Any who doubt or wonder why so many Americans need help getting health insurance should watch The Waiting Room on PBS. This composite film of a day in the life of a struggling “safety-net” hospital in Oakland, California offers many short but poignant looks at some of the 250 patients who daily crowd and overwhelm the understaffed, under-funded and under-equipped ER at Highland Hospital. Most of those patients depend on that ER not only for emergency but also for primary care, and the great majority – poor, working poor and middle-class alike – are uninsured, either because they can’t afford it or were denied coverage.
The Waiting Room airs on most PBS stations at 10 pm Eastern, Monday, October 21. CPTV has not scheduled a showing, but Connecticut viewers who can tune in PBS stations in New York or Boston can watch it when it airs Monday night.
The pace and tension at Highland Hospital is more like that seen on M*A*S*H than on Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Hope or ER. It is frantic and never ends, and the doctors and nurses daily face a flood of patients not just with gunshot wounds and broken bones from accidents but also those suffering from diabetes, cancer, substance abuse, depression and the flu – and that is just in one typical day. Although the individual portraits are compiled from a five-month period of filming by director Peter Nicks, nurses Liz Lynch and Cynthia Johnson and Dr. Douglas White explain that what Nicks presents could be the story of any, or every day, in their embattled urban hospital.
The Waiting Room is part of the PBS Indies Showcase, and was directed, and produced by Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Peter Nicks, who along with his crew spent five months in 2010 at Highland Hospital. Nicks knows the hospital intimately, as his wife is a speech therapist there, and it was out of her daily stories of the drama, pathos and occasional humor she found at her work.
The Waiting Room airs on PBS at 10 pm Eastern, Monday, October 21, and can be seen on-line at pbs.org/indpendentlens..
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Mark G. McLaughlin is a Connecticut-based free lance journalist and game designer with over 30 years of experience as a ghost-writer and columnist. An author whose first published book was Battles of the American Civil War, and whose games include the Mr. Lincoln’s War set, Mark continues to be enthralled by stories from the age of Lincoln. To view Mark's 16th published design, the American Civil War Naval strategy game Rebel Raiders on the High Seas, visit his publisher at http://www.gmtgames.com/p-238-rebel-raiders-on-the-high-seas.aspx
…or his blog at http://markgmclaughlin.blogspot.com/
Mark’s latest work, the science fiction adventure novel Princess Ryan's Star Marines, is available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle e-book formats at http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Ryans-Star-Marines-Save/dp/1466218487/ref...
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