You’re watching "Bridesmaids." Maybe you know the scene? The bridal party is going dress shopping, but first, they check out a local steakhouse for lunch. That afternoon in the middle of a very posh bridal salon, the unthinkable happens – foodborne diarrhea. Sample wedding dresses are destroyed, and the ladies leave the day on a much different note than they started.
It’s hilarious, its potty humor, and it’s famous, but you find yourself wondering, can that really happen?
Dr. Meghan Jeffres in the studio for Medical Rewrites.
Lucky for you, Associate Professor Meghan Jeffres, PharmD, is here to explain and redeem movie scripts that are not showcasing best-practices. In her new podcast, “Medical Rewrites,” Dr. Jeffres takes a deep dive into memorable movies to breakdown medical plot holes, and then, offer ways the script writers could correct the errors with evidence-based medicine.
Jeffres writes, “On this podcast we will fix the medical plot points that keep us up at night staring at the ceiling asking – why didn’t the script writers just call me?”
For Jeffres, adding “Medical Rewrites” to her CV has been a process. She knew she wanted to make it happen no matter what, and with good reason. Podcasts officially launched in 2000, although there were some precursors of different mediums. Once called “free amateur chatfests” from USA Today, the podcast format has seen exponential growth in the last decade. Edison Research reports that in 2022, podcasts reached 18% of those age 13+ in the U.S. — a 20% increase since 2021, and over three times the reach of 2014. Podcasts are here to stay, and here to make an impact.
And as for the diarrhea in "Bridesmaids"? It can happen with the right set of circumstances, according to Jeffres, who may have found her new calling.
“I would say this started a year ago,” she explained. Jeffres is animated. She is routinely a student favorite, and is always thinking of ways to make her teaching dynamic. When Jeffres talks about “Medical Rewrites,” she radiates energy. A year to wait on something burning into her creative brain must have been difficult – but worth the result.
First, she needed the support of School of Pharmacy Dean Ralph Altiere, PhD, and Department Chair, Doug Fish, PharmD, who were not surprised she wanted to explore this unusual mode of publication for an academic.
“There was a lot of trial and error on the best way to make this podcast a reality, and I went through a few different versions before I settled on the format it is now,” Jeffres said.
In its current iteration the podcast primarily targets practitioners and students, but also an audience Jeffres calls “medical adjacent” – those working alongside medical professionals, or maybe someone who grew up in a family of nurses/medical doctors/pharmacists but never took that career path.
The Medical Rewites episode notes. The podcast development has been a labor of love for Dr. Jeffres.
Jeffres is suited to do deep dives into movies and apply her extensive knowledge. She has been an in-patient pharmacist for 15 years and straddled the line between infectious diseases and internal medicine depending on the needs of the hospital. This background allows her to dig into multiple topics found in movies ranging from tooth abscesses in "Cast Away" to the use of naltrexone for alcohol use disorder in "28 Days." Her clinical research areas include infectious diseases, patient outcomes, antibiotic stewardship, antibiotic adverse reactions and allergies. Jeffres educational research has focused on active learning and gamification of education but will soon dive into podcasting as an educational tool as well.
The podcast begins with an unforgettable jingle, the kind of earworm you might find yourself impulsively singing and dancing to in the car.
“I was telling one of my favorite past students about the podcast idea,” Jeffres explained. “Turns out her husband is a musician and producer. She connected us and he created the perfect tune that established the upbeat tone of the podcast.”
After the musical intro, Jeffres introduces herself, the movie for the episode, and the specific medical plot points in question. So far, she has covered "Bridesmaids," "Wolf of Wall Street," "Castaway," and "Wedding Crashers" with additional episodes already mapped for the year. However, she also takes suggestions on additional movies to review.
“There is a form on my podcast site,” Jeffres said, “and listeners can submit their suggestions for movies or expert guests.”
Anything in particular Jeffres is looking for?
“Movies that include aspects of women’s health,” she said. “There are so many movies with male genitourinary problems. There is priapism, erectile dysfunction, and even BPH and so few about menopause, vaginal dryness, or urinary tract infections.”
Sounds like an assignment, Dr. Jeffres. We're on it.
Medical Rewrites releases new episodes every two weeks, and is available on Apple, iHeart, Amazon, or wherever you get your podcasts.