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Hospital Paradiso

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Joe: I can't get rid of the feeling that if I'd spent the last five years on one boy like Vincent, I'd have done the world more good than I could do in a lifetime here.
Emily: Getting sour on rich city people?
Joe: No, I'm not, Emily. There's nothing wrong with people just because they have money or live in the city — nothing wrong with being a city doctor — but this crowd that we get!

A character who works in some career with a focus on helping people (doctor, lawyer, clown) will get the opportunity to work in a veritable Eden. It's a beautifully decorated, spacious, and spotlessly clean hospital/lawfirm/circus equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, and servicing an exclusive clientele. The working conditions are excellent and the pay is even better. The boss is charming, and he's seriously interested in offering our physician/attorney/harlequin hero a job.

He'll never take it, of course. Not just because Status Quo Is God, but because the job wouldn't be "real medicine/law/clowning". It isn't really Eden but a temptation that would lead him into job satisfaction hell. The character will state that he's only interested in helping the genuinely needy people who stagger into the ugly, barely-functional shack he works in, rather than the affluent clientele who already have ample options and opportunity for decent health care. That's why he went to medical school/law school/clown college in the first place. Such a statement may just be a return to form after this temporary temptation, the question of moving elsewhere only appearing for an episode or two. On the other hand, it could be the "No More Holding Back" Speech coming after a long period of confusion, where the appearance of Hospital Paradiso provides a clear dichotomy in his path and makes him realize his real desires.

Compare Limited Advancement Opportunities.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Every non-islander in Dr. Kotō Shinryōjo will try to make him join a modern Hospital, preferably Tokyo's hospital. Even though he once performed surgery in a cutting-edge operating room, he still prefers a small, old hut on a remote island.

    Fan Works 
  • St. Lobaf Residential Treatment Center, in Brainbent.

  • The doctor protagonist of the Polish novel Ludzie Bezdomni fills this trope to a T. He wants to help the poor, but the Hospital Paradiso is run by corrupt rich men who don't care about the health of the local proletariat, so he leaves in disgust and moves to a dirty mining town.
  • Played straight, but with schools, in Up the Down Staircase with Sylvia's fantasies of Willowdale Academy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: It happens to Miss Brooks at least five times, three on the radio and twice on television:
    • In "Sunnydale Finishing School", Miss Brooks turned down a position at a private school and went to teach at Madison High School.
    • In "Clay City English Teacher", Miss Brooks turns down an attractive job offer from Jason Brille to continue teaching at Madison High School (in spite of not being able to stand Principal Osgood Conklin.
    • In "Connie's New Job Offer", Miss Brooks turns down a job that offers twice the pay she gets as a teacher.
    • In the television episode "Baseball Slide", Miss Brooks turns down a $500 bonus to sign with the Peoria White Sox Woman's Softball team. Miss Brooks warns Mr. Conklin, however, that if she is faced with continued unpleasantness she might just take up the offer.
    • "King and Brooks", another television episode, sees Miss Brooks turn down a position where she'd go to India and teach the son of the Maharajah of Bungatti.
  • ER:
    • Mark Greene plays the trope straight as an arrow.
    • Doug Ross interviews at and is hired at one at the beginning of the legendary "Hell And High Water" episode, having been fired from the hospital in the previous episode. Despite the higher pay, he's clearly not happy about it, and his heroics in the episode prompt the hospital to rehire him.
    • Peter Benton actively pursues an opportunity to work in one after Romano wouldn't give him the hours he needed to be able to take care of Reese.
    • Later on Luka Kovac gets an interesting variation where a very nice private care home where most of his work would be palliative care is a Hospital Paradiso and offers an appeal to his desire to help people, after a priority shift following the long, drawn out death of his father. The problem, something that the audience may see better than he does, is that the priority shift may be just a temporary reaction and changing work may harm his marriage.
  • House: Used several times, but the setting of the show is an inversion.
    • Inverted: The Hospital Paradiso is not a plot arc but rather the actual setting: the hospital is sleeker looking than a boutique hotel, always clean and spacious— deserted at night, the waiting room for the free clinic is outside the Chief of Medicine's office and only in the first four episodes is it even referenced that it's unusual to get into MRI and CT's as quickly as House does. House's (double) office is a few times larger than any realistic doctor's office, complete with glass walls. However, it doesn't have any cable which House spent an episode trying in vain to correct.
    • This trope is occasionally played straight when it comes to the ducklings, mainly by having the temptation be 'better pay' or 'not having to work for House'.
    • In "TB or not TB," Cameron is tempted to join with a charismatic doctor who works with the poor in Africa.
  • Doogie Howser, M.D.
  • Slight variation in Third Watch: Doc, a paramedic, is frequently offered promotion to an office job but kept turning it down as he felt he belonged "on the streets". When he finally takes the job he is quickly fired from it since his emotional and psychological problems make him useless at it. This leads to him going insane, shooting a superior officer and taking the fire station hostage.
  • Similarly, a lot of cop shows and whatnot treat the idea of taking an office job an utterly abhorrent alternative to working the streets.
    • Case in point, Blue Bloods's Danny is offered a lucrative position as a photographer's bodyguard. Despite clearly being tempted, especially since he and wife Linda are having money problems, he declines the offer, declaring that he's needed more as a detective.
      • Similarly, his younger brother Jamie refuses to advance from being a beat cop to a detective, enjoying his work out on the streets.
    • The final episode of Law & Order: UK has DS Ronnie Brooks supposedly being offered this type of position. However, he's insulted, as he knows the offer isn't his reward for decades of good work, but a way of calming the furor over an error he may have made during an investigation. Either way, it's clear he would hate doing office work and much rather be in the field.
  • Justified in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager when the Doctor is stolen and put to work in a hospital which provides medical care to patients based on their (perceived) importance to society. Level "Red" is undersupplied, understaffed, and crowded with patients who can't be properly treated, while the higher "Blue" level features ideal working conditions and allows one doctor per patient. The Doctor, assigned to the Blue level based on his medical skills, resists the assignment given the much greater need on the lower levels. To best show the disparity, the reason Level Red is undersupplied is because the hospital is intentionally withholding critical medication so it can regularly be administered to Level Blue patients.... regardless of whether or not they're in critical condition. They've been judged as so much more essential than Level Red patients that they get regular doses of vital medicine just for general vitality instead of having it sent to people who need it to survive.
    EMH: (upon finding out he's being sent to level Blue because of his impressive performance) I assume Level Blue is your critical care wing?
    Administrator: (considers the question) Level Blue is where it's critical our patients receive the best care.
  • In Firefly, part of Simon Tam's character conflict is that he gave up a prestigious career at a Hospital Paradiso in order to rescue his sister. It's occasionally a source of angst for him.
  • Inverted in Angel, where the main characters are given this opportunity — to lead the evil law firm that was their biggest nemesis, which stands for everything they don't. After much deliberation, Angel accepts the offer: he sees it as an opportunity to put the firm on a better course.
  • M*A*S*H: Hawkeye is offered a job as personal physician to a General. When he declines, the General refuses to take no for an answer.
    • Inverted with Major Winchester, who originally got a comfortable job well away from the front treating Generals and the like due to his social connections. However, after crossing the wrong man in a fairly petty way he is sent to the 4077.
    • Played straight with Henry Blake in an earlier episode - he's getting on in years and arthritis would be a perfect reason to get discharged back to his safe civilian practice in the States. He's a reputable doctor back in Illinois, but he wants the challenge and the chance to make a difference doing surgery at a MASH unit. He still on the whole is happy at the prospect of being sent home, less because of the hospitals he'd have to work at and more because he misses his family.
    • This is ultimately how Frank Burns, the show's love-to-hate Butt-Monkey, ultimately winds up getting the last laugh. After having a complete mental breakdown he was judged as unfit to continue to serve in Korea and was re-assigned to a cushy stateside hospital with fewer responsibilities, better living conditions, easier communication to his beloved mother, and a promotion. He even gets to call and gloat about it... right when the people he hated are in the middle of celebrating him being gone.
  • Inverted in Royal Pains: The protagonist used to work at a Hospital Paradiso, but in the pilot episode he bases his priorities on who needs help at the moment rather than who's giving the hospital lots of money, and as a result a poor teenager survives while a major financial benefactor dies of complications no one had any reason to anticipate, which gets the doctor fired and sets off the plot of the show, wherein he works on spec for anyone who happens to need medical attention at the time, generally in decidedly nonparadiso conditions. However, he is working in The Hamptons for extremely wealthy clients as a concierge physician. In this case, his "hospital" is in fact a very large playground for the super-rich. Then he proceeds to treat the significantly worse-off actual locals for next to nothing. He essentially traded one restrictive and corrupt Hospital Paradiso for a much more flexible one. He treats the usually genuinely sick rich people and uses the rest of the time to treat poorer people who need his help.
  • Sandy Cohen of The O.C. has a career as a public defender which puts him at work helping those who can't afford a lawyer and is what gave him a shot at meeting the main character after all. However a tour around the Lawfirm Paradiso and numerous points of comparison (e.g. Law firm has fully equipped gym, Public Defender's office has a basketball hoop), the clincher that gets him to take it is the fact that he would actually be able to do more pro bono work at the law firm.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Marshall ping-pongs on this, sometimes being very committed to becoming an environmental lawyer, other times deciding that providing for himself, Lily, and their eventual kids, is worth taking a less-fulfilling but better paying position for a corrupt corporation. He settled into his job at Goliath National Bank pretty well, and the Earth really pays for it if future Ted is to believed (according to this show, we never stopped global warming etc), but he later ditched Goliath and is working for an environmental firm. Future Ted mentions that Marshall's commitment to the environmental cause saved the planet.
  • Subverted in Six Feet Under. In a moment of idealism, Brenda refuses her mother's offers for placement as psychologist in a high-class hospital and chooses to work in a public center as councilor instead. The people working there are good people and they appreciate Brenda's presence because they're overworked and understaffed. But Brenda can't take the conditions and the cynicism permeating the place and leaves after a day, returning to her mother for the cushy job.
  • Played with in Grey's Anatomy when Christina discovers the very zen dermatology wing/department. Truth in Television—a lot of Real Life doctors have this attitude towards certain specialities, dermatology being one of them. Also, when Addison Shepherd leaves the cast, she heads to Private Practice, which is a well-decorated office in Los Angeles instead of a hospital in Seattle.
  • A doctor in Robocop The Series lost her job at a prestigious hospital and had to work in the slums due to her low success rate. It turns out that her former coworkers kept their rate up by deliberately denying service to patients they couldn't guarantee an easy recovery, whereas she tried to help everyone she could, hoping to at least save a few lives.
  • Inverted in Monday Mornings. Chelsea General in Oregon is a very fancy hospital, frequently referred to as one of the top in the world. All the doctors are absolutely stellar with deservedly developed God complex. However, their boss is not understanding when they mess up, and they are often called out on their screw-ups, even if they are just minor mistakes. Two doctors get sacked in Season 1. One is apparently an incompetent doctor, while the other as as awesome as the rest, but his team let him down and he killed a patient during a routine procedure.
  • Both Harm and Mac leave JAG temporarily. Harm gets transferred back to flying duty after getting corrective eye surgury, and Mac retires to work at a prestigious D.C. law firm. Harm returns in the next season after realizing he can do the most good as a lawyer, and Mac returns to duty after realizing she doesn't like her new job, and that Admiral Chegwidden had never actually done anything with her letter of resignation except keep it on his desk awaiting her return.
  • Used in a skit on the Israeli satire show Eretz Nehederet, criticising the government’s ineffectual treatment of the collapsing healthcare system, comparing public hospitals, depicted as severely overcrowded with collapsing staff and a mean nurse with a thick Russian accent, and private ones, depicted as this, with the same nurse being extra-nice and with no Russian accent.
  • In Sisters, youngest sister Charlie, a doctor, takes a job at a fancy private practice. True to form, the other doctors are only concerned with their golf game and ski/beach vacations. By the episodes end, she's so fed up that she quits to return to the free inner-city clinic where she got started.
  • On Walker, Texas Ranger, prosecutor Alex has an interview at a fancy law firm. She decides not to take the job after she realizes that a six-figure salary isn't worth defending criminals and other scumbags. Her having spent the episode being kidnapped, beaten, and nearly raped by one of these said scumbags no doubt influenced her decision.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: For all that he mightily pissed off Major Kira with his rather tactless comment about "frontier medicine" in the first episode, Julian Bashir really did volunteer to become Chief Medical Officer on a remote, semi-derelict space station orbiting an impoverished planet in the back-end of nowhere when a doctor with his credentials could have got him a posting on any Starfleet vessel or facility in the Federation.
    • Later he meets a graduate from his class who took a prestigious assignment on a Starfleet vessel and complained how boring it was.
    • In another episode, he tells O'Brien about the job he was offered in a Paris hospital run by his might-have-been father-in-law, who was confident he'd be head of the surgical department within five years. But that wasn't what Bashir wanted, and in the end he turned down the job and left the girlfriend to take the job on Deep Space Nine.
  • On Castle, Detective Beckett leaves her New York City precinct for a few episodes about halfway into the show to accept a job offer at the FBI's Washington D.C. branch instead. It's a serious step up from her previous job and gives her access to all sorts of fancy toys and other resources, but her incorruptible morals quickly collide with her new colleagues' Grey-and-Gray Morality, so it doesn't take too long for her to return to her old job. Unsurprisingly, everyone both In-Universe and out was mightily pleased with this development.
  • A slight version on NCIS, when rumors abound that Abby is thinking of leaving NCIS for a better paying job at a better staffed and equipped lab. This turns out to be unfounded.
  • Scrubs Dr. Cox has nothing but contempt and disdain for doctors who play this trope straight, believing them to only be lazy money-grubbers who don't care about their patients. His dislike for Dr. Eliot Reid ratchets up when she takes a private practice job.
    • Hilariously? She only took it to piss him off, and basically works at Sacred Heart ANYWAY...she just gets more pay. He also fails to acknowledge that the very reason she took it is because she was fed up with his ill treatment of her.
  • In the pilot of Providence, Dr. Sydney Hansen is seen outright rolling her eyes at a patient prattling on about the procedures she wants to have done (she's a plastic surgeon). After catching her boyfriend in the shower with another man, she quits her job and leaves Los Angeles to return to Rhode Island and become a family practice doctor in a small clinic.

  • In Allegro, Joseph Taylor, Jr. interns at a Chicago hospital where his friend's uncle is Physician-in-Chief. He originally turns their offer down, but reconsiders after Jenny persuades him that the higher pay will give them the $10,000 his father needs to finish his small-town hospital and let them afford to have a baby. Of course, the big city practice turns out to be focused on sucking up to neurotic rich people than treating patients with serious medical conditions, and Joe ultimately decides to move back to his hometown rather than accept a promotion.

    Video Games 
  • Trauma Center:
    • Inverted in the first installment. When the main character is presented with the opportunity to work at Caduceus, the largest medicine research organization in the world, he actually chooses to go there after deciding that it's worth abandoning his current place (and having a closer relationship with his patients) if it means saving many lives at Caduceus. And starting up the main plot.
    • Played straight in Under the Knife 2, where he declines a cushy desk job at Acropolis Pharmaceuticals in favor of operating in Caduceus. When the Hands of Asclepius decides to join the fight against GUILT, Derek spends less time contemplating before declining the offer to be recruited.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, Doc grew up on the wealthy, technologically-advanced Core World Ralltiir, graduated with honors from the most prestigious medical school in the galaxy, and prefers to put his trauma-doctoring skills to use treating refugees, resistance fighters, and denizens of the underworld rather than take a cushier, more remunerative job and die of boredom.
    "I keep getting offers to go work in a medcenter. And I keep telling the doctors, "No, I like getting shot at!"
  • In the Mass Effect series:
    • In Mass Effect 2, Doctor Chakwas leaves her respectable position at a quiet Mars facility to serve as a doctor aboard the Normandy. If she survives, in Mass Effect 3 she outright objects if Shepard doesn't ask her to leave her position at an Alliance R&D lab to come along. Chakwas claims she prefers to serve aboard a starship because she finds planetside work too static, but speaking with her suggests her true reason for serving on multiple suicide missions is simple loyalty to Shepard and the crew.
    • Mordin, who is a brilliant physician and biologist, is found in Mass Effect 2 running a clinic in a slum on Omega. He cheerfully admits he enjoys the challenge of working with limited resources and considers it important to see the results of his work first-hand. Prior to coming to Omega, Solus led a research team to develop an updated version of the krogan Genophage, where he worked in the most state-of-the-art laboratory with the best and brightest scientists. He actual regards his work on Omega as something of a retirement and enjoys the fact that saving lives isn't as morally grey as his work on the Genophage.
  • In BlazBlue, it is implied that Litchi Faye-Ling could've attained a place in some of the most esteemed research centers due to her intelligence. Instead, she chose to work as a doctor in a backwater town like Orient Town and hangs around with lower-class beings like the Kaka clan, aside of giving her close access to her target (Arakune), she likes it better with the people there and claims that once her quest is done, she'll settle for real in Orient Town rather than seeking a bigger paradiso. This is, however, subverted that due to lack of resources and eventually her own corruption catching up to her, she has no choice but to employ herself into the much grander NOL to have a shot in survival. In the end, it ends up as a double-subversion, after much trials and tribulations, she came to a definitive conclusion about her quest on Arakune... and then fulfilled her promise, settling down in Orient Town and also adopting Platinum with it.
  • The final episode of Hitman (2016): Season One takes place in GAMA private hospital in Hokkaido, Japan, one of the most cutting edge hospitals on Earth. Since it caters to a very wealthy clientele, it looks like a cross between a sci-fi hospital (with an AI overseer) and a Japanese resort (complete with zen garden, hot spring and sushi bar).

    Western Animation 
  • Played for laughs in the Dilbert animated series, where the eponymous character leaves his company to work at the appropriately named NirvanaCo, only to find it too pleasant to tolerate. It helps that he destroys the entire company from within by accidentally introducing standard business practices.