Today’s general hospitals are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide around-the-clock emergency care and the provision of daily medically necessary healthcare services. In addition, many provide wellness and other specialty care. They are also often a source of research and education for the local community and beyond. Hospitals are complex institutions with a vast array of patient-facing and behind-the-scenes personnel. Staffing levels can be difficult to measure because the numbers do not take into account how sick each individual patient is, which affects how many “hours per patient day” each bed needs.
The first stories of the daytime drama General Hospital, which premiered on April 1, 1963, were set in a fictional midsized Eastern town with an unnamed general hospital. In later years, headwriters Eileen and Robert Mason Pollock gave the setting a name – Port Charles. The show was ABC’s most enduring soap opera and the longest-running serial produced in Hollywood.
While it had its fair share of problems, including a ratings decline as rival NBC’s Another World soared in popularity, the show survived to celebrate 60 years in 2017. In that time, it has been nominated for countless awards and won an astounding number of Daytime Emmys.
In the early years, storylines focused on a physician named Steve Hardy and his turbulent relationship with Nurse Jessie Brewer. The show soon became known for its diverse cast of characters, from the wealthy Quartermaine family to the mysterious Cassandra Drake and feisty Dr. Anna DiMera.
Some general hospitals are formally designated as teaching facilities, while others have an informal role as training centers. When a hospital is a teaching facility, it provides clinical training for students in various health professions. In addition, these hospitals often serve as a resource for the community by providing up-to-date and specialized therapeutic measures that are not available elsewhere.
Despite its long run, General Hospital never enjoyed the massive success of a few other daytime dramas. The series faced a ratings battle with NBC’s soap opera The Doctors, which was a huge hit, and NBC’s To Tell the Truth, both of which drew in more viewers. Eventually, the series struggled to maintain its viewership and, in 1979, ABC was ready to cancel it.
The network reconsidered and decided to bring it back, but the ratings were still not strong enough to allow it to reclaim its slot against The Doctors. The show remained on the air until 1995, when it was canceled again. In the 1990s, a network of independent cable and satellite companies picked up the rights to air the show.
General Hospital has been filmed at the Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood, California since its first episode. It moved to the Prospect studios in the 1980s. The show is currently filmed at the CBS Studios in Los Angeles, California. General Hospital is broadcast Monday through Friday on ABC and on Hulu. A special tribute to Sonya Eddy, who died in November, will be aired this week.