As a teenager, I loved watching the television show Doogie Howser, M.D. One of the best parts of the show was at the very end when he would type out thoughts that he had on his computer on an electronic journal titled “The Personal Journal of Doogie Howser, M.D.” – I just discovered that the journals have been meticulously recreated online. There are so many profound lessons and simple lessons that can be learned from a television show about a teenage genius that became a doctor.


There was one episode in particular that sticks out in my mind. In the episode, Doogie is in a social situation and he drinks exactly one beer. Perhaps not even the entire beer. He suddenly gets paged and makes the decision that he is going to drive. Predictably, he gets pulled over, and as a result of this he is unable to help the patient in crisis.

From the time I watched this episode I promised I would never allow myself to drive after even having one drink. I realized that it was somewhat of an exageration that less than an entire beer would affect someone so much that they would be summarily pulled over and given a hard time by the police, but it was an important lesson nonetheless.

What lessons have you learned from television doctors? What about other practitioners of medicine on television?

10 Comments

  1. Hi Gordon!
    I used to watch Doogie Howser too during my schooldays! I remember that on the channel that it used to run, it was scheduled along with The Wonder Years and M*A*S*H and I used to watch them all!
    I don’t remember that particular episode but I do remember the way the thought of the episode was captured in that journal entry.
    Offhand, I can’t recall any particular lesson as such, but since then I’ve watched ER, St. Elsewhere, Chicago Hope, Scrubs and Grey’s Anatomy.

  2. This was a great lesson to share with us, Gordon!
    I was a big Doogie Howser fan, too. The shows were filled with love and smarts. I wish it had lasted many more seasons.

  3. David,
    Seems to be the way of things with shows written by or involving David E. Kelly. Doogie was one of his first shows and many people don’t realize that!

  4. That’s true, Gordon! MASH was probably the one I enjoyed the most. It was full of memorable characters and I think I still have that scribbling pad that I used to write down some of the wittier lines on and every episode would easily fill out a couple of sheets.

  5. Gordon, I think Alan Alda’s “Hawkeye” Pierce would have to be my favourite. He took to the role like he was born for it and he gave everything to the lines that were written for him.

  6. I am a confirmed member of the M*A*S*H generation – with Alan Alda as my hero.
    I watched/listened to Doogie Howser, Scrubs, courtesy of my children – there are always life lessons in each episode all delivered in a quirky manner.
    I am currently addicted to House