FRONTLINE examined the difficult and emotional decisions that families confront when their loved one is gravely ill, and the complicated reality of dying in an era of modern medicine. (Aired 2010)
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In this 2010 documentary, FRONTLINE gained access to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of one of New York’s biggest hospitals. The filmmakers found doctors and nurses struggling to guide families through a maze of end-of-life choices that had become available: whether to pull feeding and breathing tubes, when to perform expensive surgeries and therapies and when to call for hospice. The documentary presented intimate portraits of patients grappling with the trade-offs of modern medicine and the prospect of dying.
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FRONTLINE is produced at GBH in Boston and airs nationwide on PBS.
Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Additional funding is provided by the Abrams Foundation; Park Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation, and additional support from Koo and Patricia Yuen.
Prologue - 00:00
Life and Death Decisions in an Intensive Care Unit - 1:13
Extending Life or Prolonging Death? A Family Decides on Life Support - 11:01
The Uncertainty of Disease Progression v. Medical Innovation - 16:51
Talking About End-of-Life Care and Options - 32:37
The Trade-Offs of Advances in Medicine- 47:33
Credits - 51:38