Are Television Deaths Good Deaths? A Narrative Analysis of Hospital Death and Dying in Popular Medical Dramas
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This study explores death narratives in the popular international medical dramas Grey's Anatomy (USA), Casualty (UK), All Saints (Australia), and E.R. (USA). Using narrative analysis, we characterize death portrayals in terms of the number and causes of the deaths, the types of characters who die, the narrative structures of the deaths, and themes found within the death stories. We then compare characteristics actual patients, physicians, and caregivers identify as important in a death experience with the characteristics of deaths portrayed in medical dramas. Our narrative analysis shows that death narratives in medical dramas lack narrative fidelity with the characteristics of "good" death experiences described in the literature.