Captain America was almost right…

Come on Captain America!  You were so close. The surgical defibrillation scene in Winter Soldier almost got the details correct. (Spoilers below)

During one of the scenes, Fury is shot by the Winter Soldier. He is taken to surgery where the surgeon uses a defibrillator to shock his heart back into rhythm. Watch below.


A couple of good things followed: 

1) The actor gave a realistic reaction on the table when the paddles shocked him and his reaction was complementary to a real-life scenario. He didn't bounce like a basketball on the table or wildly convulse when the shock was applied. His reaction was realistic.

2) A rhythm was present on the monitor. Many scenes and TV shows display a flatline before they drag out the paddles. By then, a defibrillation to the heart muscle is too late, because there is no rhythm to shock when a patient flatlines. Manual CPR must be activated when a patient flatlines. So kudos for providing a rhythm for the patient.

Now the inaccurate news:

Where the issues arise, is with the rhythm displayed on the monitor screen. This heart waveform is normal. Why would the patient need defibrillation with this heart rate? Sure the number is a little low but look at the waveform on top. A beautiful, normal cardiac rhythm. For comparison, I've added another normal to the right of the movie's image. They are almost identical.

For clarification, review the two abnormal heart rhythms below. Notice the differences with Fury's heart rhythm. These waveforms represent the heart in ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation.

Now, these abnormal rhythms are shockable, but you can look at the images above and decide if Fury really needed the defibrillator.

What movies have you witnessed healthcare related inaccuracies? Let me know by connecting with me through the sidebar links on this blog!