Is St. Matthews A Real Hospital? 'Heartbeat' Has Many Facilities To Draw Inspiration From
NBC's new medical TV drama series Heartbeat premieres on Tuesday night and it promises to take viewers into the world of female cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Alex Panttiere (played by Melissa George). The character is based on real-life surgeon Dr. Kathy Magliato. So, if the doctor is inspired by a real person, is the Heartbeat hospital real? Not exactly. In a NBC sneak preview clip, Alex says the name of the hospital is St. Matthews several times, but there doesn't seem to be a real St. Matthews hospital anywhere in America.
Interestingly, a variation of that, St. Matthew's, was a fictional Los Angeles hospital in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and a fictional New York hospital in Law & Order. St. Matthews was also the fictional hospital in San Francisco in the movie Just Like Heaven. Perhaps it's just the go-to fictional hospital name?
But, that doesn't mean the fictional hospital hasn't had some inspiration from reality. Magliato, who also serves as the series' co-executive producer, has worked at plenty of hospitals over the course of her career. According to her official bio, Magliato is one of the few female cardiothoracic surgeons in the world and is currently the Director of Women’s Cardiac Services at St. John’s Medical Center in the Los Angeles area. Throughout her long career, the surgeon has worked and studied in hospitals all over the country, including Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and more.
Here are some of the hospitals Magliato has worked in, according to her resume, and they could've possibly inspired St. Matthews in Heartbeat.
Providence St. John's Medical Center In Santa Monica
This is the current hospital Magliato works at, so why not? It would be fresh in her mind, after all. The Santa Monica medical center has been operating (ahem) since 1942 and is "rooted in Catholic tradition" according to its website. That sounds kind of like it could be St. Matthews, doesn't it?
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center In Los Angeles
Prior to joining St. John's, Magliato was a heart/lung transplant surgeon and Director of the Mechanical Assist Device Program at one of the largest academic medical centers in the country. The sprawling hospital campus is located mere blocks from Beverly Hills and the hospital, in real life, employs 2,100 physicians, and 2,800 nurses, according to the hospital website.
Akron General Medical Center In Ohio
After medical school at Case Western Reserve University, Magliato did an internship and her residency in general surgery here. According to its website, the Ohio hospital is a century old and employs more 7,000 healthcare professionals.
University of Michigan Medical Center In Ann Arbor
Magliato did a research fellowship in thoracic organ transplantation after graduating for medical school. Its website boasts the fact that it is one of the best hospitals in the nation and it's been named the best in the Detroit area.
Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago
Magliato completed a cardiothoracic surgery residency here. According to the Chicago hospital website, the medical center's thoracic and cardiovascular surgery residency program uses "cutting edge technologies" in the field.
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania
Magliato studied heart transplantation, lung transplantation, and ventricular assist devices as part of fellowships at this hospital. Those are just a few of the 175 specialties available for study through fellowships at the Pittsburgh hospital, according to its website. There's a lot of learning to be done at this medical center.
Or, perhaps St. Matthews is based on another facility entirely. We'll just have to see when the show debuts on Tuesday.
Image: Colleen Hayes/NBC