Surgery Saved My Life TV Poster Image

Surgery Saved My Life



Real health dramas make good medicine.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show's focus is on helping people feel better and live healthy lives.


Some surgical operations can be quite bloody and require forceful pulling, squeezing, and stretching.


Some naked body parts, but nothing sexually suggestive; no genitals.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this intense reality show focuses on patients undergoing surgery in life-threatening situations. Viewers learn, in detail, why a person's life is at risk. In one show about spine surgery, for example, viewers find out how a deformed spine presses in on the lungs, making it hard for the patient to breathe. Subjects are sometimes children, making the situations even more emotional. Scenes from the surgery include close-up shots of the inside of bodies, including shots of blood, bone, and organs.

Parents say

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What's the story?

The documentary-style series SURGERY SAVED MY LIFE follows people with life-threatening diseases or injuries as they undergo surgery and face the serious physical risks and emotional repercussions of their procedures. In addition to the personal stories, viewers get all the details of the surgeries themselves -- both by watching the actual operations (complete with bloody close-ups) and through digital representations of the repairs. The stories are often intense and emotional, as in one episode that introduced viewers two children stricken with scoliosis -- one living in New York and the other in Sierra Leone. The children have the same surgeon, who grew up poor in Ghana, and while the doctor is equally kind to both his young patients, viewers can't help but feel the sharp contrast in the type of medical care received by the two children because of their environments.

Is it any good?


Teens interested in medicine or social issues -- as well as those with any familiarity with disease or serious injury -- may well be fascinated by this well-made program. And even those without a connection to the issue might find the personal stories compelling. That said, due to the emotional nature of the life-or-death situations, parents may want to watch along with their kids (or at least be on hand to comfort and explain as necessary) and consider keeping especially sensitive children away all together.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about medicine and science. What aspects of medicine do teens find most fascinating? Are there any budding doctors in the house? What part of practicing medicine would be the most fulfilling? The most challenging? What surgical methods or instruments seem the most technologically advanced? Which seem the most crude? Do you think real-life medical problems belong on TV?

TV details

Premiere date:November 30, 2006
Cast:Dominic Bakewell, Gretchen Miller, Jade Gzi
Network:Discovery Channel
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14

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Teen, 13 years old Written byPoisonrocks October 9, 2012


so appropiate!
Adult Written April 9, 2008


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