'Jeopardy!' viewers upset over inaccurate and offensive medical answer

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06/22/2021 UPDATE: On Tuesday, Jeopardy! officially apologized for having used "an outdated and inaccurate term" on Monday's episode.

Yesterday’s program included a clue about postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). After hearing from the community, we found we used an outdated and inaccurate term for this disorder, and we apologize.

— Jeopardy! (@Jeopardy) June 22, 2021

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On Monday's Jeopardy!, one medical question, in particular, did not sit well with many fans who took to social media with their disgust. Coming from a category called Plain-Named Maladies, this was the clue that was read by host Savannah Guthrie

“Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome is also known as Grinch syndrome because this organ is too small.” The correct answer was, "What is the heart?"

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, also known as POTS, is defined by myheart.net as a condition that affects the flow of blood through the body, causing dizziness when standing. It occurs mostly in younger women, and also includes elevated heart rate, extreme fatigue and lightheadedness as other common symptoms. There has also been an uptick in POTS diagnosis in patients who have had COVID-19.

But Jeopardy!’s use of the term "Grinch syndrome," and associating it with having a small heart, which is not currently linked to POTS, both rubbed people the wrong way. One viewer said, “Oh Jeopardy! this is shameful. I have POTS and am sad you would resort to this. How low. And I might add, incredibly incorrect."

Oh @Jeopardy this is shameful. I have POTs and am sad you would resort to this. How low. And I might add, incredibly incorrect. Would you seriously tell a kid he has a condition that makes him Grinch?! I just...can't believe this. #jeopardy https://t.co/9u5GIgdqE2

— Sandy (@NatureGirlTech) June 22, 2021

I don’t see it as hurtful, but it’s extremely unhelpful… Especially since so many are being diagnosed post-Covid. My heart is structurally textbook perfect, so this is just very outdated and confusing.

— Kala Grage (@kalagrage) June 22, 2021

And Dysautonomia International, a nonprofit organization that raises funds for research and promotes awareness of disorders like POTS, sent multiple tweets accusing the show of using a misogynistic term, demanding an apology for the POTS community, and telling the show to "do better."

Hey @Jeopardy no one with any credibility calls POTS "Grinch Syndrome." Promoting outdated misogynistic terms to describe a debilitating autonomic nervous system disorder that impacts millions of Americans is not cool. We request an apology on behalf of our community. Do better.

— Dysautonomia Intl. (@Dysautonomia) June 22, 2021

This story was originally published on June 22, 2021, at 2:09 a.m. ET and has been updated to include Jeopardy!'s apology. 

Jeopardy! airs weeknights, check your local listings.

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