Medicine as entertainment

A new documentary series on Czech Television is pushing back the boundaries of entertainment. Following the success of various similar programmes from Germany, England, and the United States, the Czech Republic has recently started airing segments of live operations and medical procedures in a half hour program called "Diagnoza". Showing the faces and stories behind both the doctors and patients, it aims to present cutting edge Czech medical technology in a positive light. Pavla Navratilova has more.

The new documentary "Diagnoza" is a series of 18 minute programmes which examine various debilitating illnesses, and present the most modern medical procedures used in treating them. Starting with an introduction to the doctors and patients, it also includes detailed operation footage, which isn't for the faint of heart.

I talked to a professor at Charles University's Medical Faculty, Petr Jakes, who was also involved in the making of this programme and asked him what can be expected from "Diagnoza."

Petr Jakes: This program which we call "Diagnoza" presents very modern medicine. We present technology as well, we present diagnostic methods and of course the operations.

Radio Prague: And what has the reaction been from the public?

PJ: Public response was very very good... [much] more than we did expect. It gets a very good viewer response... we are getting a lot of questions, we are getting a lot of letters.

RP: And the reaction of the doctors where you have come into their surgery rooms?

PJ: All reactions are very positive. Doctors follow this program so whenever we come, we find a very positive approach of doctors. We ask the doctor to find a patient for us, someone who is talkative, someone who is positively motivated. And we do have very, very good co-operation with doctors.

And who was responsible for bringing such a programme to the Czech TV screens? Petr Jakes...

PJ: We are a society which is called the Science Education in the Public, and our goal is to inform the public about the high technology science.

RP: What are the goals of bringing such a program to the public?

PJ: The goals are very straightforward. In this country we do have problems with the support of science, and the support of education. It's a young capitalist society. There are no people in parliament who would support science or the basic science research and development. And the public needs to know that science research is extremely important for the society. We try to get more support for the high technology sciences.

"Dianoza" has already made it onto television screens in the Czech Republic although it has yet to find a regular time slot. The programme's producer claims that it will be made available on a bi-weekly basis at 9:30 in the evenings but exact dates are unknown. To hear more about this programme, tune into future editions of Radio Prague's "Magazine".

Author: Pavla Navrátilová
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