Vanessa Grubbs, MD, MPH and Dr. Qaali Hussein, MD

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Since the televised violence and murders of Black people in the midst of a pandemic that laid bare stark racial health disparities, a nation quarantined has been forced to sit with racism and its impact, no longer able to look away. For the first time, more than half the country agreed that Black Lives do indeed Matter. Some were even on the verge of finding enough courage to say so out loud. Almost.

But as the news cycle moved on and the country reopened, the empathy for Black lives that swelled…

A Critique of B Positive Episode 6 “Open Heart Surgery”

The graph of the number of times people are reading my critiques that I started publishing a month ago looks like a steep staircase into a desolate basement. I’m finding myself feeling a bit discouraged. But I will continue to power through, because if I can just help one person, then….

Representation of stats of my critique views 😢

Nope, I’m not even gonna finish typing that sappy line way too many people utter as a demonstration of their steadfast dedication. Not only does it strike me as self-aggrandizement by feigning martyrdom, but if I’m working my ass…

A Critique of B Positive Episode 5 “High Risk Factor”

It may seem like I’m picking on this show. I definitely am. And at the same time, I’m thrilled that the kidney is finally taking center-stage. To my awareness, the first time the kidney was somewhat featured on the big screen was in the movie Steel Magnolias. There was a scene in which Shelby (Julia Roberts) told everyone in the beauty shop that her mama (Sally Field) was giving her a kidney so she could stop looking like she was driving nails into her arm for dialysis. They never showed…

A Critique of B Positive Episode 4 “Joint Pain”

Pre-Rona, I could never understand people who paid $30 for movie theater tickets plus the cost of snacks to text and talk on the phone throughout the movie. And because they were interfering upon my experience to get my money’s worth, I often spoke up about it.

“Could you be quiet please?” or “You need to get off the phone,” I would say, sometimes less politely than others.

Somehow people saw me as the problem — one they weren’t afraid to challenge, which meant my ex-college-linebacker husband was often put in the position of defending my honor, Bridgerton style. …

A Critique of B Positive Episode 3 “Foreign Bodies”

Advanced medical training has made me a little bit of an asshole, I think, when it comes to medical-themed television shows and movies. I wasn’t always so disgusted by them. In fact, I remember laughing hysterically at a scene in Scrubs, because it had managed to put a funny spin on a very real situation. I was a resident, probably in my third year of on-the-job training after medical school.

A Code Blue is called over the intercom. Intern JD, the main character, is running down the hall, his voiceover explaining that “A Code Blue is when a person is…

A Critique of B Positive Episode 2 “Die Alysis”

As promised, I — a kidney donor, nephrologist (kidney doctor) and writer/author — am back to critique B Positive, a popular and highly rated sitcom about Drew, a newly divorced father of a 12-year-old girl with kidney failure and Gina, the ditzy “train wreck” high school acquaintance who offers to give him one of her kidneys. Last week I published a commentary on Episode 1 “Pilot.” In that episode, Drew finds out he has kidney failure and starts looking for donors. Today I’ll discuss Episode 2 “Die Alysis.” …

A Critique of B Positive Episode 1 “Pilot”

I’m a nephrologist, a kidney specialist. So, when my husband brought my attention to the pilot trailer of B positive, a medical sitcom about a newly divorced father of a 12-year-old girl learns he’s in kidney failure and the ditzy “train wreck” high school acquaintance who offers to give him one of her kidneys, I just rolled my eyes and walked away.

Since I’ve been a physician, I just can’t with TV and movies centered around something medical, because they get so much wrong, it’s no longer entertaining. I never watched Grey’s Anatomy, ER or House. And I’ve kept my…

Dr. Vanessa Grubbs

Dr. Vanessa Grubbs is a nephrologist and author of HUNDREDS OF INTERLACED FINGERS: A Kidney Doctor’s Search for the Perfect Match. Website:

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