy (1989)

So many lists over look this great film centered on a group of first year medical students who are coming to terms with their selected career. Mostly this film centers on Joe Slovak who must discover that there's more to being a doctor than just memorizing facts.

3. Lorenzos Oil (1992)
A movie about a little boy named Lorenzo who is discovered to have a rare genetic disease called adrenoleukodystrophy and his parents fight to save him. Which ultimately leads to the first treatment for the disease. It's sad, but not as sad as some of the others....I'd say more heartbreaking and slightly uplifting in parts. If you don't want to punch the one doctor in the lecture hall scene, you're not human.

4. Doctor Diaries (2009)

It's a documentary, but it's still good. It follows the journey of a group of medical students who 'grow up' to become doctors. Yeah, they're from Harvard, but we won't let that demote the quality of the film. (and on youtube if you search hard enough).

5. Something the Lord Made (2004)

I think this one was originally made for TV, but wow it's amazing. Basically it's about two men (one of whom never graduated from medical school) who cross the racial divide to pioneer new forms of heart surgery.

6. And the Band Played On (1993)

Another film that was originally made for TV but is still among the best. It focuses on the CDC and their search for the cause of the HIV/AIDS virus. This one is on other lists as well and for good reason. It actually made me want to work for the CDC for a while, something that I think I'd still really like to do given the chance.

7. Awakenings (1990) and Patch Adams (1998)

I can't help but to put these together because sometimes at least to me they feel like similar films- it's probably because Robin Williams plays the lead in both of them. Either way, they're both on most lists and name one medical student who hasn't seen one or the other.

8. Article 99 (1992)

It's funny at moments but serious when it needs to be. It's also a great story about doing the best you can for your patients.

9. You don't Know Jack (2010)

I love it when the movie is based on real life events (as you can probably tell from most of this list). This one centers around the questionable topic of euthanasia in humans and one doctors fight to help his terminally ill patients who want nothing more than to rest in peace.

10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

This has a definite psychiatry theme, but Jack Nicholson is at his best and Nurse Ratchet still gives me the heebie jeebies after all these years.

11. First Do No Harm (1997)

It's not as good as some of the other films on this list, but it's still good. I haven't seen it in years, but it was memorable enough that I thought about it just now. Basically it's about a little boy who has epilepsy and his mothers fight to use the ketogenic diet to help treat him. (It's on youtube!)

12. Extraordinary Measures (2010)

Not one of my favorites, but still worth a watch. Stars Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraiser who are trying to find a cure for Pompe disease for one character's (played by Fraiser) kids.

13. Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (2009)

This one stars Cuba Gooding Junior as Dr. Ben Carson a gifted neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins who overcomes a ton of adversity to become a great doctor. In real life Dr. Carson is a pretty amazing person and this movie deserves way more attention than it gets. (This one is also on youtube).

14. Bad Medicine (1985)

I put this one at the end just because I feel like only certain people will really enjoy it. I personally think it's hilarious- but I go to school in Poland so what do I know? Steve Guttenburg stars as a young doctor in training who has gone to Mexico for medical school. It's a bit old, but there are still some things that are true in it, even if no one really wants to admit it.

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