Real-life ER drama at The Queen's Emergency Room - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Real-life ER drama at The Queen's Emergency Room

Dr. Daniel Smith Dr. Daniel Smith
Rey Escava Rey Escava
Sarah Mellinger, R.N. Sarah Mellinger, R.N.
Dr. Howard Klemmer Dr. Howard Klemmer

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

PUNCHBOWL (KHNL) - Thursday night, NBC's hit hospital drama, 'ER' will pull the plug with a two-hour series finale.

How realistic is the show? KHNL went to Hawaii's only trauma center to find out, and got the behind-the-scenes action at The Queen's Emergency Room.

'ER' has given audiences 15 heart-pumping seasons of prime time medical drama.

Much of 'ER's' success lies in using experts to keep the show as true to medicine as possible. But just how much is real? And how much is Hollywood?

KHNL went to The Queen's Emergency Room early Thursday morning to find out.

It's 6:07 a.m. The overnight staffers say it's usually slow around this time. But on this particular morning, doctors and nurses fight to save the life of a man taken in, critically injured.

But they lose that fight, a sad reality of working in an ER.

"We have about 10 deaths a month in the department," said Dr. Daniel Smith, Chief of The Queen's Emergency Department.

Working since 10:00 p.m. the night before, Dr. Smith has seen about 25 patients so far. He says 'ER's' medical scenes and jargon are pretty accurate, at least most of the time.

"I cringe when they mispronounce things or they hang an x-ray up backwards, things like that," said Dr. Smith.

It may not be chaotic right now, but The Queen's ER can handle up to 45 patients at a time so the intensity level can be just as high as on the show.

"To me it's pretty accurate - the personalities, the doctors the patients, they got it down pat," said ER Charge Nurse, Rey Escava.

Escava says even the drama is pretty accurate.

"It happens here too. The co-workers, the patients, everything you see on 'ER' the TV show, happens here," he said.

"It gets pretty crazy, since we're the only trauma center we get everything," said Sarah Mellinger, R.N.

To keep their energy from flatlining, staff depend on drinks like monster, red bull and coffee.

"It's a high caffeine place," said Dr. Howard Klemmer.

"What do you run on?"

"Red Bull, Redline, any energy drink that will keep me going, 5 hour energy is perfect," said Escava.

When running on low, the ER staff has a sleep room.

"We have a computer, a telephone and a bathroom and a shower and a TV," said Dr. Smith.

And while doctors are sleep-deprived in TV land, in real life?

"We get a lot of good sleep. We work nine hour shifts," said Dr. Klemmer.

Despite minor discrepancies, the real-life cast at The Queen's ER says, when it comes to life and death, the Emmy-award-winning show leaves viewers with a glimpse of heroes at work, on and off the screen.

The Queen's Emergency Room takes in about 130 trauma patients a day.

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