OK, so it's not much of a surprise: ABC, reality TV, a hospital show. But we'll be there.
Coming this month to ABC is a new series following the triumphs and tragedies of doctors and patients at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. "Houston Medical" will launch June 18 with the first of six one-hour episodes on ABC chronicling the day-to-day stories of survival not only at the bustling 724-bed hospital, but also in the personal lives of healthcare workers introduced in the series.
An "episodic drama," "Houston Medical" follows a cast of continuing real-life characters-doctors, nurses and patients-whose stories are woven from one episode to the next in a dramatic, rather than documentary, fashion, ABC officials said. Camera crews followed Memorial employees for more than a year and "captured the impact the hospital has on these characters' lives," ABC said in a written statement. "Real people, true stories and honest reactions are the focus of this revealing look at those who walk through the halls of an American hospital."
Cameras chronicle the sagas of 28-year-old Marnie Rose, M.D., who battles a rare form of brain cancer as she continues to push through her pediatric residency at Memorial Hermann; surgeon Mark Henry, who shares his desire to start a family with his wife, Maribel, as the two hope for a miracle baby; and neonatologist Terri Major-Kincade, who confronts her concerns about being a good mother while fighting for a premature baby's life at the hospital.
"Houston Medical" follows ABC's popular fall 2000 miniseries "Hopkins 24/7," filmed at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, which documented the culture of academic medicine in America.
Donating DNA, sort of
Those infamous DNA strands that took center stage at the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial are on their way to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington-or at least an analysis of them is.
Officials at Orchid BioSciences, a Princeton, N.J., laboratory, say its Orchid Cellmark business unit is donating materials related to the DNA evidence to the National Anthropological Archives of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington. And the Smithsonian has accepted the gift, says Tracy Henrikson, an Orchid spokeswoman.
In announcing the donation, Orchid officials say the murder trial was "a watershed event for the use of DNA evidence in the criminal justice system." The prosecution hired an Orchid predecessor company, Cellmark Diagnostics, to analyze DNA evidence for the Simpson trial. Along with the California Department of Justice DNA Laboratory, Cellmark analyzed more than 100 items of bloodstained evidence, presenting the findings to juries in both the criminal and civil trials of Simpson.
Although it doesn't have the actual bloody glove and other materials, Orchid will be sending materials such as the correspondence between Cellmark Diagnostics and the prosecution, raw data from the DNA analyzed by Cellmark and film of the evidence. What makes the DNA analysis noteworthy is that it represented the first time DNA analysis took center stage in the public's mind, Orchid officials say.
Riding for kids
Alfred Gunthor is going to great lengths-about 8,000 miles on a bicycle, to be more specific-to raise money for sick children.
The German cycling enthusiast is in the midst of a five-month trip to raise money for 54-bed St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn., its five affiliated hospitals and four affiliated clinics. He plans to visit all of the hospitals and clinics on his trip, beginning with St. Jude Midwest Affiliate, which is housed within 536-bed OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria, Ill. Gunthor says he chose to start there because Peoria is a sister city to his hometown, Friedrichshafen. He's also visited the affiliate at 470-bed Johnson City (Tenn.) Medical Center, where he took a ride in the hospital's medical-evacuation helicopter.
He chose to start on April 11 with the idea of making it back to Peoria on Sept. 11. Raising money for the relief funds associated with the terrorist attacks was his initial inspiration, until he heard about the overwhelming response to those funds. He says he shifted to St. Jude because of its policy of not charging patients for care and its focus on research.
Gunthor, 42, got hooked on long-distance cycling in 1983. He says he was having trouble dealing with the death of his mother and hitting the road on a bicycle helped him accept her death. Working on heavy construction projects far from home, he didn't manage another long trip until 2000, when he took a factory job closer to Friedrichshafen. That year, he pedaled about 3,400 miles from Germany to northern Scotland. The next summer, he cycled a similar distance, reaching the northern tip of Norway to raise the equivalent of $4,000 for a spina bifida research group.
Gunthor has set the bar much higher for his latest trip. "My goal is to save the life of one American child," he said in a telephone interview last week from another St. Jude's affiliate, 671-bed Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge, La. "I want to raise $1 million."