No TV show is truly 100 percent fictional. Television writers borrow characters, rip plots from actual headlines, and use real locations to set fictional stories. And the popular hospitals of television are, more often than not, based on real hospitals that one would visit if they needed medical care. TV shows even go so far as to employ medical consultants to ensure that their show provides an accurate depiction of medical procedures, human illness, and even the day-to-day lives of doctors working in a hospital. So much work goes into creating realistic hospital environments on television, but what real hospitals inspired famous medical shows?
CBS' Code Black is a new medical drama that is inspired by a documentary about the Los Angeles County General Hospital, which in the television show becomes re-named Angels Memorial. While some shows pull direct inspiration from real locations, other shows may use the location of hospitals as a "jumping off point" to inspire their setting. This allows shows to worry more about the characters and stories, and worry less about making sure the layout of the hospital matches its real-life counterpart. Here are a few of the real-life counterparts to some of your favorite TV hospitals:
ER — Cook County Hospital
The legendary ER takes place in County General hospital, which was inspired by the Cook County Hospital of Chicago, Illinois. The head of emergency medicine at Cook County, however, was not pleased with the show, and according to the Chicago Tribune wanted to sue ER for slander (lawyers determined he did not have a case, and couldn't sue.) ER actually managed to outlive Cook County Hospital, as it was closed in 2002.
Getting On — Long Beach Memorial
The setting of this short-lived HBO series was inspired by the shows creators, Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer, who toured various Long Island hospitals. The show creators were inspired by the "mixed ethnicity, blue-collar, aspirational and full of the everyday realties" of not just the hospitals, but of the city as a whole.
Scrubs — Alpert Medical School At Brown University
The television show Scrubs was inspired by the education experience of Dr. Jonathan Doris, who would later have the main character of the show names after him. Doris was a resident in internal medicine at Brown's Alpert Medical School before becoming the medical advisor for the show.
The Knick — The Knickerbocker Hospital
The gory Cinemax series takes its inspiration, and even its name, from the legendary Knickerbocker Hospital in Harlem. Many of the events depicted in the show are based on the actual doctors in the hospital, including the medical procedures, the theatrical operating rooms, and the violent racism that could be found in the Knickerbocker.
Image: Cliff Lipson/CBS; Giphy