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USA, 2013, 81 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Medical/Health
Program: DocumentaryLanguage: English
DIRECTOR: Ryan McGarry
Producer: Linda Goldstein KnowltonEditor: Joshua AltmanScreenwriter: Ryan McGarry, Joshua AltmanCinematographer: Nelson Hume
How doctors protect their own ideals in the contentious business of health care is the central question of this timely and riveting documentary. The film follows a group of young, energetic doctors battling an overburdened health-care system while training in the trauma bay at Los Angeles County General Hospital. The opening scene takes place in the ER on a typical day in 2008. More than 500 patients, many of whom have already been rejected by other hospitals because they could not pay, wait up to 18 hours while doctors deal with the most severe, life-threatening injuries.
The pace is pounding, the images graphic, and the place is filled with medical professionals who want to see another person make it through. But changes at a bureaucratic level will suddenly reframe the issue of saving lives into a complex socioeconomic problem. In a desperate attempt to hang onto their idealism, the young doctors invade the waiting room and shortcut the intake process. But the new method cannot hold in the face of economic realities. The only thing that remains constant is the number of people waiting for care.
This unfiltered look at a system breaking down under the weight of unfunded medical needs—despite the efforts of some of the brightest and most caring people in the world—mirrors the situation all Americans find themselves in as health-care demands grow. The film was spearheaded and directed by physician Ryan McGarry, a first-time filmmaker passionate about his calling.
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