Hospital Paradiso

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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 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 World of Cardboard Speech coming after a long period of confusion, where the appearance of Hospital Paradiso provides a clear dichotomy in his path and makes him realise his real desires.

Compare Limited Advancement Opportunities.

Examples of Hospital Paradiso include:

Anime and Manga

  • Every non-islander in Dr. Koto 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.


  • 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.

Live-Action TV

  • ER—Mark Greene plays the trope straight as an arrow, 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 is, 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.
  • Inverted in House, where 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 (WTF), the waiting room for the free clinic is outside the Chief of Medicine's office (double WTF) 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. Not to mention that House's (double) office is a few times larger than any realistic doctor's office, complete with glass walls. So Yeah.
    • And they still pull this plot out of the playbook occasionally when it comes to the ducklings, mainly by having the temptation be 'better pay' or 'not having to work for House'.
    • For example, 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.
  • 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, with lower levels 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 (television): Hawkeye is offered a job as personal physician to a General. When he declines, the General refuses to take no for an answer.
  • 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.
      • Well, yes, but he then 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 OC 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 seems to have settled into his job at Goliath National Bank pretty well at this point.
    • And the earth really pays for it if future ted is to believed.
    • As of season 7, he's 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. 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.

Video Games

  • Subverted in the first Trauma Center installment. When the main character is presented with the opportunity to work on 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 on Caduceus.
  • 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. Mordin cheerfully admits he enjoys the challenge of working with limited resources and considers it important to see the results of his work first-hand.
  • 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.

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.