Is there no end to medical shows? Can there possibly be enough patients with new and fascinating cases to go around? Do scriptwriters have to comb the medical journals for new and exciting illnesses? When I saw the CBC had started a medical show called ‘Transplant’ in 2020, my heart did not go pitter-patter.
Okay, I watched the first two episodes. Bashid Hamir (played by Hamza Haq), a surgeon who fled Syria with his young sister, is now transplanted to Toronto (if you’re from the western part of Kanadoodle, that’s strike one). Bashid is working in a restaurant when a truck driver decides that the interior of the place would make a great parking spot (it is Toronto, after all). With carnage and bodies everywhere, Bashid leaps into action to attend the victims of the crash. In particular is the head of surgery at the ‘best’ hospital in town (are any of these medical shows ever set in self-described mediocre or crappy hospitals?). Bashid decides that the surgeon will die if he doesn’t get immediate cranial relief. Knowing that every restaurant carries electric tools, Bashid opens the spice rack, withdraws a drill and proceeds to drill a hole in the skull… saving his life. TAH DAH! Was your heart not pounding at the possibility the drill bit might find nothing but air inside and go straight through to the other side?
The surgeon recovers and decides he just has to hire the kitchen aide marvel into his hospital. He arranges for Bashir to start on the wards right away with HR threatening to bounce him out if he can’t get original documents sent from Syria. At this point, the scriptwriters might have put the medical texts aside and had a look at the requirements for internationally trained doctors to practice in Kanadoodle (these would be found on the website of the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons). If any of these bozos had a look – or perhaps talked to any of those internationally trained health care providers trying to obtain certification here, the series might have had Bashir spending several years worth of episodes watching the licensing authorities throw endless obstacles at him in an effort to get him to give up doctoring and stay where he’s really needed – washing dishes in the restaurant. Yes, Kandadoodle can be a frustrating place for internationally trained doctors who usually have to take upgrading courses while working as janitors – hoping to make ends meet. That’s the reality – but when has reality ever been an obstacle in television?
If you are addicted to medical shows, this one will likely be a welcome addition to your week of sanguineous entertainment. Haq does a fine job in the title role, bouncing off the usual cast of curmudgeonly department heads, heartless HR types, young and earnest female attendants and the superior-sounding supervisors found in all of television’s ‘best’ hospitals. Throw in a skeptical police officer convinced Bashid is Syrian terrorists and stir well. Then see if you can get it to boil over.
TL:DR Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor? Forget it – none of these occupations stands a chance of getting an airing against the relentless tide of medical shows and detectives.