Friday, March 1, 2013

IP&CB in the M - Fancy pants Downton Edition!

This time in Infertility, Pregnancy and Childbirth in the Media - thought you had enough "watching traumatic child birth scenes while taking high doses of fertility medications to last you several life times"? Well just wait - Downton Abbey is about to get all period drama on your period drama (oh wow, that was bad... I regret nothing)

Spoilers Ahoy!

Medical Incompetency - Everyone's Favorite Deus Ex Machina!

Hi! I'm a Sphygomomanometer from 1920!
The second everyone's beloved and knocked up Lady Sybil began to complain of headaches and swollen ankles, I began to scream violently at the television for someone to get a blood pressure. (It went something along the lines of "SOMEONE TAKE A FUCKING BLOOD PRESSURE! fuckyouSirQuackDoctorPhilipTapsell!!!"

Eclampisa (fancy doctor talk for seizures during or after pregnancy), and preeclampsia, (the state before eclampsia characterized by high blood pressures, head aches, swollen ankles) still affects thousands of women today. A little research however shows that in the 1920's Sybil's doctors should have done *something*

 "In 1897, Vaquez and Nobecourt were credited with the discovery of eclamptic hypertension. As a result of these contributions, the concept of the preeclamptic state was recognized. Physicians were now aware that the presence of edema, proteinuria, and headaches should raise concern about the possibility of convulsions." (A Historical Overview of Preeclampsia-Eclampsia)
I understand that the writers of Downton had to make a decision about how medically accurate they could be while still preserving the "conflict between two doctors" plot point but I'm starting to get a real sore spot from all this, "lets terrify women as much as possible about their lady parts" misinformation business.

Just because you don't understand the uterus, doesn't mean you should fear the uterus.

Matthew and Mary Jump Clumsily onto the Infertility Bandwagon

"I should start by saying that I can't 
personally help you conceive. 
Something happened to me 
while scuba diving."
In the same episode as Lady Sybil's death, Matthew's concerns about his sperm quality are quickly dismissed by the aforementioned SirQuackDoctorPhillipTapsell, who even goes so far as to caution against worrying about it. A history of spinal trauma and paralysis doesn't cause infertility kids, worrying about infertility does!

Matthew and Mary are also a beautiful exampled of how *not* to communicate with your partner about fertility concerns.  I cannot even begin to think about how much more complicated this whole business would be if my husband was sneaking around having secret semen analyses.

Then Mary slips away to London to have mystery surgery (presumably the uterus reinsertion that Robin from HIMYM couldn't get) that repairs everything! Hooray!

And then Matthew winds up underneath a wagon.

Finally! A birth on television that goes smoothly and everyone is happy an...

Downton's one in, one out policy seems a little harsh...

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