David Foster & the Medical Advisors
"David Foster, a House staff writer and medical consultant, says NBC's ER raised the bar. 'It has created an atmosphere where audiences demand a certain amount of realism from their medical shows.'
"On House, the accuracy presents a particular challenge because the show is built around a doctor who is so brilliant only the most difficult cases are sent to him. Four medical advisers are listed in the credits.
"'The cases 'are the spine of these episodes,' Shore says. 'Usually we come up with the disease first and work the episode around it. We try to look for ways to hide what it is. You can have the weirdest disease in the world, but if you can stick the guy in an MRI and find the answer, you won't have an episode....'
"Harley Liker, an internist on the faculty of David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is a consultant for the show. His job is to help guide the writing staff through the medical mystery each week. He says case studies in the New England Journal of Medicine are mined for ideas. Foster says the Web and media provide cases for episodes.
"Liker works to make the scenes realistic. 'I want any doctor, even a specialist in any area ‹ to be able to watch the show and say, 'Wow, yeah, that could happen,'' he says.
"...'There's a reason we're telling the medical stories,' Shore says. 'You want that emotion. You want that interesting and touching payoff.'" — The above is from USA Today (4/17/2005)
- : "A doctor/writer in the 'House' — Internist uses experience to help create Emmy-winning show (By Katrina Woznicki MedPage Today Staff Writer, Tuesday, September 27, 2005):
- "...[David] Foster wangled a job as writer and medical consultant for the hit Fox network TV show "House" by impressing the show's producers with his Harvard Medical School education and his work in the trenches at Beth Israel Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health....
"'In television, we're writing stories about people and people's lives and the decisions they make,' Foster said.
"And the imperfect House -- a brilliant but troubled diagnostician -- is an ideal character through which to channel these stories. 'He's certainly a character who's dramatically very, very rich,' Foster said. Doctors can identify with House because 'physicians often feel pulled in a hundred different ways....'
"Foster was lured into entertainment by his old Harvard medical school crony, Dr. Neal Baer, who is executive producer of the NBC show 'Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.' Baer, who was involved in the entertainment industry before medical school, became a writer for 'ER' in his final year of school.
Foster's contacts with his friend led to an early job as a consultant for a pilot called 'Outreach,' on the WB Network. At about the same time, he also worked as an expert consultant for a Hallmark Hall of Fame made-for-TV-movie 'Only Love.'
"Since then, Foster has written for or served as a medical consultant for 'Gideon's Crossing,' 'Law and Order: SVU,' and the WB children's show 'Ozzie and Drix....'
"Foster began writing for 'House' part time when the show debuted last year. At the time, he was working full time at a neighborhood community health center in Boston treating patients who struggled with addiction, homelessness, HIV, and hepatitis. He decided to reduce his hours in Boston so that he could commute to Los Angeles and juggle TV writing and medicine.
"...his job is to help a team of about a dozen writers, many without medical backgrounds, create still another medical puzzle for House to solve.
"Writing and medicine are both passions he enjoys and they fuel one another, he said. 'I hope I will never have to choose exactly one or the other.'"
We learned about this article from a post
by Namaste on the Television Without Pity's House Forum
- North Jersey Media Group: Real Doctor settles into 'House' by Ellen Gray, Knight Ridder Newspapers, February 10, 2006
- "A year ago, Dr. David Foster was working in two very different worlds: treating patients at an inner-city clinic in Boston, then periodically flying across the country to help plot the medical mysteries that arise each week on Fox's 'House.'
"His commute came to an end last March, after 'House' creator David Shore added the Harvard Medical School graduate to the show's writing staff and Foster, who'd worked as a technical consultant in television for the past 10 years, decided it was time to jump into show business with both feet....
"'The story of House's leg, the infarction' that left him with a limp and constant pain, Foster said, 'is adapted from a story' that first appeared in the New York Times Magazine's 'Diagnosis' column, which deals with dilemmas faced by real-life doctors.
"'Lisa Sanders, who writes those columns, is one of the consultants on our show,' he said. 'I think that some pieces' of those columns have been incorporated into other story lines....
"'...We won't ever run out of medical mysteries 'cause there's so many interesting diseases and ways that diseases can present,' he said.
"'The harder thing is ... ways that patients can almost die three times an hour.'"
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