A new episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” was on tonight, and they decided to ‘show’ electroconvulsive therapy going on at a psychiatric hospital. (Here’s a recap).
And they’ve got it totally wrong.
The scene takes place in a psychiatric hospital where the police psychiatrist goes to interview a staff psychiatrist about a person of interest. The ECT happens to be taking place right by where they are conversing (looks like an open hallway). They just show the patient’s body seize up for several seconds. In current practice, we’re given muscle relaxants so that shouldn’t happen. Also, the patient made some loud noise during the seizure. Now, I do know that doesn’t happen because I have been next to ECTs going on close to me, and I’ve never heard people making any sounds.
I know the TV people need to make scenes look ‘active,’ but would they exaggerate any other medical procedure? It looked like it hurt, and if I had seen that before my ECTs, I would’ve been reluctant to have decided to have the procecedure. It was creepy to watch that happen.
People may not notice this very minute portion, but I think “Law and Order: SVU” did a huge disservice to a treatment that already conjures up inaccurate images.