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Arts & Culture

The Doctor Who Helps Hollywood Make Sense Of Medicine

A surgery portrayed on a television episode
Gottfried (left) wrote himself into the script to play a surgeon on one episode of ''Chicago Med''

Television medical dramas have been a staple in Hollywood for decades. But just how accurate are those surgery scenes on NBC’s “Chicago Med?” Could Holmes and Watson really solve a crime using the science portrayed in the CBS series “Elementary?” It is Dr. Oren Gottfried’s job to ensure that medical facts align with the fiction of Hollywood. 

Since 2013, Gottfried has served as a medical consultant and advisor to some of America’s favorite shows. Some would say Gottfried has had showbiz in his blood since childhood. He took up the violin and began acting in community theatre productions at age 5, but his career path took him in a completely different direction. Gottfried is a professor of neurosurgery at Duke University School of Medicine, a neurosurgeon and spine surgeon.

Picture of Gottfried in scrubs
Credit Courtesy of Oren Gottfried
Courtesy of Oren Gottfried
Gottfried specializes in surgical management of cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral spinal diseases.

He does 200-300 surgeries a year and has done extensive research on how to improve patient outcomes after neurosurgery or spine surgery. His life took an interesting turn after a cold call from a former Duke graduate. The writer left a message looking for medical advice for a television pilot he was writing. Gottfried forged a relationship that has turned into an interesting hobby.

Gottfried joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his work on and off TV. His current television shows include NBC’s “Chicago Med,” which airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and ABC’s “The Good Doctor,” which airs Mondays at 10 p.m.

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