American society centers on individualism, celebrating personal choice even at the expense of collective progress. As part of this emphasis on agency, Americans value freedom for health decisions, and individual health professionals and consumers are held responsible for the nation’s health, often at the expense of improving the overall healthcare system. Such individualistic discourse, disseminated and reinforced through American media, has created resistance and hostility toward health policy initiatives such as the Affordable Care Act and other legislation aimed to improve American healthcare. Television and Health Responsibility in an Age of Individualism examines the relationship between entertainment and health responsibility in the United States. Through the analysis of contemporary television medical dramas, Foss explores how these media texts help shape and perpetuate ideologies that have and continue to encourage resistance to healthcare reform that shifts responsibility away from individuals to government and other institutions.
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About the Author
Katherine A. Foss is associate professor in the College of Mass Communication at Middle Tennessee State University.
Table of Contents
Preface: The Suspension of Disbelief and Medical Drama
Chapter 1: The Health Responsibility Paradox and Televised Medical Dramas
Chapter 2: The Doctor as Reaper, Hero, and Flawed Professional: Early American Medicine and its Shifting Representations
Chapter 3: “I have my hand on a bomb. I’m freaking out. And most importantly, I really have to pee.”: American Health Care, 1970s–2000s and its Flawed Heroes
Chapter 4: “When we make mistakes, people die!” (Or do they?): TV Medical Errors and the Code of Silence
Chapter 5: “If you had only. . .”: “Preventable” Conditions and Patient Responsibility
Chapter 6: “But Dr., I read online that. . .”: Patient Responsibility for “Non-preventable” Conditions
Chapter 7: Beyond Medical Dramas: Connecting Media to Contemporary Health Care