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‘Grey’s Anatomy’ saves woman’s life

Hospital show episode prompts Sarit Fishbaine, a marketing VP from south of Israel, to seek out a crucial second opinion about lump in her breast

A scene from "Oh, the Guilt" (episode 5, season 3) of the television series "Grey's Anatomy" (Screen capture: YouTube)
A scene from "Oh, the Guilt" (episode 5, season 3) of the television series "Grey's Anatomy" (Screen capture: YouTube)

Sarit Fishbaine, a marketing director from Kvutzat Yavne in the south of Israel, had no particular suspicions when she made an appointment for a routine breast exam. Nor did the specialist, who sent her home with a clean bill of health. But when Fishbaine saw an episode of the television series “Grey’s Anatomy” six months later — the fifth episode of the third season, to be precise — she felt that the plot had a message for her. The next day, she called another specialist for a second opinion.

That second opinion saved her life.

“In the episode, a young mom arrives at Seattle Grace Hospital for a mastectomy after her breast cancer had been mistaken for milk collecting in her breast,” Fishbaine told Yahoo Parenting. “I couldn’t fall asleep that night — it felt like a huge warning sign. I had stopped nursing a few months prior and my breast tissue had softened up, but there was definitely a lump on my left breast.”

She made an appointment with another breast specialist the next day. “I had to wait three weeks to see the doctor and I didn’t want to worry my husband, so I told him I was going for a routine checkup,” she said. After examining Fishbaine, the second specialist sent her for “an urgent mammogram and biopsy,” which showed that she had Stage III breast cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes.

After undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and a complete mastectomy of her left breast, Fishbaine is cancer-free. But the story didn’t end there.

Shonda Rhimes, the creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” saw Fishbaine’s story on Yahoo and shared it on her own Facebook page with a one-word comment: “Humbling.” Rhimes’s post received more than 4,000 “likes,” and was shared more than 400 times.


Posted by Shonda Rhimes on Friday, May 15, 2015

Fishbaine told the story on her own Facebook page on Sunday. “Television isn’t educational. Television rots our brains. Watching television is a complete waste of time,” she wrote dryly by way of introduction, citing the oft-repeated accusations against the medium. After recounting how the television episode saved her life and how Rhimes shared her story on Facebook, she ended her post with, “This is what can happen when you enjoy watching television. So remember — television isn’t educational.”

המקום – אוניברסיטה ידועה בירושלים.הקורס – התנהגות ארגונית.המרצה – ד"ר סידני אנגלברג. הארוע – בנה התינוק של אחת…

Posted by Sarit Fishbaine on Sunday, May 10, 2015

It seems that positive media exposure runs in Fishbaine’s family. Her father, Professor Sydney Engelberg, who teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, garnered instant fame earlier this month when he picked up a crying baby during one of his classes and continued his lecture holding him in his arms. “This is what I call an excellent lesson in organizational behavior” (the course Engelberg, a father of four and grandfather of five, was teaching at the time), a proud Fishbaine wrote on her Facebook page. “Dad, you’re the best!”

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