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FRONTLINE; Facing Death


Facing Death

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Facing Death
Program Number

2904 HD 001

Series Description

Premiered January 1983 Since January 1983, FRONTLINE has served as American public television's - PBS - flagship public affairs series. Hailed upon its television broadcast debut as "the last best hope for broadcast documentaries," FRONTLINE's stature over 23 years is reaffirmed each week through incisive documentaries covering the scope and complexity of the human experience. Series release date: 1/1983

Program Description

How far would you go to sustain the life of someone you love or your own? When the moment comes and you are confronted with the prospect of "pulling the plug," do you know how you'll respond? Unfounded rumors of federal "death panels" grabbed headlines last summer, but the real decisions of how we die -- the questions that most of us prefer to put off -- are being made quietly behind closed doors, increasingly on the floors of America's intensive care units. In this film, FRONTLINE gains access to the ICU of one of New York's biggest hospitals to examine the complicated reality of today's modern, medicalized death. Here, we find doctors and nurses struggling to guide families through the maze of end-of-life choices they now confront: whether to pull feeding and breathing tubes, when to perform expensive surgeries and therapies or to call for hospice. The film also offers an unusually intimate portrait of patients facing the prospect of dying in ways that they might never have wanted or imagined.

Working Title: Critical Care

A FRONTLINE production with Mead Street Films, LLC





Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Public Affairs
Chicago: “FRONTLINE; Facing Death,” 11/23/2010, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 23, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_457ADE99E22E4F919554272FD4A007E5.
MLA: “FRONTLINE; Facing Death.” 11/23/2010. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 23, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_457ADE99E22E4F919554272FD4A007E5>.
APA: FRONTLINE; Facing Death. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_457ADE99E22E4F919554272FD4A007E5
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