by Mary Burgan
This week Mary the Borderstan Movie Fan makes some recommendations about health care movies. Mary’s column will run every two weeks and her next one is on high school musicals.
There has been so much debate about health care recently that I decided to seek enlightenment by reviewing movies about hospitals and doctors. I ordered Sicko, for example, even though Michael Moore’s documentaries always make me uneasy.
In addition, I also took out the 1971 Paddy Chayevsky/Arthur Hiller film The Hospital. Although the two are almost thirty years apart, they point to similar problems, but they do so in different ways.
The Hospital opens with a swirling scene from a big-city E.R. and then introduces us to the George C. Scott character, an over-worked and conscience-stricken doctor, trying to cope with it all. Before it becomes a fantastic murder mystery, the film reflects many of the health care problems that people face today: over-crowded ERs, very few non-specialist docs, reliance on part-time medical staff who hardly know the history of their patients, nursing staff tried beyond their endurance. M*A*S*H, the other notable medical film from the same period, features equal chaos in a medical setting, but it had better surgeons, whose irony is seasoned by their skill in actually saving lives. (more…)