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Spot Inspection: 'The Doctors'

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Thedoctors_lThe Doctors, the syndicated medical talk show co-hosted by Bachelor/ER Physician Travis Stork and…other people…has received an order for a second season. We tuned in to today’s episode for a spot inspection and actually learned a few things.

Travis started the show by announcing that teen pregnancy is up for the first time in 15 years, and the questions are: Why and what medical dangers do teen mothers face? “We’ll talk to a 15-year-old girl who is seven-months-pregnant, scared, and searching for answers,” he said. “So let’s get this show started! I’m really excited because we’ve got some fun things going on in the procedure room back there.” Awkward transition? Yes! But you can’t blame him for being pumped to tell us that there was a plastic surgeon performing a real-time eyebrow transplant and reconconstruction on Jackie, a 23-year-old woman with congenital thinness. The procedure, which they cut to periodically before the episode-ending reveal, wasn’t too gross. The only time I gasped was when they showed the sliver of scalp they’d taken from the back of the woman’s head to harvest the hair follicles, which were implanted one at a time (210 on one brow alone). No one looks good after plastic surgery, and the surgeon said it could take five months to a year for this $5,000 experience to reveal its full glory. They showed “after” photos from two months later, and Jackie was looking good.

Next came some talk about pregnancy dos-and-don’ts from OB-GYN cohost Lisa Masterson, who seems to have the most authoritative presence on the panel (but that could just be because this was her specialty, I suppose.) We learned that Tylenol is safe for pregnant women to take for pain, but not Advil. That some cold medicines like Robitussin are okay, but not others (Sudafed). That Lisa doesn’t put much stock in the recent study suggesting that women who follow higher-calorie diets and eat regular breakfasts of cereal have a better chance of conceiving a boy. That there are now home paternity tests that you can buy for like $20 or $30 (though you’ll have to pay around $120 for a lab to process it). Pediatrician cohost Jim Sears provided the comedy relief (his usual role?) by swabbing his inner cheek after asking for confirmation that the test isn’t permissible in court.

I don’t think the Doctors answered the question why teen pregnancy is on the rise again, but they did bring out 15-year-old Melanie, who’s seven months pregnant, as promised. It’s a tough thing, talking to a teen about the hard road that lies ahead without making her want to pull off of it in tears. More effective than the doctors informing her that boyfriends who say they’ll help out often don’t and grilling her on her daycare plans (high schools have daycares, who knew?), was their decision to have her spend a day with 16-year-old Hannah and Hannah’s seven-month-old daughter. She wasn’t just being told you’ll have so much to do, she was being given practical tips on how to handle it. Dr. Lisa briefly discussed the health issues teen mothers face (low birth weight, greater chance of C-section, anemia, STDs, a special need for early and regular pre-natal care) and the segment ended with Erin receiving gifts like a year’s supply of diapers.

The next segment was a promo for Project Cuddle, which matches teen (and adult) mothers with adoptive parents, before and after their babies are born. (According to founder Debbie Magnusen, 57 babies a day are abandoned across the U.S. and left to die. That’s scary enough to make me want to list the #, too: 1-88 TO CUDDLE.) Then, before the slightly underwhelming brow reveal, we got the apparently popular “Ask Our Doctors” segment. Travis said they get thousands of emails and well-coiffed videos every day from viewers wanting their health questions answered. Today’s were all from moms — heavy periods, spider veins, when to take a newborn with a fever to the ER (under 3 months, a rectally-taken temp above 100.4 is an automatic trip, Jim said). They also covered meds — again Tylenol is the winner. And imaginary friends, which is a subject I’d like to see a whole show on. Jim said you should befriend your child’s imaginary friend because it’s a way for you to get to know your child. And also, when your child blames something he or she did on that friend, you have a description. Okay, that was funny.

Any of you watch The Doctors? Have you learned something?