Dr. Mike
Is there truth in TV? Dr. Mike breaks it down on his channel. (Illustration by Alexa Finkelstein, Pratt Institute)
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Dr. Mike
Is there truth in TV? Dr. Mike breaks it down on his channel. (Illustration by Alexa Finkelstein, Pratt Institute)

This YouTube doctor has answers to all of your medical questions.

It’s safe to say that no one has ever watched an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” and concluded that it was an accurate portrayal of an actual hospital, real doctors or valid medical practices, but any layperson would be surprised to find out just how inaccurate these medical dramas can get in order to keep the tension high. Dr. Mikhail Varshavski, more commonly known as “Dr. Mike,” seeks to correct these medical inaccuracies and give true information to those of us who don’t have a medical degree.

In his YouTube series “Doctor Reacts,” Dr. Mike watches episodes of medical dramas from the perspective of someone with the medical expertise and experience to know what really goes on in hospitals. He has reviewed several famous shows, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “House M.D.” and “The Good Doctor,” and, thus far, the series has gotten more than two million views; the more popular episodes have received up to 18 million views. And it’s not hard to see why.

In the first episode of the series, “Real Doctor Reacts to Grey’s Anatomy,” Dr. Mike reviews the show’s pilot episode, “A Hard Day’s Night,” and keeps a running commentary of his opinions and medical expertise as he watches. His shock and dismay at the doctors’ medical practices are just as, if not more, entertaining than the show itself. Not only does he point out what they’re doing wrong and just how unfounded some of their actions and assumptions are, he also tells the audience what he would do instead, as a real doctor with an actual medical license.

For example, when one of the medical interns has to draw blood from a patient with “junky veins,” she has to wake her superior up, rather comically, to start a “central line.” Dr. Mike is appalled by this and explains that this is way too extreme of a reaction, and adds that he would instead go to one of the nurses, who have much more experience with drawing blood from difficult veins.

Furthermore, Dr. Mike explains a few concepts that are familiar to anyone who’s been in a medical center. He tells the viewers what HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) is, in response to a scene in which some of the doctors discuss a patient in a crowded elevator. This scenario would never have happened in a real hospital, as Dr. Mike explains, because it’s a violation of the patient’s privacy, and by talking about confidential information in a public place, it could have cost the doctors millions of dollars.

But, according to Dr. Mike, not everything is inaccurate in these medical dramas. He laughs at the scene in the on-call room, which is where the doctors sleep during long shifts; apparently, the on-screen version of the on-call rooms is awfully similar to the on-call rooms in real hospitals. (That is, both versions are plain and uncomfortable and were furnished with practically no budget.)

Additionally, some of what the new doctors were feeling is also portrayed accurately. Dr. Mike identifies with how overwhelmed the new interns were, though he does admit that the on-screen feelings are dramatized for the sake of entertainment.

Don’t be afraid once you finish this series, however. “Doctor Reacts” is only part of Dr. Mike’s quest to debunk medical myths, and he has many, many videos that cover the medical issues and questions his viewers ask.


In his series “Responding to Comments,” he tackles some of the comments he gets on his channel, and these episodes cover a wide range of topics, from fascinating questions like “Should Doctors Have Tattoos?” to the ever-present question “How Much Coffee Is Too Much?” Sprinkled throughout these episodes are random medical tidbits, such as how radiation really works as a cancer treatment and how to treat clogged ears (chewing gum).

Dr. Mike has also collaborated with other YouTubers in a series called “Ask Doctor Mike,” in which, in some videos, guests ask the doctor various medical questions, and he gives his medical expertise. Other episodes show Dr. Mike asking random pedestrians on the street if they have any medical questions.

Not only do these episodes answer some questions and clear up any confusion that the viewers might have about medical issues, but they also allow people to ask questions they might not want to ask their own doctors. For example, people feel like they can ask embarrassing questions, such as this one about the various uses of coconut oil.

He also clears up random myths, like the one that you should wait 30 minutes after eating to go swimming; Dr. Mike clarifies that you can go swimming or exercise right after eating and nothing catastrophic will happen, but you might get an upset stomach.

And that’s not even close to everything Dr. Mike has done on his YouTube channel. In his series “Real Nutrition,” he experiments with the Keto diet, which involves giving up all carbs to make your body turn to fats for energy instead. And, true to the essence of his videos, he gives all the information he has and encourages viewers to make their own choices about their body and diet with their doctor.

While most people are probably not considering the Keto diet, he also gives useful information about green tea, healthy cooking, vitamins and food labels, which can often be misleading and sometimes even meaningless. So, while generally entertaining and randomly informative, sometimes Dr. Mike’s videos are applicable to everyday life, and they’ll definitely be useful during your next grocery store run.

Dr. Mike’s YouTube channel is full of engaging and enlightening videos that leave viewers feeling better informed, but he’s got some videos that are just for their entertainment value, such as his series “Doctor Reacts to Medical Memes,” which is just videos of Dr. Mike looking at doctor memes. But even in a video that seems to be as far from educational as possible, he still manages to give some advice or share what it’s really like to be a doctor, so if you’re looking for a laugh and some learning, go check out Dr. Mike’s channel.

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