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Watching TV is much more than a source of entertainment. Some popular programs have actually saved lives. The next time someone mentions how watching television rots your brain, direct them to this list of 10 shows that came in handy in dire life-or-death situations.

1. ‘The Walking Dead’

This show has no shortage of zombies, death, and gory scenes. But believe it or not, it actually helped a man named Kevin Sutton while he stood outside of a Best Buy store. He overheard an altercation, so he approached to see what was going on. That’s when he saw a man had been shot in the stomach. Using a technique he saw on The Walking Dead, Sutton administered a first aid technique, cleaned the gunshot wound, and applied pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding until the paramedics arrived.

the walking dead

2. ‘X Factor’

Jacqui Gray appeared on the British show X Factor back in 2007. After singing for Simon Cowell and the rest of the judges, Cowell told her, “You have a very odd-sounding voice. Something happens to your throat when you sing… It is quite raspy. It sounds as if you have someone else in there. It sounded like you were choking on something.” She booked an appointment with her doctor and was informed that she had a rare lung disease, and if it had been left untreated, she would’ve died. She thanks the TV program for saving her life despite how harsh they were in critiquing her singing voice.

x factor
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3. ‘Spongebob Squarepants’

A 13-year-old autistic boy rushed to his classmate’s aid after she began choking on an apple. The boy performed the Heimlich maneuver, which he learned from watching an episode of Spongebob Squarepants. Because he had the unique ability to file away information and recall it at a moment’s notice, he was able to jump into action right away to save his classmate’s life.

Spongebob Squarepants
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4. ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

When Sarit Fishbaine was breastfeeding her child, she noticed a lump in her breast. Her doctor told her the lump was probably benign and related to milk in her breast, but six months later, the lump became even larger. After watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where a mom’s lump was also mistaken for milk but turned out to be cancer, she made an appointment with a breast specialist. The examination concluded that she indeed had cancer, as well. If it weren’t for the same storyline on the hit show, Fishbaine wouldn’t have caught her cancer in time. Thankfully, she’s now living life cancer-free.

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5. ‘Good Morning America’

Anchorwoman Amy Robach of Good Morning America had put off having a mammogram for over a year. When one of the show’s producers encouraged her to undergo the preventive procedure on live TV, she was hesitant, but she finally agreed. When she received the results, she was shocked to find out that she had cancer. Her doctor told her the mammogram saved her life, and after undergoing eight rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, she’s now cancer-free.

amy robach

6. ‘Mythbusters’

While driving her daughter to daycare, Theresa Booth hit a patch of ice on the road, and her car slid into a watery ditch. As water began to flow into her car, she crawled into the backseat to unstrap her daughter from her car seat. When the doors wouldn’t open, she panicked. But thankfully, she remembered a scene from MythBusters where host Adam Savage was in a similar situation. She decided to use this technique by waiting until the pressure equalized in the car, and then she was able to easily open one of the doors. She nor her child suffered injuries thanks to MythBusters!


7. ‘The Simpsons’

On an episode of The Simpsons, a chart explaining the life-saving Heimlich maneuver can be a seen in the background of Homer’s nuclear power plant job. A fan of the show remembered the illustrations on the chart when it came time for him to save his friend from choking on a ham sandwich.

the simpsons
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8. ‘ER’

After suffering from crippling migraines, Angela Cooper assumed they were caused by stress. But after watching an episode of ER when the character Mark Greene couldn’t stick out his tongue properly and was later diagnosed with brain cancer, she decided to test herself. She stuck out her tongue and it looked the same as the character’s tongue on the show. She rushed to the emergency room and told them she had brain cancer. After performing a few tests, they confirmed that she had head and neck cancer. After two rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, her cancer is now in remission.

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9. ‘American Horror Story’

A children’s hospital in Boston teamed up with Fractured FX – the special effects company that creates all of the bloody props for shows like American Horror Story. Surgical models that pulsate and pump fake blood surrounded by artificial tissue help doctors and nurses when they’re dealing with the real thing. Their prosthetics are used for training purposes and have undeniably saved many lives.

american horror story

10. ‘House’

A man was dealing with a mixture of symptoms, including blindness, deafness, and a fever. Medical professionals were confused and didn’t know what was wrong with him, except for House fan Dr. Juergen Shaefer. Shaefer recognized the symptoms as cobalt poisoning because he had seen the same ailments described on an episode of the television show. The fact that he was able to provide a diagnosis within five minutes help to save his patient’s life.

house tv show

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