Dr. Tom Arno will tell you without reservation that Marcus Welby is an inaccurate portrayal of the American physician’s demeanor—grossly inaccurate.
Understandably, in the sixties, we wanted to think doctors were calm and self-assured, but Welby never showed himself emotionally. He was milquetoast-toast, a shoe salesman wearing a white coat. Ben Casey was considerably more believable if only because Vince Edwards, who played the title role, was intense and brooding, lending him an air of professional pique and borderline arrogance.
Truth be told, ole Ben’s character is pretty close to the real thing with internship and residency when competition fierce and everyone’s jockeying for position with the higher-ups. Come to think of it, maybe Ben was cranky from fatigue, an occupational hazard, especially during training years.
That is the truth, and I know because I lived through it. The American people need to be informed about the reality of medical school and beyond and how doctors are affected spiritually and physically, personally, and professionally. No one sails through it unscathed; no one is immune.