Suzanne Gordon

Suzanne Gordon is a journalist and co-editor of a Cornell University Press series on health-care work and policy issues. Her latest book is The Battle for Veterans' Healthcare: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Policy Making and Patient Care. She has won a Special Recognition Award from Disabled American Veterans for her writing on veterans' health issues, much of which has appeared in The American Prospect. Her website is

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Doc Hollywood

P hysicians have always had a symbiotic relationship with Hollywood. From Lew Ayres in the 1930s Dr. Kildare films to Andre Braugher in Gideon's Crossing and Melina Kanakaredes in Providence, movie studios and TV networks have enlisted the support of individual doctors and their organizations to provide story ideas, expert advice, and, more recently, high-tech medical equipment and snappy jargon. As Joseph Turow documented in his book Playing Doctor: Television, Storytelling and Medical Power, medicine has exacted a high price for its cooperation and seal of approval. Directors, producers, and screenwriters once were expected to portray doctors and their treatments in the best possible light, reinforce their conservative values, and support the kind of public policy and scientific agendas doctors favor. (For example, Hollywood mirrored organized medicine's opposition to so-called socialized medicine and downplayed the limitations or failures of expensive high-tech and experimental...