We are thinking of running themes and focus on a subject every week, for the weeks we still have left during hiatus. Not sure if it will work that way, because we both got kind of busy lately. But let’s try at least.
With all the talk about transplants, I thought it might be a good idea to start with the angelic Dr Andy Yablonski. I know not many like posts about Three Rivers and they are normally some of the lesser shared or liked articles.
It is however important for me to see how enthusiastic Alex was to be part if such a ‘real’ show and a subject like organ donation, that can be of such great value to so many people around the world. He really poured his heart into this one.
Alex O’Loughlin tells us about CBS’s new show ‘Three Rivers’
on ‘You Ask, They Tell’.
Question: Can you describe your character on Three Rivers?
Alex: My character, his name is Andy Yablonski, and he’s a cardiothoracic surgeon at a hospital in Pittsburgh called Three Rivers. And he specializes, as does the hospital, in transplant medicine and transplant …. organ transplantation. And it’s … he is based on a real-life character called Gonzo Gonzales-Stawinski out of Cleveland.
The Cleveland Clinic, which is where I did my studying and research for this role and … with Gonzo. And the show …. the show we tell from three different points of view. We tell it from the point of view of the donor, the recipient, and … my character and the medical team at Three Rivers. And so it is a medical show that I believe we haven’t seen before.
Question: What makes Three Rivers stand out from other television shows?
Alex: The fact that the core of the show, the heart, of the show if you will, is based in organ transplantation. It’s not something that has been done on TV before. We may have seen glimpses of it, but really not the way we are doing it.
We’re doing it with the utmost integrity, remaining intact at all times, for the truth of ….. of this field of medicine. And of …. you know, the other thing that we desperately try to do is dispel all the misconceptions and myths around organ donation. And you know one of the main ones is …. you know, people are scared to become donors, because they have heard that … if anything ever does happen to them, doctors in hospitals won’t try to save them, because their organs are … are available. Which is absolutely not true.
And I’m a spokesperson and ambassador now for Donate Life America, which is a great pleasure and a great privilege. And they are an incredible organization. And so, they have a website, Donatelife.net, which you can jump on and find all sorts of information about the truth about organ donation. About how important it is. About how many lives you can affect. You can actually save up to 8 lives and affect up to 50, by being an organ donor. And so …. yeah, and I am. I am an organ donor.
Question: How did you prepare for this role?
Alex: The clinic was a huge … the Cleveland Clinic was a huge part of my preparation. And my time with Gonzo …. I spend a lot of time with Gonzo on the phone before I got to Cleveland. I went to Cleveland a number of times and spend blocks of time there, staying at the hotel which is connected to the hospital. Which is funny because in the story my character lives in the hotel connected to the hospital, because he is separated from his wife. He’s in a transition phase of his life.
But my preparation for this …. I …. from the minute I made the decision and said yes to the job, I went into my research and preparation like a bull at a gate. And I didn’t stop. I actually still haven’t stopped, because it is such a massive thing.
Medicine is …it’s like law, or science. It’s another language, it’s another world away. These people train for 15 years before they can, you know, do what these guys do. And so, it’s taking a lot. And there’s a lot of … I live in textbooks …. in medical textbooks and encyclopedias. And on the phone to my ….. my friends who are surgeons and doctors. And just …. I’m forever learning, and there’s just so much to learn. And so, I’m doing my best.
Question: What will you take away from playing a role like this?
Alex: I find it very interesting. I find …. I’m fascinated with medicine. And I’m borderline obsessed with this stuff. I mean the thing is there’s … medicine at this level, you know, surgeons…. I just ….. what they do is incredible. It’s so fascinating to me. I’ve spent a lot of time in the OR as well. Like shoulder to shoulder with my man there, watching two feet away ….. at somebody’s open chest and heart pumping and lungs breathing. And watching them go on bypass and then the surgeon comes in and does all his stuff.
I mean it’s …. It really changes …. It’s really changed my perspective on life. It really like … I mean it really shifts the way you view life. To see how resilient we are on the inside as well as on the outside of our bodies. And I mean, it makes you question faith, and religion and whether this is in fact a second chance that we think we’re going to get after this life. I mean it’s pretty … it opens up a whole bunch of philosophical debates.