Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Remove the Spleen!

What is it with scriptwriters?

Whenever someone needs a serious sounding injury in a soap opera or drama... they always opt for the same one... the poor old spleen:

What is so special about it... and why does it receive such abuse in the world of film and far more often in television?

Spleen: a highly vascular ductless abdominal organ of vertebrates that resembles a gland in organization but is closely associated with the circulatory system, that plays a role in the final destruction of red blood cells, filtration and storage of blood, and production of lymphocytes, and that in humans is a dark purplish flattened oblong object of a soft fragile consistency lying near the cardiac end of the stomach and consisting largely of blood and lymphoid tissue enclosed in a fibroelastic capsule from which trabeculae ramify through the tissue of the organ which is divisible into a loose friable red pulp in intimate connection with the blood supply and with red blood cells free in its interstices and a denser white pulp chiefly of lymphoid tissue condensed in masses about the small arteries.

Apparently the lack of a spleen can make people vulnerable to certain infections like septicemia. This is all very interesting but all the same... why is this organ so readily butchered by writers?

During my student days it was a source of constant mirth. It even became a bit of a game... the winner was the person who could quote the most programmes that had featured splenectomies in their plots.... a bit like counting Christian fish symbols on cars... or seeing how many nice ladies wave back at you when you wave at them.

My guess is that spleens are organs of some significance (but not completely vital), that are probably also kind of vague for mainstream audiences to truly understand. If you removed the appendix... no one would care.... it lacks gravitas. Therefore when a spleen is removed... the audience can be lulled into thinking the injured character's situation may be graver than it actually is.

I'd be intrigued to know other peoples thoughts on this utterly random subject.

If you want to read up on the spleen, you can follow this link to the wiki entry.

Finally as an act of defence for the humble spleen, I am going to quote the apostle Paul:

"On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it."

1 Corinthians 12:22-26

1 comment:

  1. Just venting huh!
    [sorry, couldn't resist]


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