How a Wisconsin physician began moonlighting as a medical adviser for Hollywood

While completing his residency at a Seattle hospital, Jonathan Kohler, MD, a pediatric surgeon at Madison, Wis.-based UW Health, was struck by how different his daily life was compared to the lives of physicians pictured in films and television shows like "Grey's Anatomy," which had just premiered on TV.

The show, like many others, according to Dr. Kohler, was at times unrealistic in its portrayal of the medical profession. To make Hollywood depictions of medicine more accurate, Dr. Kohler started RxCreative, a company that allows physicians and medical professionals to incorporate medically accurate details into their projects.

"I came to think of RxCreative as a bridge to the entertainment world, to help [filmmakers] be more accurate in their depiction of medicine," he told the Wisconsin State Journal. "It's extremely fun from a creative standpoint to be involved with television and film. It's a very different world than medicine."

Since forming RxCreative in 2005, Dr. Kohler has served as a medical adviser for a variety of TV shows and films, including "Limitless" and "Revenge."

In 2015, he spent two weeks as an adviser for a film titled "A Family Man," in which he helped the actors understand how leukemia affects a patient and their family. Dr. Kohler also ensured production used the correct medical equipment, and even had a small role as a physician in the film, the report states.

Because of the increasingly large role Hollywood plays in popular culture, Dr. Kohler said it's important for the entertainment industry to portray the medical field and healthcare professionals accurately.

"As a physician, I really want my patients to have realistic expectations on what medicine can do," he told the Wisconsin State Journal.

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