Monday, February 8, 2016

"Am I Dying Doctor?": How End-Of-Life Care is Portrayed in Television Medical Dramas | Open Access | OMICS International

This is a fascinating academic study of the portrayal of EOL care on television.

"A total of 68 episodes (in total 48 hours) of television medical dramas were reviewed. We viewed 22 episodes of ER (15 hours), 22 episodes of House (16 hours), and 24 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (17 hours). End-of-life communication We observed 99 events of end-of-life communication between a healthcare professional and patient or loved one (27.3% in ER, 41.4% in Grey’s Anatomy and 31.3% in House) shown in Table 1. Most patients were male adults. In 45.5% of the events a physician initiated a discussion about end-of-life care. The words “death” and “dying” were used in 16.2% and 47.5% of the events, respectively. Chi square tests revealed no significant differences in the use of the words “death” and “dying” between patients, loved ones and healthcare professionals (p>0.05). Other words used when talking about end-of-life care were for example “fatal”, “the heart will stop”, and “nothing we can do”. The most frequently addressed topics were: talking about the possibility of dying, treatment options, and life-sustaining treatments. Patients’ feelings about getting sicker were not discussed at all. In 12.1 % other topics were discussed such as talking about sedation, talking about the fact that the patient has already died, talking about the death of a loved one, talking about a death wish or preferred place of death. Death During the 68 episodes, 27 patients died (59.3% in ER, 33.3% in Grey’s Anatomy and 7.4% in House) Table 3. In general, death was unexpected and patients were surrounded by a physician, loved one and/or nurse. Life-sustaining treatments were shown for 81.5% of the patients who eventually died and mechanical ventilation was discontinued in a minority before death. In only 11.1% of the situations in which patients died there was a reference to an advance directive. Discussion Key findings The present study shows that in television medical dramas healthcare professionals and patients or loved ones talked regularly about end-of-life care. Also CPR and death were frequently portrayed. Discussions about end-of-life care in television medical dramas were mostly initiated by physicians in the presence of patients and loved ones. The most frequently addressed topics were: talking about the possibility of dying, treatment options, and life-sustaining treatments. The immediate success rate of CPR was 51.1%. Death was often unexpected. Usually, a life-prolonging treatment was performed before death. Finally, advance directives were uncommon. "

"Am I Dying Doctor?": How End-Of-Life Care is Portrayed in Television Medical Dramas | Open Access | OMICS International:

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