Twenty-Eight Years After the General Hospital Death That Just About Killed Viewers, We Look Back Through Red-Rimmed Eyes
One look at his beloved daughter, and Tony knew: She was gone.
“Where is she?” cried Bobbie Jones in the General Hospital episode that aired on May 16, 1994. She’d heard that daughter B.J.’s school van had been in an accident, and her little girl had been hurt. She had to get to her, even if that meant pushing past Dr. Steve Hardy to do so.
But the prognosis was not good. When Bobbie’s estranged husband, Dr. Tony Jones, examined B.J., her fate was written across his anguished face, the tears underlining what was obvious. His daughter’s pupils were unresponsive, her brain actually showing through her skull. The battle to save her had been lost before it could even be begun.
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When finally Tony stepped away, trying in vain to control his breathing, Bobbie approached him. “Don’t touch me,” he barked. Earlier that very day, he’d caught her in the arms of another man, lowlife mobster Damian Smith. So Tony was there for his daughter, not Bobbie, and he wouldn’t accept comfort or anything else from his wife in that terrible moment.
Later, even after Dr. Perez confirmed that B.J. had no chance to pull through, Bobbie wouldn’t give up. “The brain can recover function after severe trauma,” she argued.
And it was true — it could. But in BJ’s case, “she’s dead,” said Tony, the words twisting the knife that had implanted itself in his chest.
“Her heart is still beating,” wept Bobbie. “Look at her!”
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Tony didn’t need to do that. Instead, he explained to Bobbie that their daughter was a match for her desperately ill cousin. As such, “I want Maxie to have B.J.’s heart,” he said.
Bobbie reacted as if struck. “Oh no,” she gasped, her voice filled with horror. “No. No! It’s too soon!”
“It may be too late,” Tony countered, “if we don’t act quickly for Maxie.”
Bobbie wasn’t ready to hear this. She couldn’t hear this. She wanted a second opinion. “You know what massive brain damage means,” Tony reminded her. “You’re a nurse.”
“I’m a mother,” she sobbed.
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As patiently as a husband scorned could, Tony pointed out that the only thing keeping B.J.’s body going was the ventilator. “It’s buying time for a miracle,” Bobbie pleaded as much as said.
“There won’t be any miracle,” he answered.
“You don’t know that!” she spat. “You’re not God!”
True. But Tony was a brilliant doctor and a practical person. It was too late to save B.J., but they could still save Maxie. Bobbie wondered aloud whether this was just his vicious way of punishing her for the clinch he’d seen earlier. It wasn’t. “This is not about you or me,” he insisted. “It’s about life or death.
“B.J. is dead,” he continued. “Maxie’s dying. We don’t have time to debate this… Accept it before another little girl dies.”
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At last, Bobbie acquiesced, setting the stage for the heart transplant that kept Frisco and Felicia’s daughter alive. To this day, the scenes rank among the most moving in not only soap but television history. They earned both Brad Maule and Jacklyn Zeman Emmy nominations. And they led to what was debatably an even more poignant moment: the one in which Tony stole into Maxie’s surgery after the operation and listened to his little girl’s heart (sniffle) beating in (sob) her cousin’s (OMG) chest.
Yeah, we’re a little verklempt, too. So why not go all the way, grab the tissues and peruse the below photo gallery of soaps’ all-time saddest deaths? We probably don’t need to tell you which one is in the top spot, right?
Video: YouTube/Judy Beck