The TV Doctor Pain Assessment Tool: Rating the Best and Worst TV MDs Ever

UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 15:  DOOGIE HOWSER, M.D. - Gallery - Season One - 5/5/1989, Doogie Howser, M.D. is a comedy-drama st
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 15: DOOGIE HOWSER, M.D. - Gallery - Season One - 5/5/1989, Doogie Howser, M.D. is a comedy-drama starring Neil Patrick Harris as Douglas 'Doogie' Howser, a brilliant teenage doctor who is faced with the problems of being a normal teenager despite graduating from Princeton at the age of 10 and being a board-certified surgeon by the time he's 16. , (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

You know when you go to the emergency room and they hand you a document that asks you to rate the pain of your freshly shorn-off arm, gunshot wound, or exploding appendix? You know how you always circle "10" and try to get rocket-propelled into an IV bag as fast as possible?

Well, turns out there are numbers other than 10 on that pain scale. Also turns out that pain scale has a name. It's the Wong-Baker Universal Pain Scale and its intent is to actually be useful.

Of course, it isn't, but we wanted to find a way it could be useful. So we replaced all of the faces with TV doctors to give you a guide for the amount of pain you're about to experience when in the, um, "care" of each of these sometimes certified physicians.

Basically, just avoid Dr. Nick.--Ben Collins

0 - No Pain

Shiva - "The League"

The urologist with enchanting looks and a golden touch, Shiva is regarded by the members of The League as a human good-luck charm. Invoking Shiva's full name, Shivakomeni Somakhandarkram, also known as a "Shiva Blast," reportedly has healing properties. The guys make annual offerings to Shiva, and attempt to steal her personal items. It is rumored that a simple caress from Shiva can dramatically improve your fortunes in fantasy football. In Season 1, Pete books an appointment with Shiva, having his tackle examined in a last-ditch effort to get an edge on his competitors. However it is Andre who wins the title, after actually dating and sleeping with the magical Shiva. Andre's victory proves to be bittersweet when Shiva discovers she's being used to score fantasy points. Andre wins the Shiva trophy, but loses the actual Shiva.—Nathan Alexander

1 - Some Pain

Jack Shepard - "LOST"

Jack is a gifted spinal surgeon and natural leader who helps his fellow passengers survive the aftermath of the crash of Oceanic flight 815.  He’s talented enough to adapt his hospital skills to the wilderness with a MacGyver-like flair, using a sea urchin spine as a surgical needle and a cargo container sliding door as a bone saw.  At one point, he even uses his own arm as a living blood pack for an emergency transfusion.  Unfortunately, Jack is also a tortured soul, with a serious white knight complex and an all-consuming drive to fix others.  He tends to take things too far and too personally, and doesn’t know when to give up and let his patient rest in peace.  While his dogged, heal-at-any-cost determination is usually a good thing, it can also lead to the stubborn decision to hack off a patient’s leg while himself nearly fainting from blood loss.—Kristin Knox

2 - Minimal Pain

Doogie Howser - "Doogie Howser"

On paper Doogie Howser would make a great doctor. The young physician is a clean slate with all of the know-how and experience, but he’s lacking all the impediments other doctors build up along the way: the hospital administrator always on him about the “bottom line,” how’s he going to afford that new addition to the house his wife talked him into and kids who just seem to be growing farther and farther away with each 36-hour shift. The Doog’s just happy to be there and do his job. But there’s one issue that would keep popping up for every teenage boy doctor: every time a pretty nurse walked by there would a risk of being too many tools on the operating table, if you know what we’re saying, and a good doctor should have as much blood flowing through his head at all times. Also, Doogie still has to deal with a lot of peer pressure as a teen, so he probably shouldn’t be trusted with a prescription pad. And there’s the simple fact that Doogie is a teenager. Who would ever see a teenage doctor? Other than Steven Bochco, who would ever think this is a good idea?  We’ll take our chances with home surgery and prayer.—Martin Moakler

3 - Little Pain

Zoe Hart - "Hart of Dixie" / Simon Tam - "Firefly"

Dr. Zoe Hart is a doctor who finds herself having to transition from her New York lifestyle to smalltown Alabama. She's no country girl -- think Clive Owen, not Buck Owens -- and stands out like a sore thumb with her short-shorts and designer duds. She takes her job seriously though, even when confronted with some of the strangest ailments in the south. Like Double Diabetes. (I just made that up, but it sounds like something that exists, right?) She's seriously cute but also a serious heartbreaker, as the town of Bluebell soon finds out as she steals the hearts of Wade and George, causing drama inside and outside of the office. It takes her a while to gain the respect of the community and she has a tendency to not conform to the norm. For example, books and stuff.—Kate Lemley

The crew of the Serenity was damn lucky to have Simon Tam on board.  It's a wonder they ever got by without a ship's doctor before this, as one crew member or another seemed to find themselves with a life threatening injury in just about every single episode of this short lived series.  Simon a miracle working doctor by day (in 13 episodes and 1 film, he didn't lose a single patient!) and a jailbreaking secret agent by night (something the rest of the crew really never gives him due credit for), making him pretty handy in just about any situation we can think of.Unfortunately for Dr. Tam, we can't help but dock him a few points on the scale for being the least interesting member of the crew.  But what he's lacking in complexity, he makes up for in dreaminess.  Those puppy dog eyes are all the bedside manner we need.—Jay Johnson

4 - Tolerable Pain

John Carter - "ER"

On the surface, “ER's” Dr. John Carter has it all. He’s a hot billionaire with a gift for surgery, but too much compassion to leave the sick and needy in the emergency room behind. A trip behind Dr. Carter’s triage curtain sounds more like a dream date than a brush with death. So, how did this hospital hottie end up in the middle of the pain scale? 

Carter’s life is pain. Over the course of his eleven seasons on air, he was stabbed in the kidney by a crazed patient, saw his protégée murdered in front of him, contracted Monkeypox, became a heroin addict, got kidnapped by guerrillas in the Congo, and impregnated the love his life who subsequently miscarried their baby and dumped him. And his Grammy died.

It’s not that you can’t trust Dr. Carter to give you quality care. It’s just that after once glimpse into the black hole of pain behind his beautiful brown eyes, you’ll find yourself crying out: “Physician, heal thyself!” as your heart rips straight down the middle. Then, you’ll get sent upstairs to surgery with that dude who’s always doing karate moves in the hallway. No one wants that.—Liz Brown

5 - Mild Pain

Mindy Lahiri - "The Mindy Project"

OB/GYN Dr. Mindy Lahiri is much more concerned about her love life than your health. She's a single woman looking for her New York City version of Colin Firth. But she's super bubbly, fun, and entertaining, so you won't mind if she has no idea why you're peeing blood all of a sudden. She will take you to charm city with her wit and awful-hilarious OKStupid dating stories. 

She's your kind-of irresponsible friend who "gets tacky" when she's drunk and that's bold enough to wear glitter dresses at 32. (You know it's bad when your inspiring rapper of a little brother constantly reminds you to "make good choices.") Yet you still choose her as your doctor because she gives you crazy good advice on dealing with crushes on office husbands and the one hot British co-worker you regrettably used to hook up with. She'll always be there for you, either to talk your ear off or to listen to you as you talk her ear off. And that, friends, is life's medicine.—Sheila Dichoso

6 - Modest Pain

Dr. Cox - "Scrubs"

Look, this man thinks empathy is a disease in itself, but if my liver has birthed a twin and that twin is stabbing my initial liver, I want Dr. Cox prescribing the medication to fix it. He's saved so many people with weird-ass, not-even-on-Web-MD ailments that he has three grown people ruining their own personal relationships in order to become his mentee. Plus, he has a terrible, off-again/off-again relationship with his wife, so I know he'll look for any excuse to visit me, guy with Double Liver Stabby Disease, at the hospital at weird hours of the night.

Plus, he seems to be in good with The Janitor, who seems to have life entirely figured out.—Ben Collins

7 - Moderate Pain

Dr. House - "House"

While Dr. House's bedside manner is legendarily infamous, he's about as solid of a choice for a doctor as you can find. In the world of the show, he's really the only one capable of identifying and curing mysterious and unusual diseases. Hell, even when he's most abusive, when people visit him in the clinic for seemingly benign ailments, he often comes up with a cause that improves the lives of sufferers tenfold.

That said, House isn't one to play it safe. If he thinks digging into your brain or removing your arm will lead him to the information he needs to banish your disease, he won't hesitate for a second. And don't expect him to follow code or ask for permission. If he has to trick you or your family into disabling you for eternity, he'll do it, but at least you'll be alive at the end of it.—James Goux

8 - Severe Pain

Blake Downs - "Children's Hospital" / Dr. Spaceman - "30 Rock"

And Dr. Blake Downs is about as bad a choice as you could possibly make for selecting a doctor. It's on par with not going to a doctor at all. You might even say it's synonymous. Why is that? Because Dr. Downs refuses to use anything but the good old fashioned healing power of laughter. It's no wonder his scrubs are always sporting a pool of blood on his chest to compliment the clown makeup he wears on his face.

What's worse? I'm pretty sure he's never done anything that's actually funny within that actual Children's Hospital. Viewers of the show will laugh at him, sure, but are the children laughing with him?—James Goux

Want to know what the most literally unbelievable -- as in non-believable -- part of "30 Rock" is? It's not that Jack Donaghy simultaneously runs the television and microwave divisions of GE. It's not that he created the Pontiac Aztec. It's not that Liz Lemon, the defining woman of our times, is unable to find a man for the first 40 years of her life. It's not that Jenna Maroney has any friends at all. It's not that Matt Damon as a sexy astronaut of the skies could ever get dumped, no matter how bumbling. It's not that Kenneth went from a page to a CEO in one day. It's not that there's a Wesley Snipes that's a white person.

It's that Dr. Spaceman is the doctor for everyone on this show, and that no one has died.—Ben Collins

9 - Oppressive Pain

Dr. Nick - "The Simpsons"

Last year, I cut my finger. It was pretty gruesome. Lest I meet an anti-climactic X-Acto-related end, I went to the emergency clinic. Flash forward 14 months, when I receive a bill for $513.98 from the clinic. You don’t need to tell me that the health care system in this country is rigged.

Dr. Nick Riviera of "The Simpsons" charges only $129.95 for ANY operation. Think of how much he’d charge for my measly tetanus shot and a heavy-duty bandage. Dr. Nick is all about keeping health care costs down, plus his bedside manner is unmatched: “Hi everybody!” What a charmer!

Sure, a visit with Dr. Nick is a roll of the dice. You run the risk of ending up like Mr. McGregg “with a leg for an arm and an arm and a leg.” He might elect to use a pizza cutter in lieu of a scalpel. And, really, what doctor hasn’t mistaken his fingerprint on an x-ray for trauma? BUT, each brain surgery comes with a free Chinese finger trap... so there's that. 

He may not be the best doctor in Springfield, in fact he’s easily the worst physician on television. However, Dr. Nick represents the American dream: an enterprising immigrant with a degree (from the Hollywood Upstairs Medical College) who heals the infirm (at bargain basement prices).  As Dr. Nick says, “You’ve tried the best, now try the rest.”—Courtney Hyde

10 - Terrible Pain/Bedrest Required

McDreamy - "Grey's Anatomy"

Derek Shepherd is a world-class neurosurgeon who has cured dozens of last-chance cases no other doctor would touch.  He’s brilliant in his field, has a great bedside manner, and cares passionately about his patients.  He’s even working on a cure for Alzheimer’s.  So why is he rated a 10 on this pain scale? Because swoon-worthy Dr. McDreamy is dazzling enough to give even his healthiest patients heart palpitations.  Any unsuspecting female in his care runs the risk of flatlining the moment he flashes his pearly whites, and we suspect more than one lustful patient has expired prematurely from choking on their own drool.  Even the generally grumpy Meredith swoons when confronted by the blinding magnetism on display in his over-the-top elevator proposal (which was so sweetly romantic we can almost forgive his being married). For any woman exposed to his overwhelming charms, bedrest is definitely required. Sex jokes.—Kristin Knox

11 - Worst Pain

Dr. Lecter - "Hannibal"

The insanely disturbing resurrection of America's favorite cannibal in NBC's "Hannibal" has underscored once more, as if we needed reminding, that employing Dr. Hannibal Lecter as your psychiatrist is a very bad idea. Yes, he'll see right into the depths of your soul and diagnose you immediately, but then he'll hide your own disease from you, use your condition as a tool to further his own evil ends, and watch on in delight as you slip further and further into madness. That's the best case scenario. He might also peg a murder or two on you. Or feed you human intestines disguised as finely aged prosciutto. Or, let's be real, kill you and eat your lungs with a Cumberland sauce of red fruits because you put your feet up on his desk.   

On the bright side, you'll never go hungry, and you'll never get bored.—Naivasha Dean