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Thoughts on Red Band Society

Have you heard of the new show called Red Band Society on Fox? Let me give you the run down. It features several kids who "live" in the hospital, including two cancer kids, a kid with cystic fibrosis, one girl with a heart problem, one girl with anorexia, and a boy in a coma.   I wanted to give this show a fair chance. I mean, any press regarding sick kids should be a good thing, right? Maybe a show focusing on children with illnesses could help our society be kind to people dealing with illnesses and treat them with compassion. Maybe people would stop walking on eggshells around kids with diseases. Who knows, maybe something good could come from it. However, after watching the show for several weeks, I have come away fairly disappointed in its execution for several reasons. 

1. The boy with cystic fibrosis is a very poor representation of CF patients. He is supposedly in the hospital for a tune up, but you never see him receiving IV antibiotics, doing breathing treatments, sleeping from pure exhaustion, doing PFTs, throwing up or feeling nauseous from the IVs, or coughing like a 60 year old chain smoker. He's supposed to be on the transplant list for new lungs, yet he seems to have no trouble moving or breathing, and he's not receiving any sort of oxygen. On top of that, he smokes weed and does a poor job of taking care of his body, a huge no-no in the CF world and an even bigger problem if on the transplant list. 

2. The hospital looks like a four star hotel. The rooms in the hotel--I mean, hospital--are HUGE. When I'm in the hospital, I barely have enough room for a bed, a chair, an IV pole, and the required bike and mini refrigerator given to CF patients. The rooms in the show's hospital are spacious and nicely decorated, tailored to the kids' specific tastes. Nothing looks like the sterility of every hospital I've ever been in. 

3. The kids in the hospital are able to do whatever they want. They are able to escape the confinement of the hospital, no questions asked. Or, they can sneak off without causing a commotion. They have very few rules and are very much so in control of their surroundings. In reality, when you're in the hospital, you're being checked on constantly. Someone is always coming in to run a test or take your vital signs or make you do something you don't want to do. You don't have the freedom to roam or to run away from hospital life.

4. All the kids featured on the show are friends and seem to like being in the hospital. Let me tell you, I have never made a friend in the hospital. For one, I'm not allowed to have contact with any of the other patients. As well, everyone in the hospital is SICK. We don't want to make small talk with other patients or hang out in the "hotspots" (which don't exist). No one enjoys being in the hospital, and most people who are in the hospital don't feel well. The goal of being in the hospital is to get better and get out as fast as possible. 

I had high expectations for Red Band Society because I know what it's like to be in the hospital, and I felt like the show had great potential to bring awareness to the hardships of living with different illnesses. Unfortunately, it has fallen flat in my books. If you are watching the show, get involved in the lives of the characters like you would for any other show, but take the overall portrayal of the hospital with a grain of salt. Trust me, being in the hospital is significantly different than it may seem.


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