Top Ways to Die in TV Hospitals

Death by heroism, redemption kill scores on doctor shows
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2009 3:00 PM CDT
Top Ways to Die in TV Hospitals
In this 1998 file photo, the cast of ER is shown.   (AP Photo)

In honor of ER meeting its end tonight, NPR looks at the lesson-giving, plot-driven ways most guest characters meet theirs on such medical TV dramas. A few of the most common:

  • Death by heroism. Saving a dog, old person, or otherwise vulnerable individual can drastically increase a character’s chances of death by heroism.
  • A terrible secret. Characters commonly die from terrible secrets—usually the secrets themselves are not deadly but actions to conceal the secret—by, say, withholding information from Dr. House, usually are.

  • Redemption. A crotchety character who hates mankind but, in the course of his hospitalization, meets a sunny-side-up type who changes his whole outlook is in terrible danger of dying of redemption.
  • A physician who does not love life. The deadliest mistake a TV hospital patient can make is choosing a physician who does not appreciate something in his life, especially a loved one. Such a patient will likely die to teach said physician a lesson, and die alone or in otherwise wretched circumstances, to make the lesson more poignant.
Click the link for more ways to kick the bucket on TV.
(Read more hospital stories.)

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