Medicine and the Media.
By the 1980s Americans were much more aware of their role as medical consumers. The growing health-industry conglomerates and the uncertainties of medical practice during the 1970s led to the breakdown of traditional barriers between the paternalistic doctor and the passive, unquestioning patient. In the past the physician controlled information and gave it out to his patient as he thought appropriate. But in the 1980s Americans demanded more direct information about medicine. The media responded with such television entertainment offerings as St. Elsewhere, which provided viewers with portraits of physicians, diseases, and the "medical crisis of the week." Many networks, aware that health information was a high priority with their viewers, also looked for charismatic and articulate medical sources. One of these was the ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson.
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