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Pure Genius on Showmax
Image: NBC

Showmax is bringing one of the fanciest medical dramas straight to your TV, laptop, smartphone or tablet! All 13 episodes of Pure Genius (2016), which follows a bunch of industry-changing doctors at the Bunker Hill medical facility, can be streamed or downloaded now. Watch now »

Heading up the medical miracle workers is James Bell (Augustus Prew), a billionaire tech genius who has given his staff the latest and greatest machines and technology to save lives. “James is his own man,” explains Augustus. “I looked at other really rich guys like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk and took parts from them, but James is his own man.”

What James isn’t telling his team, though, is that he’s suffering from what, right now, is an incurable condition. And that’s part of his motivation for starting Bunker Hill and using all the technology available to him. He wants his doctors to help other patients while at the same time looking for a cure for his own disease.

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But while Pure Genius is filled with shiny, fancy buttons and knobs and high-tech touch-screens, there are a few overlaps with medical technology in the real world.

4 ways Pure Genius echoes real-life medical tech

1. Printing pieces

Pure Genius’s doctors use 3D printers to build everything from missing bones and ligaments to heart valves.

  • And it’s happening in real-life surgeries, where patients get parts of their skulls and jaws reprinted, as well as simpler things like rib bones and hip sockets. Surgeons can fix their patients’ conditions with pinpoint accuracy and have the pieces literally fit together like a puzzle.

2. We see you

Bunker Hill doctors get an early warning from patients’ high-tech watches that are linked to the hospital’s mainframe. Patient vitals are fed back in real time and because they’re trained professionals, the doctors can predict a medical event before it happens.

  • Doctors can do that now, but only if the patient is already at the hospital and under medical supervision. Unfortunately there’s no real-time tracking for patients outside of hospitals… yet.

3. Piles of paperwork

In the show, the docs use digital tablets (like iPads) to store and access patient information. No more charts, no more paperwork, no more filing – and those pens in the doctors’ pockets are styluses, not actual pens with ink.

  • This is being trialled in clinics but paperwork still needs to be done. Digital records are easier to manipulate and the higher-ups want original forms and charts in case anything goes wrong and the patients sue.

4. Location, location, location

Episode 6 sees Bunker Hill lending a helping scalpel to NASA when an astronaut needs emergency surgery… in space. The doctors use robots in their operating theatre linked to robots in the space station to carry out the operation. Simple, right?

  • Oddly enough, it is! Doctors don’t need to be in the same room or hospital to perform surgeries. In fact, the test surgery – called “The Lindbergh Operation” – was performed in 2001 and saw the patient’s gallbladder being removed by a robot being control by a doctor on another continent!

And one tech innovation from the show that, right now, is pure fantasy:

Instant diagnosis

In Pure Genius, it’s as easy for doctors to diagnose a protein deficiency in the patient’s blood work as it is to tell that an arm is broken (the latter, because, you know, “it shouldn’t be pointing that way”).  That’s thanks to tech tools like instant X-Ray machines that give the doctors a live peek inside their patients.

  • If only it was that easy in the real world. But it isn’t – because right now, certain tests take time to be developed and analysed. There’s no way around that, but at least they know which way your foot is meant to be, so a bad break can be diagnosed in the blink of an eye.

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