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a woman sitting on her couch watching tv where she sees an older man wearing an oxygen mask.

Oxygen Use in TV and Movies

Have you ever noticed oxygen patients on TV shows or movies?

It’s something that I never paid too much attention to before they put me on oxygen, even though I had worked in both hospitals and nursing homes.

Supplemental oxygen use in television

Here are some TV shows that I have noticed it in and my thoughts on how it was used:

The Ozarks: Buddy is the gentleman that the Byrde family buys the house from when they get there.
It’s funny how long they can make those tanks last. I also noticed that when he was in his house or sleeping in his house, he would use tanks as well. No concentrator to be found. He must be getting up a few times during the night to change those tanks. The oxygen company would be tired of delivering several times a week.

The Sons of Anarchy: The character Piney Winston used to carry around a small M2 tank. If they set him on 2L pulse mode, that would give him only 1.5 hours of oxygen. Not much at all. He would have gone through many tanks on those motorcycle rides.

Mike and Molly: In this TV series, Mike’s mom Peggy wore oxygen several times. She had a D tank sitting by her chair for a few episodes. Again, that would need a lot of tank changes. They took it out in the rest of the seasons, though.

Of course, with all of these, a tank is a better visual effect than an oxygen concentrator.

Supplemental oxygen use in movies

Some of the movies that I have seen that use oxygen are:

Five Feet Apart: This a beautifully made movie about two young people with Cystic Fibrosis who fall in love and must keep a safe distance from each other so they don’t give each other their lung infections. I think they did a good job with the oxygen use in this film.

Fault In Our Stars: This is a story of two teenagers who fall in love while battling cancer. This was also beautifully made, and they did okay with her oxygen use, although they never showed her changing her tanks, even though she would have gone through many of them.

The Sessions: This was a movie made where the main character had polio-related paralysis and used an iron lung. An iron lung is a medical respirator that helps a person breathe. The device creates a vacuum inside a large metal chamber that encases the patient's body from the neck down, allowing air to flow in and out of the patient's lungs) throughout the movie to assist breathing. I don’t know if that was accurate or not, though.

I’m sure many more tv shows and movies have used oxygen. I am glad they bring some awareness to oxygen use, but I wish they would show everything that goes along with it and explain more. We all know that it takes much more than what they show.

What are your thoughts on this? Can you think of any movies or TV shows that I have missed? Please share in the comments below.

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