'Lenox Hill' Doctors on Life Amid COVID-19 and 'Grey's Anatomy' Comparisons (Exclusive)

Lenox Hill is the powerful new docuseries from filmmakers Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz that provides audiences with a rare and deeply personal look at the lives of healthcare professionals and their patients at a New York City-area hospital.

Filmed from April 2018 to November 2019, just before the coronavirus outbreak, the eight-part series follows brain surgeons David Langer and John Boockvar, emergency room physician Mirtha Macri and Chief Resident OB/GYN Amanda Little-Richardson as they navigate the ups and downs of patient care and try to maintain a balance between their personal and professional lives. 

“There’s so much emotional energy that goes into doing this,” Dr. Langer, chair of the neurosurgery department, says at one point in the series, which has been dubbed the real-life Grey’s Anatomy. But this isn’t scripted -- this is real life. Now streaming on Netflix, Dr. Boockvar, Dr. Langer, Dr. Little-Richardson and Dr. Macri spoke to ET about those comparisons to the long-running medical drama, what they went through amid the COVID-19 pandemic and what they hope audiences will get out of watching.  

Those Comparisons to Grey’s Anatomy

When the series was first announced, many people -- including ET -- dubbed it the real-life Grey’s Anatomy (or ER) due to its mix of passionate doctors, sympathetic patients and tear-induced storytelling. And then, as the series showed, there were some uncanny overlap between both worlds, whether it was a focus on neurosurgery and Dr. Boockvar’s medical study on brain cancer, or Dr. Little-Richardson and Dr. Macri’s ongoing pregnancies while working, or seeing one of their own face down cancer. 

“It’s similar in that medicine is stressful,” says Dr. Little-Richardson, who finds the comparisons a compliment. She adds that early on, Grey’s Anatomy captured the physically draining aspects of residency. “We do a lot of the same procedures that they showed,” Dr. Boockvar says of taking out brain tumors or helping patients battle Parkinson's disease.

While the doctors ultimately don’t mind the inevitable comparisons, they do clarify that all the drama that happens on those primetime series does not happen in the halls -- or more specifically, the elevators -- of their hospital. “Of course, we hope we don't have sultry relationships,” Dr. Boockvar says.

“The show was obviously unrealistic in a lot of ways, but it made it a valiant attempt to sort of be on the inside,” he continues, explaining he has four teenage kids who have kept up with the series over the years and still watch what happens at Seattle Grace Hospital. “Obviously we don't have patients with bombs inside of them. There’s lots of histrionic stories.” 

Lenox Hill
Dr. John Boockvar. Credit: Netflix