AS features in The Good Doctor
TV’s The Good Doctor, featured a storyline about a 21-year old with ankylosing spondylitis undergoing a life-altering operation. With an average viewership of 8.16 million, this American TV series will have raised awareness of AS with a new audience.
Here is a synopsis of the episode:
Dr. Glassman (Richard Schiff) introduces his medical team to a 21-year-old patient named Jeffrey Williams. He tells them how he fell in love with baseball when he was 5 years old and how he enjoyed playing the game. Glassman then shows them Jeffrey’s spine, which is severely deformed.
Glassman says the young man has a condition called ankylosing spondylitis, which is a type of arthritis that can cause joint damage. He says Jeffrey’s inflammation got so bad that the bones in his back began fusing together into one bone. Glassman must choose two doctors to be on his surgical team, so he goes with Dr. Alex Park (Will Yun Lee) and Dr. Asher Wolke (Noah Galvin).
The team is chosen, and Glassman is excited to get started on the surgery. However, Dr. Andrews (Hill Harper) thinks the surgery is too risky. He accuses Glassman of taking on a surgery no other surgeon will touch because he feels empty and he’s looking for something to fulfil him.
When Andrews tells Jeffrey about the surgery risks, he becomes afraid and decides he doesn’t want the procedure. Glassman comes to his room with discharge papers and tries to talk to him about his decision. He tells Jeffrey he doesn’t think he’s afraid the surgery won’t be a success. He thinks he’s really afraid the surgery will work. Jeffrey tells Glassman he doesn’t know how to live a normal life. He’s fearful of what life will be like once his spine is repaired.
“Say no to the surgery if that’s the right decision,” says Glassman. “But do yourself a favour. Don’t say no because you’re afraid to live your life.”1
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