The New York Times Company
March 21, 2020 | 2:44 PM
Their doctors may be fake, but it turns out hospital procedurals like “Chicago Med,” “The Resident” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” are awash in authentic medical gear. With production halted, and a critical shortage of supplies in real-life hospitals, the TV industry has stepped in to donate what would otherwise be their props: Surgical masks, gloves and more, originally intended for actors, are now en route to actual health care personnel.
“We are doing it big time,” Carla Corwin, a producer on the NBC series “Chicago Med,” wrote in an email this afternoon. “Studio approved. We are donating all supplies to the Illinois Department of Public Health and they can distribute to the various hospitals as they see fit.” Corwin added that they are also including gear from their sister shows “Chicago P.D.” and highly sought-after N95 masks from “Chicago Fire.”
Chris Shader, the prop master on “Chicago Med,” and Dr. Andrew Dennis, a Chicago trauma surgeon who serves as a consultant on the show, helped organize the effort. A donation had already been made to an emergency room in Rockland, Illinois, that Corwin described as “without supplies.”
On Wednesday, “The Resident,” a Fox drama in its third season, dropped off two trunks full of masks, surgical gloves, booties, lab coats and isolation gowns, among other supplies, to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, a spokeswoman for the show said. The donation was coordinated by Dr. Roshan Sethi, a Harvard-trained radiation oncologist and co-creator of the series, which is filmed in Atlanta and set at a fictional hospital. Grady is the largest hospital in Georgia.
“To the entire team @theresidentonfox, thank you for this incredibly generous donation of #PPE from your set,” Dr. Karen Law, a rheumatologist and internist at Grady, posted on Instagram, using the shorthand for personal protective equipment. “Yesterday, I had a serious discussion with the residents about how, though supplies are low, a magical shipment of masks is unlikely to arrive. And yet, a magical shipment of masks DID arrive, in the form of this very generous gesture.”
Shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” had also made donations, or were planning them, production members said.
The entertainment industry, at a near standstill because of the coronavirus pandemic, joins others in the culture world who are using the unexpected tools of their trade to fill gaps in the health care system.
Conservation specialists at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam are donating the gloves and masks they use to protect artworks to health care workers, Artnet News reported, and more museums are expected to participate after one of the museum’s art historians tweeted about the effort. And in France, libraries, museums and archivists are also giving away their supplies, Le Figaro reported on Thursday, after a library in Strasbourg initiated the movement. And, a hospital in Versailles got some masks from its neighbor, the famous palace.
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