The first season of the new weekly 48 Hours opened in January 1988 with "48 Hours Hospital," which took viewers to the Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.
Bernard Goldberg, Richard Roth, Susan Spencer, Dan Rather, and Robert Arnot reported on everything from the stress on intensive care nurses to the hospital's fiscal bottom line with a speed characteristic of the show. For the Los Angeles Times, Howard Rosenberg described "48 Hours in Parkland Memorial Hospital" as "lickety-split impressions with no core. Very entertaining, not very illuminating." The Chicago Tribune found the show "a curious affair, alternately engrossing and maddening" and bemoaned that the focus was almost entirely on doctors, nurses, and the families of the patients, but not the patients themselves.