General Hospital (Emmy Award-Winning Daytime Soap)

general hospital

When it comes to daytime soaps, nobody does it better than ABC’s Emmy Award-winning General Hospital. Filmed in Hollywood, California, GH has been on the air for over 60 years and is one of only four surviving ABC daytime dramas. It is also the longest-running scripted drama and holds the record for most Outstanding Daytime Drama wins with 13 Emmys to its credit.

The show centers on the residents of Port Charles, a fictionalized town in New York’s Hudson Valley. Its storylines focus on the Quartermaine family — Skye (Robin Christopher), her brothers A.J. and Jason, father Alan, and stepmother Monica — as well as mob boss Michael Corinthos’ family, including his wife Carly (Laura Wright) and sons Curtis and Franco. Other prominent characters include mobster Steve Burton, astrologer Felicia Wells, and a former lover of Luke Spencer named Jill Quartermaine.

As the show has evolved, the hospital setting has become less central to its narrative. Nevertheless, the psychiatric unit remains a key character in the overall storyline. This is partly due to the continuing development of psychiatric treatments. In the latter decades of the 20th century, discoveries in brain sciences, immunology, imaging and genetics have enhanced psychiatry’s acceptance as a part of medicine. At the same time, psychopharmacology has augmented its relevance to mind-body dilemmas, such as those raised by theories of transference, countertransference and negative therapeutic reaction.

Another reason for psychiatry’s growing acceptance as a medical specialty is the emergence of community mental health. Moral opposition to the warehousing of patients led in the 1950s to a movement to close or make smaller the large state psychiatric hospitals. This was further enhanced by the emergence of psychopharmacology, which made it possible to treat many chronic psychiatric patients in the general hospital setting.

GH is not immune from problems, such as the fact that it has 50 to 80 “boarders” every night — patients who need inpatient beds but are waiting to be discharged from the Emergency Department. This leads to long wait times and delays for other patients seeking inpatient care.

Despite the challenges, there are still some things that keep fans coming back to GH, such as the show’s unforgettable characters and compelling stories. GH is also famous for its guest stars, with past appearances by such luminaries as a pre-Star Wars Mark Hamill and pre-Suits Meghan Markle.