Doctor-Patient Relationships in American Hospital Dramas

As a television genre, hospital drama has been popular since the 1950’s, and it has evoked a considerable media and academic interest since then. The paper overviews the general characteristics of these series and the main directions their academic studies have taken. By focusing on the characteristics of doctor-patient relationships, the article then provides a content analysis of Grey’s Anatomy; the popular ABC-produced American prime-time hospital series that currently has thirteen complete seasons. This series focuses on surgical cases. The protagonists represent various surgical fields and occupy different professional positions in the hospital hierarchy. Patients of the presented fictional hospital can be categorised in several ways – these categories will be introduced in this study. The analysis also focuses on physicians’ efforts to save the lives of their patients. As it seems, these television doctors are willing to cross boundaries if at stake is the patient’s life. They are ready to overcome legal-ethical, scientific and economic barriers; and, in some cases, doctors and patients develop intimate emotional relationships. All these points are illustrated by storylines, characters and scenes from the series, and their messages and potential effects on the audience are also analysed.

Released: Replika 105, 69–82.
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