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Who Could Have Been Saved? Your Favorite TV and Movie Characters

January 16, 2015 | Dr. Mary Williams, RN, DC | Comments

I'm an avid TV- and movie-watcher, but I've noticed a disturbing trend lately. It seems that nearly every character I become attached to, whether it's in one of my favorite movies or the latest TV show, ends up dying. I'm beginning to think it's a conspiracy. Sometimes, I feel like there's nothing that could have been done in order to save these characters, but sometimes, I think that with some first aid know-how and CPR, some of my favorites could have pulled through. Below is a list of my most upsetting character deaths (spoilers below!) and whether or not I think they could have pulled through.

Bobby Singer, Supernatural (TV)

Manner of demise: Gunshot to the head

Don't get me wrong; I love the hunky Winchester brothers and the adorably vacant Castiel as much as the next fan girl. But whenever their emotional hysterics irked the heck out of me, Bobby Singer was saying exactly what I wanted to tell them. Over the course of the show, Bobby becomes one of the most important reoccurring characters, and I grew pretty attached to him. When he's shot in the head in season 7 by Leviathan baddie Richard Roman and subsequently falls into a coma and dies from his injuries, at first, I was devastated, and then, I was angry. Considering the utter lack of proper first aid response on the part of the two Winchesters, even though Bobby was conscious on and off despite the injury, I'm not surprised that Bobby passed away. With no wound care, no pressure on the wound to mitigate the bleeding, and no proper CPR, who wouldn't die from that kind of injury? Just a little knowledge could have kept this character alive!

Final prognosis: Could have been saved

Ned Stark, Game of Thrones (TV)

Manner of demise: Beheading

Anyone who has watched Game of Thrones remembers the shocking moment in the first season when Ned Stark dies. Ned is one of the most likable and admirable characters of the season, and for a while, he seemed like the focus of the entire story. But George R.R. Martin loves killing favorite characters the way I love chocolate (and I LOVE chocolate). So just as soon as I had been captivated by Ned's noble and honorable character, he was captured, framed, imprisoned, and then beheaded. Beheading doesn't really leave a lot of room for first aid, as it kind of goes beyond just Band-Aids and gauze, which, unfortunately, makes Ned Stark beyond saving.

Final prognosis: Could not have been saved

Jane Margolis, Breaking Bad (TV)

Manner of demise: Asphyxiation due to drug overdose

I was pulling so hard for Jane. She was a rough-around-the-edges, passionate character, and there was something redemptive and deep about her desire to stay clean and restart her life. I also thought she was perfect for Jesse Pinkman and their dynamic was unique and real. I so wanted to see her survive the series, but like many of the characters in Breaking Bad, Walter White had other ideas. He allowed her to asphyxiate on her own vomit and die, making her death something that could have easily been avoided had he taken the proper steps to keep her alive, like calling 911 and giving her CPR.

Final prognosis: Could have been saved

Dennis Nedry, Jurassic Park (Movie)

Manner of demise: Velociraptor

There's something so incredibly satisfying about characters you love to hate. There is nothing redeeming about grabby, greedy Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park. Unlike some of the other characters in this list, I was actively looking for the moment when he would finally check out for good. Let's just say that between being stranded in a jungle, blinded by poisonous dinosaur spit, and then made into a velociraptor snack, his end was more than fitting, and I'm happy to say that put him way beyond saving.

Final prognosis: Could not have been saved

Maria LaGuerta, Dexter (TV)

Manner of demise: Gunshot wound to the chest

Maria LaGuerta dies after being shot in the chest by Debra Morgan. While normally, a gunshot would like that would be considered pretty serious, it doesn't mean that Maria had to die, especially when Debra is a police officer! In order to get her badge and work, she would have needed to be certified in wound care, field first aid, and CPR. With all of that training, there's no reason why Debra couldn't have saved Maria if she wanted to.

Final prognosis: Could have been saved

Lori Grimes, Walking Dead (TV)

Manner of demise: Bleeding out

Circumstances were just not on Lori Grimes's side, especially when you're talking about trying to have a baby during a zombie apocalypse. I mean, the very words "emergency C-section" and "zombie apocalypse" are two terms that just don't go well together. With the pregnancy, the utter lack of clean, hygienic facilities and proper equipment, the single knife Maggie Greene uses to perform the surgery that would eventually end Lori's life, and, of course, the ongoing zombie apocalypse, the deck was pretty stacked against Lori from the beginning. There was just no way to win when it came to that situation, and unfortunately for Lori, it ended her life.

Final prognosis: Could not have been saved

Jack Dawson, Titanic (Movie)

Manner of demise: Hypothermia/drowning

No avoidable death list is complete without mentioning the death of Jack Dawson in the now-infamous raft scene. Sure, it pulled on the heartstrings even more to have Jack sacrifice himself for Rose, but I'm going to just say it: The raft was big enough for two people! In fact, if he had just climbed on, they could have both lived happily ever after, provided that Rose and Jack knew how to combat hypothermia and stayed warm. Instead, Jack drowns and Rose is left alone to recount the story. This tragic couple could very easily have had a happy ending!

Final prognosis: Could have been saved

Bill, Kill Bill 2 (Movie)

Manner of demise: Heart explosion

When Beatrix Kiddo, a.k.a The Bride, finally makes it to Bill, there's a certain amount of inevitability about what's about to occur next. As a viewer, I was pretty much aware that if Bill didn't die, it would kind of make the title of the movie pretty pointless, and then when she used a technique called the Five-Point-Palm Exploding Heart Technique, it seemed even more final. No matter what, the only way Bill was getting out of that fight was in a wooden box.

Final prognosis: Could not have been saved

Amber Volakis, House (TV)

Manner of demise: Amantadine poisoning

In every medical drama, there has to be at least one death that didn't have to occur but does due to oversight or accident. In House, the unlucky winner of this honor is Amber Volakis, who unfortunately becomes one more victim of Dr. House's vices. First of all, Dr. House gets drunk and requires a chaperone to get him home. Amber, his best friend's girlfriend and a fellow doctor, decides to help him out and unluckily is involved in a huge bus crash as a result. Further complicating this is that the trauma to her body in a freak combination with a flu medication causes her to have multiple organ failure, which, by the time it's detected, is fatal. There are a number of factors here that make this death one that could have easily been prevented.

Final prognosis: Could have been saved

Jack Sheppard, Lost (TV)

Manner of demise: Stabbing

It's amazing that sometimes, shows that are amazingly intelligent often forget key abilities that their characters have. This is definitely the case during Jack Sheppard's final exit from Lost. When Jack Sheppard is stabbed in the neck and side by the Man in Black, he just lies down and lets death happen. Perhaps he forgot that he was a surgeon and as a result would be well-acquainted with the first aid steps he needed to take in order to give himself a fighting chance at survival. As a result, his death could have definitely been avoided.

Final prognosis: Could have been saved

Jaws, Jaws (Movie)

Manner of demise: Death by oxygen tank

Maybe it's some of the cheesy lines or the overacting that make me really root for the shark in this film, but I can't help myself. I want the shark to win every time and just eat everyone! Alas, Jaws's eyes were a little bit too big for his stomach. In the middle of eating a ship, he decides to snack on a pressurized scuba tank, giving Brody time to get his rifle and shoot the tank so that Jaws quickly is turned into glorified tuna bits floating on the top of the ocean. Unfortunately, when it came to this film, I was once again disappointed because there was no way the shark could have survived… until they made Jaws 2 and 3.

Final prognosis: Could not have been saved


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