A.J. Heightman
Editor-in-Chief, JEMS & Firefighter Nation

The new series Trauma premiering Monday night is being billed by NBC as "the first high-octane medical drama series to live exclusively in the field." The show's Website says it's "like an adrenaline shot to the heart, an intense, action-packed look at one of the most dangerous medical professions in the world: first responder paramedics." Unfortunately having had the opportunity to view the pilot in advance of its September 28 premiere, I think the series is ripe for "Do Not Resuscitate Orders".

When It's On: The series premiere of 'Trauma' is Monday, September 28th a 9p (8 Central). In the pilot, San Francisco's team of first responders deal with a tragedy involving their own.

CONNECT: During and after the show's premiere Monday night, login to this post on Firefighter Nation and add your comments, thoughts and own review of 'Trauma'

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Also on JEMS.com & FFN


I realize that, having been raised watching the epic Emergency! TV series, I have a bias for shows that portray emergency personnel as professional in appearance and attitude, disciplined and ethical and compassionate to their patients.

I also realize that it's 2009 and writers and producers like to inject sex into every episode, and have characters with cocky, rebellious 90210ish cast members who bring a host of personal problems to work, but this series bubbles over with a cast that should be stationed on Wisteria Lane, not the streets of San Francisco.

The premiere of Trauma doesn't begin with a well-dressed crew checking their drugs and equipment before their first run. It starts with the sights and sounds of the boyfriend/girlfriend crew having sex in the patient compartment of their rig.

Then, before you can get the words "I can't believe it" out of your lips, you hear the dispatcher (who obviously knows the way the crew starts their shift), tell "Naughty Nancy" Carnahan to button her blouse and respond to an emergency call.

You're next brought to the rooftop resuscitation of an electrocuted patient who gets a helicopter response in the middle of the city. It's here you're introduced to the wacko of the show, helicopter paramedic Reuben "Rabbit" Palchuk, a raucous dude with an attitude as big as his helicopter. The show's promotional hype says Reuben "oozes bravado to match his talent, but there's a hint of vulnerability in there too... which charms the panties off all the girls. They don't call him "Rabbit" for nothing."

Hold on, it gets worse.

Turns out, "Rabbit" is also a sexist who personally selects the male member of the sex crew to accompany the patient because he doesn't want a female medic in "his" helicopter.

Don't be mad, be sad, because, when the chopper lifts off the roof, instead of departing and gaining altitude like every well-trained aeromedical pilot in the nation does, the pilot of "Angel Rescue 2" swoops down between the skyscrapers and collides with a sightseeing helicopter that's also flying between the buildings. Everybody on board the choppers dies except for (you guessed it) "Rabbit".

Reuben the rebel lives to fly another day.

The show flashes forward a year and "Rabbit" returns to work cockier than ever and equipped with a new, post-traumatic "I can't die" attitude. He takes his new, young, petite, ex-Iraq war chopper pilot on a high-speed, reckless ride down the hills of San Francisco, telling her it's like the scene in Steve McQueen's movie "Bullitt".

"Bullitt"? "Bullitt" was released 1968, 41 years ago. Even I don't remember Bullitt!

If Rabbit's law-breaking ride doesn't ruin our image enough, he proceeds to rip the door off a drunk's car as the man attempts to get in his parked car. Then he cons the inebriant into believing the incident was his fault. Don't fret though, because Reuben, ever the gentleman, strolls into the nearby bar to retrieve a pitcher full of ice for the man to put his amputated fingers in.

Just when you think this show can't get any worse, you're taken to a corny multi-vehicle car-versus-gasoline truck MCI (caused by a text-messaging jerk), and forced to watch some of the most unethical EMS behavior you'll ever see.

First, "Rabbit" lands in his chopper and waltzes up the highway and hears the text-messaging patient whining that "he wants to go in the helicopter". Without skipping a beat, Reuben injects him with Versed and walks away.

Then, stoic Cameron Boone, a black paramedic who carries emotional baggage (and a strained marriage) after witnessing his friends die in the aeromedical crash, encounters a pretty blonde patient with a minor arm injury and "re-triages" her so she can get a ride in the helicopter with him.

While "Rabbit" gets set to ride shotgun and leave Cameron alone in the back of the chopper with the target of his affection, his rookie helicopter pilot, Marisa Benez, welcomes him to "Booty Airlines".

There is a happy ending to this magical series premier though. Despite detesting "Rabbit" for his bad attitude and for surviving the crash that killed her boyfriend, she closes out the show by hopping in bed with him.

Johnny and Roy, please don't watch this show. Stop by my house and we'll do shots of Ipecac instead.

A.J. Heightman is Editor-in-Chief of JEMS

Watch the Full Size Trailer

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STOP IT

I'm getting visuals I don't want.
LOL these shows/movies are never accurate once Hollywood gets a hold of them, but the drama was interesting enough. I'll probably keep watching for as long as it lasts...
Enough already with the after action reports of the first episode.... Although we all think we are Johny and Roy, the general public (who the shows producer) is actually targeting... doesn't care about correct methods of rapid extrication, use of head blocks, pressure dressings, or the concern about "boning" the medic. They dont care if it is correct even though we as providers see it as "wrong", "improper" or "inadequate".

The sexy, the flashy, the heroic crap in which they are portraying sells ratings...

But hey "Naughty" is pretty damn hot! : )
But, but wait FETC...

Crime lab work has to be just as depicted in CSI right?
or
police work is just like how it is in Law and Order, Dark Blue, etc...right?
or
Firefighters are just as depicted as in Rescue Me...right?

Please don't tell me in all this movie stuff, accuracy isn't the biggest concern. Don't shatter my faith this way, oh please don't.
THAT AINT NO KIDDN I WOULD LOVE TO BE THE ONE TO SHOW HER HOW TO DO PROPER CPR
cancel that last statement i would love to teach all them how to do proper cpr and use her as the test dummy
i agree with everything you said that show was so fake it was hard to watch! they counldnt make a worse medical show if they tried! next time how about trying to make something worth watching bring back Emergency!
You forgot to mention that every female paramedic has her shirt unbuttoned to reveal cleavage and leave not much to the imagination. As a female paramedic, I'm embarrassed for these actresses who are trying to portray "real" paramedic; they have sadly fallen short in their efforts.
I agree it may excite them to join but what happens when they realize its not all Trauma!? We will wind up with the same problems we are dealing with now... plenty of people but no one wanting to respond. Or worse.... they will decide to act like the idiots portrayed and end up killing thier patient, their partner, or even themselves.
ya that would be a bad thing but im sure that they would realize it before they accually got into the field
Nice, try NBC. Lets cross Rescue Me with Code Red and add a little Emergency. What do you get? Cancelled.... Well, that's an hour of my life I will not get back. Bring back Squad 51, it's better TV.
ya but we all know there not going to do that

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