CPR scene on ‘Kambal Karibal’ reminds us that TV realism matters

May 4, 2018 - 12:54 PM
A scene in TV series 'Kambal Karibal' shows a hospital assistant conducting a supposed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

Another clip from a popular TV show made the rounds on social media this time from an episode of the Kapuso teleserye “Kambal, Karibal.” Filipinos spotted a minor character of a hospital staffer conducting what could be among the least realistic CPRs in television history.

The scene was in the April 30 episode of the series showing a nurse trying to revive Geraldine, played by Carmina Villarroel, who is in critical condition after figuring in a car accident with Allan, played by politician-actor Alfred Vargas.

People on social media criticized a few seconds of the scene mostly because of the poor CPR skills the nurse character exhibits.

Others defended the show, pointing out that Villaroel would be hurt if the actress playing a nurse did a more realistic procedure.

One Facebook page that poked fun at the CPR scene, Chronicles of M.D., posted another video from a Korean medical drama that featured a more proper CPR portrayal.

Amid the negative feedback, social media users discussed the proper way of reviving a patient and how realistic should TV shows should be.

“Kambal Karibal” is a horror-drama series from GMA that directly rivals ABS-CBN’s “Bagani,” which has its own share of controversies, on the same time slot.

What is CPR?

In an article by the Mayo Clinic, the CPR is basically a “lifesaving” first aid technique used in many emergency situations “including a heart attack or near drowning, in which someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped.”

The article cited a guideline from the American Heart Association stating that “trained” people note the memory cues C-A-B, which stands for compression, airway, and breathing, when resuscitating a patient.

“If you’re not trained in CPR, then provide hands-only CPR. That means uninterrupted chest compression of 100 to 120 a minute until paramedics arrive,” the article explained.

How realistic should TV shows be?

According to the Scholastic, realism is a movement or practice that began in the early 1800s that “refers to the attempt to represent familiar and everyday people and situations in an accurate, unidealized manner.”

Every fictional work needs “a degree of realism” so that the audience can “recognize and identify with the characters and the world they inhabit,” the book publisher argued.

Similar to locally produced hospital scenes, medical dramas in the United States struggle to present some degree of realism.

“Codes are not what Hollywood would have you believe,” said an article from the Huffington Post.

The author, doctor Kristine Suggs, cited a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2013 that showed patients have a less than 15-percent chance of survival through resuscitation, in contrast to the 75 percent portrayed in Hollywood films.

IRL, patients have a less than 15-percent chance of survival through resuscitation, in contrast to the 75 percent portrayed in Hollywood films.

“When patients and families have unrealistic expectations about what their doctors can accomplish, many people die in a way they never planned for or wanted,” Suggs explained.