Commentary GH

General Hospital Makes A Mockery Of Cancer With Willow’s Medical Miracle

Willow Tait should have thought about the GH child she had at home.

general hospital had willow tait looking mad in her hospital bedWillow Tait should have thought about the child she had at home.

From the start, there has been something tone-deaf and off with the way General Hospital has handled Willow’s cancer-ridden pregnancy, and the happy Hallmark movie miracle ending she got just reeks of irresponsibility.

General Hosptial Misses A Big Opportunity

When TJ (Tajh Bellow) first told Willow (Katelyn MacMullen) she was pregnant when it was clear there was also something else going on with her body, we thought the soap might take a chance and give us a pro-choice story with a woman who desperately wanted a child, but uncontrollable circumstances forced her to terminate. After all, in the real world, Roe v. Wade had just been overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, and states across the country were enacting archaic laws that forced some women to go without cancer treatment just because they were pregnant.

With GH taking place in New York, a state where women can still have abortions and get their cancer treated on their own terms, it was a perfect chance for the soap to explore the agonizing decision women have to make every day when they decide they need to live for the child or children they still have at home. Instead, we got Willow, a woman who didn’t think of the little boy who calls her Mommy and then refused cancer treatment for months for fear of hurting an embryo.

On top of that, she didn’t even bother telling Michael she had cancer until she realized she had reached stage 4, all of her own doing by treating her cancer like an afterthought and refusing to fight it for so long.

Willow Needed To Whisper Her Cancer

To make matters worse, once Michael (Chad Duell) knew she was sick, she didn’t want to tell anyone else for fear that people might look at her funny and treat her differently, as if she lived in 1923 when cancer was considered a dirty word that people whispered in corners.

Even when she learned she needed a bone marrow transplant, she still refused to reveal the truth about her condition despite the fact that everyone she knew could have gotten tested to see if they were a bone marrow match. It was as if Willow had already decided to die despite soon having two children who would need her.

General Hospital Sends A Dangerous Message

Make no bones about it — what Willow did was stupid — plain and simple. Cancer is not something to be played around with, and early detection and early treatment are the best ways to beat this deadly disease. If you neglect your cancer and refuse treatment, you usually die, but Willow will not because she got a perfect miracle.

It turns out that in Port Charles, if you are pregnant and learn you have leukemia, it’s perfectly acceptable to refuse treatment and just wait until your baby reaches viability so you can get stem cells from the child’s cord and have a miracle cure delivered in a flash. Why would any pregnant woman with leukemia ever choose treatment when she can just get herself to death’s door and then wait for her baby’s stem cells to be available?

While Willow’s cure is a medical possibility, it is not how things usually work, and when a person refuses chemotherapy for months on end, stage 4 cancer will eventually take their life. However, on GH, it means you get a Hallmark movie ending with a trip to the light and back included. Yes, this is a soap opera, but no, a soap should never, ever tell a pregnancy and cancer story like this again.

General Hospital airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest GH spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.

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