Distributor:  Bullfrog Films
Length:  82 minutes
Date:  2013
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English
Grade level: 10 -12, College, Adults
Color/BW:  Color
Closed captioning available
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The Waiting Room

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A day in the life of a public hospital's ER waiting room captures what it means for millions of Americans to live without health insurance.

The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room is a character-driven documentary film that uses extraordinary access to go behind the doors of an American public hospital struggling to care for a community of largely uninsured patients. The film - using a blend of cinema verite and characters' voiceover - offers a raw, intimate, and even uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers each cope with disease, bureaucracy and hard choices.

The ER waiting room serves as the grounding point for the film, capturing in vivid detail what it means for millions of Americans to live without health insurance. We witness the minute-by-minute Sisyphean struggle that plagues public hospitals, where emergency rooms have to field the overwhelming health care needs of the inner city. Young victims of gun violence take their turn alongside artists and small business owners who lack insurance. The film weaves the stories of several patients - as well as the hospital staff charged with caring for them - as they cope with the complexity of the nation's public health care system, while weathering the storm of a national recession.

The Waiting Room lays bare the struggle and determination of both a community and an institution coping with limited resources and no road map for navigating a health care landscape marked by historic economic and political dysfunction. It is a film about one hospital, its multifaceted community, and how our common vulnerability to illness binds us together as humans.

'An excellent, riveting documentary, revealing the raw compassion of health care providers trying their best to deliver care in a broken safety-net system. The Waiting Room offers a glimpse into the struggles of patients who are terrified about not only the crisis that brought them into the emergency department, but how they are going to pay for the care once they leave.' Dr. Karoline Mortensen, Assistant Professor of Health Services Administration, University of Maryland

'Public hospital emergency departments are the `safety net' of a fragmented and dysfunctional U.S. health care system. The Waiting Room depicts the experiences of people with severe and chronic illnesses who have no other options for care, and of the health care providers who are overwhelmed by the volume and acuity of patients seeking help. This film may inform health policy debates by illustrating the human aspects of seeking safety-net care.' Dr. Benjamin Sun, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University

'The Waiting Room shows the human side of the failings of the US health care system, and the heroic efforts of health professionals trying to patch together solutions to human sufferings attributed to a dysfunctional health care system. This is a compelling case for health reform.' Dr. Michael R. Cousineau, Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine, Director of the Center for Community Health Studies, University of Southern California

'The Waiting Room compellingly weaves together stories of caregivers and clients to tell a larger story of healthcare crisis. Useful for students, medical staff, caregivers, and policymakers, it is also a well-told tale and one of the most accomplished examples of cinema verite filmmaking in recent history.' Patricia Aufderheide, Center for Social Media, American University

'Powerfully real. A striking reality check of what it means to have a fragmented health care. The Waiting Room provides a glimpse into a world where it is hard to be a good health professional in a dysfunctional system, no matter how much you care.' Dr. David Rakel, Founder and Director, Integrative Medicine Program, Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin

'Harrowing...[An] up-close and personal glimpse of just how dysfunctional the current U.S. health care system is...Vividly unforgettable...Highly recommended.' The Midwest Book Review

'Highly Recommended...Unlike other recent documentaries that have attempted to expose or analyze particular problems in our dysfunctional US healthcare system, this film does not have a focused polemical political agenda or message. Instead it attempts to simply confront the viewer with the kinds of human suffering that a better organized and more equitable system might avoid...The film will be most suitable for college or university students or well-educated adults concerned about the future of our healthcare system.' Gary D. Byrd, University at Buffalo - SUNY, Educational Media Reviews Online

'Anyone who has ever wound up in the emergency room of an urban hospital will surely recognize the human drama on display...Highly recommended.' Video Librarian

'Of all the memorable films on offer at Silverdocs, the most haunting by far is The Waiting Room...Engrossing...As The Waiting Room makes clear...the lines between wealth and poverty keep shifting, virtually before our eyes.' Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

'Introduces you to some remarkable characters and also makes some terrifying points about the use of emergency care as a substitute for - or a consequence of the lack of - proper primary care.' Linda Holmes, National Public Radio

'Peter Nicks had extraordinary access to the people in and around the waiting room of a public hospital in Oakland. But what makes this a classic, and a work of art and not journalism, is his taste, his poetic touches, and his talent for understatement.' Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

'The Waiting Room is, by virtue of the experiences it documents, an irrefutable argument for the necessity of universal health care, here and now. The movie depicts real human beings, every one of them deserving better than what they get...In a year of exceptionally strong documentaries, The Waiting Room is one of the most urgent and effective.' Amy Taubin, Artforum International Magazine

'As nail-biting as any Hollywood thriller...riveting...Shows us why our country's health care system is very much in tatters.' Tribeca Film Institute

'A rare fly-on-the-wall look inside an overwhelmed and at times overwhelming system and its impact on patients and staff.' Jeffrey Brown, PBS News Hour

'Cutting across race, culture, and class, the film inhabits a remarkably broad cross-section of American urban life...The Waiting Room doesn't simply shed light on a broken healthcare system; like the best dramas, it humbly illuminates the human condition without narration or agenda. When strings swell up for the first time in the film's final moments, it's a catharsis that's well-earned.' Ryan Little, Washington City Paper

'A rock-solid verite docu...Its clear-eyed, well-crafted observation makes it plain Americans deserve a better system than this.' Dennis Harvey, Variety

'Astounding and moving...The cinema verite realism hits home, remaining personal while hinting at broad structural deficiencies (and strengths, by the way) in the nation's health care system. This movie will stay with you.' G. Allen Johnson, SF Gate
'The Waiting Room does two wonderful things...It takes a tedious situation and fills it with human emotion and real heart...The second, and perhaps most wonderful detail of the film, is the way it leaves the audience with a measure of hope...The hope comes from the people who continue to be there for us when we need them most. People who come back day after day with a positive attitude, and work tirelessly to help us.' Ryan McNeil, The Matinee

'When you see The Waiting Room, you are made aware that rationing is already at work, whether the illness is cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, drunkenness, or kidney disease...This is documentary as distilled observation. It's also as strong an argument for universal health care that I've seen in years.' David D'Arcy, Indiewire

'The film's intimate perspective, that of people who have nowhere else to go, brings a seemingly intractable political problem to the social level, rendering it a human problem.' Elien Becque, HealthCetera blog, Center for Health Media and Policy at Hunter College

'Everyone would be able to relate to this movie. Not everyone will relate to having no healthcare coverage, but everyone can understand what it is like to feel powerless for a child's health, or fearful for one's own life. This movie reaches the core of the human experience: life and death.' Brooke Shunatona, Vox Magazine, The Missourian

'[A] well-done depiction of why our health care system is so expensive and still produces lousy outcomes.' Bob Geary, Independent Weekly

'By turning his lens on the faces of the frustrated potential patients and the harried doctors and nurses who do their best with the resources they have, Nicks is able to make a simple, graceful point that so many political pundits and politicians have been arguing over for years: the healthcare system in the US is broken and many, many citizens are paying the price, sometimes with their lives.' Kristal Cooper, Toronto Film Scene

'The Waiting Room underscores with tender humanity one of the more expensive failures of our swiss-cheese health-care system: ERs have replaced preventive-care, chronic- care and primary-care physicians as the first (and only) stop for medical attention for too many Americans.' Lisa Kennedy, The Denver Post

'An engrossing documentary...A cautionary tale about the risk of allowing profit to take precedence over human suffering.' Bruce DeMara, Toronto Star

'The film is a real reveal about America's great health divide: the haves and have nots.' Jennifer Merin, About.com

'The cross section of life that drifts in and out is specific to the Bay Area's utopia in one sense - every race you can imagine seeking help and providing it...But that diversity is an indication of how, ideally, the so-called social safety net catches us all...Nicks isn't lobbying. He's storytelling. The aggregation of those stories becomes its own editorial.' Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

'For hard-edged documentary snap with the all-important local angle, it would be hard to beat this film...Completely absorbing...Recommended.' Kelly Vance, East Bay Express

'A highly insightful experience, one that's simple and powerful...Tap[s] into the heart and soul of what's so critically at stake.' Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News

'Weav[es] expertly selected and edited stories of patients and staff into a representative fabric of urban health issues...[An] exemplary specimen of highly effective cinema verite.' Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly

'It's a small-scale story that nevertheless speaks volumes about the larger problems facing American healthcare...Nicks effectively moves the ongoing debate over America's healthcare system out of the realm of budgets and taxes and instead asks viewers to consider the men and women whose lives would be improved by reform.' Ethan Alter, Film Journal International

'Peter Nicks puts faces, names, and heartbreakingly relatable stories to a social problem that can all too often feel abstract and academic. His film isn't just a timely and compelling look into how our health-care system consistently, methodically fails the poor: It's a tribute of the resilience and dignity of the human spirit without being sappy or sentimental.' Nathan Rabin, AV Club

'It's the reality of recession America, the reality of a nation that spends more per capita on healthcare than any other major democracy and gets worse results. Still, in a peculiar way The Waiting Room is a source of both inspiration and hope. The system may be broken, but the people are not.' Andrew O'Hehir, Salon

'Scrupulously realistic and ultimately optimistic...Complex and ambitious...[The film] homes in on just how emergency rooms function as primary care practitioners for the vast majority of our country's uninsured.' Elise Nakhnikian, Slant Magazine

'Nicks hasn't set out to decry a faulty and dehumanizing health care system. He'd rather just see how a safety net hospital cares for its unfortunate abundance of mostly uninsured patients. He has the presence of mind to reveal how humanizing the place actually is.' Jonathan Kiefer, The Village Voice

'The sensitivity is glorious...The hospital is full of amazing people, but the system seems impossible...This doc gives you real hell and heroism in under 90-minutes.' Sara Maria Vizcarrondo, Boxoffice


Awards

Shortlist Best Documentary, Academy Awards®
Best Documentary, San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Audience Award, Golden Gate Award and Best Bay Area Documentary, San Francisco International Film Festival
Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
Special Jury Mention, AFI/Discovery Channel, Silverdocs
Truer Than Fiction Award and Nominee for Best Documentary, Independent Spirit Awards
Best Documentary Nominee, Gotham Independent Film Awards
Special Jury Mention, Ashland Independent Film Festival
Best Debut Feature Nominee, Cinema Eye Honors
Best Documentary, Camden International Film Festival
Best Bay Area Documentary, SF Weekly
HotDocs, Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
True/False Film Fest

01:00:21 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Hello everyone. You won't hear your names being called it's noisy already. Please talk soft. But keep talking.

01:00:30 Female Patient: All them people was here before us. Him, not him, not them.

01:00:35 Nurse 01: Are you married? Single?
01:00:37 Man translating for relative: I'm married.
01:00:38 Nurse: No not you, her.
01:00:39 Man translating for relative: Married, married, married.
01:00:42 Nurse 02: We need her to talk.
01:00:44 Man translating for relative: Oh. No English speaking.
01:00:45 Nurse 02: Ok.
01:00:46 Man translating for relative: I'm here to interpret for her.

01:00:49 Male patient on phone: Oh man I'm trying to get some, trying to get some help for me knee man. My insurance ran out, so I'm in here today. But it's a process though, you feel me?

01:01:03 Female nurse offscreen: Sanchez, last call!

01:01:07 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: No, you can't make an appointment. This is, you have to wait for the same day and emergency services. No appointment.

01:01:14 Man 1 speaking Spanish in WR: Por la paquete manda. No ...
01:01:16 Man 2 speaking Spanish in WR: Vamos a querer dinero.
01:01:18 Man 1 speaking Spanish in WR: ?Queres?
01:01:18 Man 2 speaking Spanish in WR: Si.

01:01:20 Female patient: We gonna be in here all day.
01:01:22 Female patient: Don't say that.
01:01:23 Female patient: I'm just sayin'. You have a long wait. You have to bring your blanket, your dinner, your lunch and all that.
01:01:30 Female patient: Everything honey.

01:01:32 (Music begins)

01:01:34 Female nurse: Sanicita.

01:02:07 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Hey guy. Come on sit with me. You want to see the doctor today, huh?
01:02:12 Young man with diabetes: Yeah.
01:02:14 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: How long has it been since you take your diabetes medicine?
01:02:17 Young man with diabetes: Um, like two days.
01:02:18 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Two days! Why haven't you taken it in two days?
01:02:22 Young man with diabetes: I haven’t been here.
01:02:22 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: But why weren't you hear before you ran out sweet pumpkin pie. You know you need your medicine to live. You're tripping.
01:02:31 Young man with diabetes: I am tripping.
01:02:32 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: You know it. You've got to love yourself better than that baby, ok? Come on now. We've got plenty of medicine here for you.

01:02:42 Woman with chest spasms: My dad even got on me this morning when I woke up. He said "what you doing?" I said "I'm I'm getting dre...I'm get in the shower and get dressed and I'm going to the doctor. Because these spasms is hitting so hard. My chest is killing me.
01:02:59 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: The way you're walking in here, you know you need to have been here.

01:03:05 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: There you go baby. Now tell me your last name.
01:03:08 Arcenio Esquivel: Esquivel.
01:03:11 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Don't you spell it for me I can spell. You know I get hundreds of names a day and I take pride in being able to spell every one of them. No matter from what country.
01:03:18 Arcenio Esquivel: Yeah.
01:03:19 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: You know I can't spell everything. I try. Ok Mr. Escoval.

01:03:25 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: From what?
01:03:26 Man with knit cap: Gunshot wound.
01:03:28 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Where was it, where did it go in?
01:03:29 Man with knit cap: It came out...it went here and came out my mouth.
01:03:32 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Wow! It missed your carotid artery?
01:03:34 Man with knit cap: Yeah, missed everything.
01:03:37 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Woo! Do you give testimony to somebody?
01:03:39 Man with knit cap: Mhmm.
01:03:41 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Mhmm! Yeah you do! God had a plan for you.

01:03:45 Male patient with anxiety: I haven't had a drink in 10 years. I've had two sisters and a brother that died. My dog I got from a puppy that was fifteen years old died. My grandmother just died. My mother got ran over. Even without that I've had anxiety.

01:04:06 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Hi baby.
01:04:08 Demia Bruce: She can't speak, her tonsils are...
01:04:10 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Her tonsils are swollen all up.
01:04:12 Demia Bruce: We don't know what's wrong. It's some kind of infection because I can smell her breath.
01:04:15 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Uh oh. Is it back, is it way back here?
01:04:17 Demia Bruce: Mhm. So they don't have to do any tonsil work or any of that?
01:04:22 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: I don't know what they have to do. We, you don't even know what's wrong yet.
01:04:24 Demia Bruce: Yeah, I know I'm so nervous I don't know what to do.
01:04:26 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: You her Papa, you be nervous, it's okay.
01:04:28 Demia Bruce: I'm so nervous
01:04:30 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: That's what daddy's do. They're nervous because they take care of their loved ones.
01:04:34 Demia Bruce: I know, I just wanted her to get seen as soon as possible.
01:04:37 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: They will. There always is some wait.

VO
01:04:41 Demia Bruce: This is the first time I've gone almost a year without a job. I'm used to having those benefits. You know, that's how important a job is: to be able to have somebody look at her as soon as possible. And it just seems, it just seems like a let down. You have to just depend on somebody to help you out when you're not having the means to do it yourself the right way. You know? Just, it's okay I'm glad that there's a way to provide the help out, but I wish there would've been another way for me to do this.

01:05:09 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: That heart rate is really high.
01:05:11 Demia Bruce: Yeah, she's just it's pounding like that.
01:05:14 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Because she's full of fever, I can feel it. You got a whole radio station. One-o-three point four. See they got a radio station in there, girl. You are really hot.
01:05:25 Demia Bruce: One-o-three that's scary.
01:05:27 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: No! It's a young lady, she's gonna be okay, big papa.
01:05:31 Demia Bruce: They say one-o-five one-o-six you got to worry, right?
01:05:34 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: And how you going to stand there and talk about it like that over a little one.
01:05:37 Demia Bruce: I'm okay. Alright, alright.
01:05:39 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: You be cool with it. You supposed to be the the shield. Okay?
01:05:44 Demia Bruce: I'm a little nervous.

01:05:56 Dr Doug White: And then basic labs on her.
01:06:00 Man in background: Fortunately they're all about...
01:06:01 Female nurse unseen: And do you want to treat her? Are you going to give her anything? Yeah, do you want to just give her like tri-...
01:06:08 Veronica Couvson: Highland Emergency this is Veronica. Because this is an emergency department. Doctors can't write prescriptions without actually seeing you as a patient. I know. I know, but like I said, our doctors rotate, you know, daily.

01:06:27 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Alright, so. Starting off from the top. Um, room one is a thirty-five-year-old female. Came in a long time ago with flu-like symptoms. Bed two is going. Bed three. Sixty-one-year-old female, um, who comes in off her meds for three days and chest pains for three days intermittently. Bed ten. Room eleven. Room fifteen. Twenty-two is signed out to me, sore throat that I just need to say hi to.

VO
01:07:05 Dr Doug White: People who got into ER back when I was first starting chose ER because of TV show, or the media portrayal of it as an intense high-adrenaline, non-stop action world. I think, yes, the gunshot to the chest where you get to put in chest tubes and do all the critical care stuff that really gets your heart pumping. But I'll tell you what, refilling someone’s diabetes and high-blood pressure medicines is also a tremendous opportunity to prevent serious sickness and if I refill someone’s medicines, he might now come back and sit in the waiting room next month.

01:07:41 Nurse Eva Mellion: Okay, so these...Empty, empty, empty, got something in there.

01:08:02 Davelo Lujan: I came here last week and I was in pain. They gave me the pain medication and then they told me I had the osteophytes, bone spurs in my spine. So I'm coming back now.

VO
01:08:13 Davelo Lujan: I've had back pain for years and I just lived with it, I just worked with it. But the last six weeks it started growing and I thought it was my kidney so I Googled it and it said to drink cranberry juice.

01:08:27 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: So they...
01:08:28 Davelo Lujan: So I'll probably see a doctor today.
01:08:29 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Oh you will see a doctor.
01:08:30 Davelo Lujan: Okay.
01:08:30 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: And they'll help you with some pain management.

VO
01:08:32 Davelo Lujan: I did the cranberry thing for about five days. Three gallons a day. And it didn't help at all. So that's the reason why I came in here last week. And then they did x-rays and they found out that it was bone spurs. I'm relieved it wasn't my kidney, but at the same time the pain isn't going away. So I said I'm going to emergency.

01:08:54 Davelo Lujan: I'm I'm ready for surgery or something.
01:08:57 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Okay. Well you'll see the doctor and they'll take you to your next phase I guess, I don't know.
01:09:00 Davelo Lujan: Because they said they were going to have a doctor see me but they never called me.
01:09:04 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Well it's just been a week? Oh they won't call you within a week.
01:09:07 Davelo Lujan: Oh they won't?
01:09:08 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Oh it may be a month before...
01:09:09 Davelo Lujan: Even though I'm hurting and extreme pain?
01:09:11 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Well, sometimes, yes!

01:09:20 Nurse Tiassa Nichols: Does she have a cough?
01:09:21 Demia Bruce: Um, she has a small cough. Just very little.
01:09:25 Nurse Tiassa Nichols: For how long?
01:09:26 Demia Bruce: Um, she...
01:09:28 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: She hasn't actually had any cough.
01:09:29 Demia Bruce: Oh.
01:09:29Nurse Tiassa Nichols: No cough? Okay.
01:09:30 Demia Bruce: Oh, I guess I got that wrong.
01:09:32 Nurse Tiassa Nichols: No worries. No worries. Does she take any medications?
01:09:36 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: No.
01:09:40 Nurse Tiassa Nichols: Any medical problems that she has?
01:09:43 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: No.

VO
01:09:48 Demia Bruce: Nothing's going right right now. Nothing at all. I have visitation with my children. I was supposed to show up yesterday for them. I didn't even have money to come get out there to come see them. Then I get out here today and find out now my baby's sick and got all these problems.

01:10:09 Demia Bruce: You sure on Saturday before we went swimming you didn't get stung by any bees or anything, right?

VO
01:10:15 Demia Bruce: You always try to make sure that you, as a parent, let them know about the things that are out there. Don't pick up everything, dig through everything. Because you're the one that looks over them. You're there protection.

01:10:31 Demia Bruce: A knot.
01:10:32 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: What did she swallow, a bee?
01:10:35 Nurse Tiassa Nichols: This is something, this is not swallowing. This, she's got a fever and her heart rate's racing. It's a little bit more. I'm going to get her back as soon as I can.

01:10:54 Dr Doug White: And what was the plan after you left? What did they tell you to do?
01:10:59 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: They told me to follow up with this hospital.
01:11:03 Dr Doug White: Okay.
01:11:04 Patient Ricardo Manalastas They released me without any type of medicine.
01:11:08 Dr Doug White: Okay.
01:11:09 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: I asked them could I at least have something until I get some.
01:11:14 Dr Doug White: What kind of medicine do you are you talking about?
01:11:17 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: My high blood-pressure medicines.
01:11:19 Dr Doug White: Okay.
01:11:21 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: So, but the response I get is since I don't have insurance they cannot provide that.
01:11:27 Dr Doug White: Okay.
01:11:28 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: I have to get it on my own outside.
01:11:31 Dr Doug White: Got it. Did they tell you whether you had a bleed stroke or a clot stroke?
01:11:36 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: A blood blood...
01:11:37 Dr Doug White: Clot stroke.
01:11:39 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: ...stroke over my brain.
01:11:40 Dr Doug White: Okay. And then what problems are you having now. Are you having a hard time moving your hands, your feet?
01:11:44 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: I've been, I've been falling.
01:11:46 Dr Doug White: You've been falling?
01:11:47 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: Yeah. I fall about ten times today.
01:11:50 Dr Doug White: Oh boy.
01:11:51 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: Sometimes make me laugh.
01:11:53 Dr Doug White: Well I'm glad you have a sense of humor about it. Do you have a doctor that you see on a regular basis?
01:11:57 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: No.
01:11:58 Dr Doug White: No? Okay. What medical problems do you have besides this stroke and the high blood pressure? Any other medical problems?
01:12:03 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: No.
01:12:04 Dr Doug White: Nothing? Any surgeries?
01:12:05 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: This is my first time being in hospital.
01:12:08 Dr Doug White: Alright, well congratulations. Everyone gets their first.
01:12:10 Patient Ricardo Manalastas: Yes.

01:12:12 Dr Doug White: There's another patient that came in that's pretty sick, but I'm going to come back and talk to you some more, okay?

01:12:16 Nurse checking Morgans in: And what's wrong with you today?
01:12:18 Eric Morgan: Um, I have a testicular tumor. Um, and I need to have surgery on it as soon as possible.
01:12:25 Nurse checking morgans in: When did, where were you diagnosed.
01:12:27 Eric Morgan: Um, over at Kaiser.
01:12:29 Nurse checking morgans in: Do you have any paperwork from there?
01:12:30 Daniella Cyganik: So, so they did all the tests. Do you need to see it now?
01:12:34 Nurse checking morgans in: I just want to know they, did they...
01:12:35 Daniella Cyganik: We have an ultrasound, a CT scan...
01:12:38 Nurse checking morgans in: That on a disc?
01:12:39 Daniella Cyganik: a chest x-ray, um and all the blood work. So basically we went through all the tests, uh, and the surgery was supposed to take place today but, and they let us go through all the tests and they canceled the surgery yesterday.
01:12:53 Nurse checking morgans in: At Kaiser
01:12:54 Eric Morgan: Yeah.
01:12:54 Daniella Cyganik: Yeah.
01:12:55 Man in background: Demetrius Washington.
01:12:55 Daniella Cyganik: We're not members.
01:12:57 Nurse checking morgans in: Oh.
01:12:57 Eric Morgan: I don't have any coverage and I don't have any insurance or anything.
01:12:59 Nurse checking morgans in: So why didn't they tell you that before they they scheduled it?
01:13:02 Daniella Cyganik: Well they they were asking us all along whether we're members and...
01:13:06 Nurse checking morgans in: Okay.
01:13:07 Daniella Cyganik: But we always said no.
01:13:11 Nurse checking morgans in: So surgery was scheduled today, canceled today, then they said, "oh, you don't have insurance, go to Highland.”
01:13:16 Daniella Cyganik: Well they didn't say that.
01:13:16 Eric Morgan: They didn't even refer us over here. Yeah.
01:13:19 Nurse checking morgans in: So they scheduled uh...sorry.
01:13:20 Daniella Cyganik: Well when the surgeon uh, discovered the tumor he told Erik that it's very urgent and that it needs to...
01:13:29 Eric Morgan: Yeah.
01:13:30 Daniella Cyganik: ...come out ASAP because we didn't know the nature of it.
01:13:35 Nurse checking morgans in: Now are you having a lot of pain with your tumor?
01:13:38 Eric Morgan: Um, I'm not having any pain necessarily in the tumor.

VO
01:13:42 Eric Morgan: I would try to like self-diagnose. I'd think that it was my diet, or, you know, I'm like partying a little bit too much, or, you know, I'm a vegetarian, so maybe that has something to do with it.

01:13:53 Nurse checking morgans in: You take any medicines on a regular basis?
01:13:55 Eric Morgan: No.

VO
01:13:57 Eric Morgan: Finally I told her about it. She's like "there's no way I'm not going to take you to a doctor." I never had anything happen to me. It was like my invincible twenties. So this is kind of like a major wake-up call.

VO
01:14:17 Davelo Lujan: I've been laying carpet since 1974. I'm self-employed, but I work for Sherwin Williams. I was making $3.50 a yard for about thirty years. It never went up. And my boss said, "well, we have an influx of illegal immigrants down the street and they're able to cut the prices way down and be real competitive. So guess what? We have to cut you wages. You want to work here, you've gotta, you've gotta take the wage cut." Ever since then that's when my, I couldn't afford my mortgage anymore. I'm one of those people that my house is worth far less than I owe on it.

01:15:04 Dr Doug White:  I need medical records for fifteen. He was diagnosed with a stroke; he was kicked out the door and sent here.
01:15:10 Veronica Couvson: Okay. Fifteen?
01:15:11 Dr Doug White: So we need we need all of his records. EKGCTs, MRIs...
01:15:15 Veronica Couvson: E-K-G-C-T
01:15:16 Dr Doug White: ...Discharge summary.
01:15:17 Veronica Couvson: MRIs and discharge.
01:15:19 Dr Doug White: Labs.
01:15:21 Veronica Couvson: DC summary.
01:15:24 Dr Doug White: All labs.
01:15:25 Veronica Couvson: All labs. Okay.
01:15:27 Dr Doug White: And ED note. Thank you.

01:15:34 Dr Doug White: I mean I would if if when I got him up to walk, if there's, I was actually kind of hoping to see that he couldn't walk so I had a guaranteed admission, but he can walk, so I can't force that on the medicine. Well the problem is there's no general medicine appointments until next March. So I can't let this guy slip through the cracks until next March. I mean this is obviously a problem with in our system, but someone needs to take responsibility for him. I mean, he had a stroke a couple days ago and he's forty-four. He's got the rest of his life. So, um, any suggestions, I know that you know the internal medicine side of the world better than I do as far as appointments and stuff. If there's anything you can think of. Would you be willing to take him? That's fine. That, I would, that's fine. Oh my god you're the best.

VO
01:16:27 Dr Doug White: Unfortunately we see a lot of patients coming in with very treatable conditions who don't have access to a regular doctor. I know that I can make someone better in the short-term. But the ER is not the place to manage someone's overall health. It's going to require a heck-of-a-lot more follow-up that I can't provide.

01:16:47 Dr Doug White: So no medical appointments for the next couple months so I just played basically a guilt trip on the neurology team saying someone has to take care of him so she's going to take him in her private clinic in a month.
01:16:58 Veronica Couvson: Mhmm.
01:16:59 Dr Doug White: That's the best we can do. We're going to take what we can get.

01:17:12 Woman talking to Morgans in WR: But you guys are not Kaiser patients or anything?
01:17:15 Daniella Cyganik: It just seemed like a cheap doctor option, uh, appointment option.

VO
01:17:20 Eric Morgan: All I was looking for was just to have a basic check-up as to why I'm having these symptoms. We got rejected after many calls to many doctors and finally called the HMO and they were going to see us even though we didn't have insurance and we were paying by credit card.

01:17:37 Daniella Cyganik: Because we didn't know what was wrong with him.

VO
01:17:40 Eric Morgan: So going into the first visit we just wanted to have the doctor tell me, well, maybe you need to take antibiotics or something. It it didn't occur to us that it was an emergency.

01:17:54 Daniella Cyganik: I was hoping we'd see a urologist today.
01:17:58 Woman talking to Morgans in WR: That's what we're hoping too. That we could like probably get the procedure done today because he's been in a lot of pain. You know? And he can’t really do much.
01:18:09 Eric Morgan: We were just on the phone.
01:18:10 Woman talking to Morgans in WR: Mhmm.
01:18:11 Eric Morgan: And then they just kind of deferred, you know?
01:18:12 Woman talking to Morgans in WR: Yeah, yean.
01:18:12 Eric Morgan: They were like well talk to this person, talk to that person.
01:18:15 Woman talking to Morgans in WR: Yeah, that's what, that's why I told them, like, I was tired of being passed around, you know? They said it should be expedited, but nobody called.
01:18:25 Daniella Cyganik: From here?
01:18:25 Woman talking to Morgans in WR: Yeah.
01:18:28 Daniella Cyganik: Okay.
01:18:30 Woman talking to Morgans in WR: So, like, that just kind of like puts things into perspective, you know? Like, maybe how long you guys could be waiting. I mean even with the referral we've been waiting for like three days, four days.

01:18:44 Woman on phone: Can you meet me on Broadway in about an hour? Work with me, okay? Come meet me downtown in hour, I'll call you right when I'm leaving.

01:18:59 Teresa Young: He's just here to get some Tylenol. I told him to go to Walgreens. It's acetaminophen. Five hundred milligrams.
01:19:05 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Is that all he...
01:19:06 Teresa Young: That's all he came for. He was waiting here for seven hours.

01:19:09 Adrienne Gray: You here to see a doctor today?
01:19:11 Female patient: Yeah, she has a back problem. Well, it's, um, it's a lower back.
01:19:17 Adrienne Gray: She's been to Highland before?
01:19:18 Female patient: Yes.
01:19:19 Adrienne Gray: Got any ID?

01:19:29 Woman on phone: So could you meet me or you don't want to sound like it. Because I got a gang of Vicodyn, I got… I got bus tickets, I've got a ten-dollar card for Safeway to buy food if you want that for like three packs.

01:19:42 Woman talking to Morgans in WR: Can you tell he's in pain? Yeah. I told you I'm not bullshitting. It's like every single time I get a little bit of sleep and then dad say that, oh, he don't feel good. And then we just run back to the emergency room.

01:19:59 Leandrea Mack: Okay go ahead and have a seat. She'll call you for your triage.
01:20:02 Man: Okay.
01:20:04 Leandrea Mack: Hi, you want to be seen today?

01:20:09 Leandrea Mack: Do you have your ID with you?
01:20:09 Female patient with ID: No because I've never been here before.
01:20:11 Leandrea Mack: Okay, but do you have ID?
01:20:12 Female patient with ID: Oh yeah...
01:20:13 Leandrea Mack: I need a photo ID.
01:20:13 Female patient with ID: You mean a regular, yeah.
01:20:14 Leandrea Mack: Just ID.
01:20:15 Female patient with ID: I'm sorry. That's what I'm trying to use to get a Highland card. I was just laid off my job in March so all I have is unemployment.
01:20:21 Leandrea Mack: That's fine. I just need an ID.
01:20:22 Female patient with ID: So I don't have a job. Yeah, okay.
01:20:23 Leandrea Mack: You'll discuss that with financial after this.
01:20:24 Female patient with ID: Yeah, I know I, what I mean is just that's why, other than that I would've went right to Alameda hospital. Okay this picture's horrible, but here it is.

01:20:47 Tiassa Nichols: Hey how are you doing, good morning.
01:20:48 Man opening door: Good morning.
01:20:56 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: You okay? Okay, well you better tell me if you feel weak in the legs, baby. Don't drop on me, you gotta let me know, okay? What's wrong baby? It's okay! She gets scared when she gets to the doctors. It's okay! They're gonna make you feel better babe. It's okay. I know. Come on. Come on. It's okay. You gotta be seen.

01:21:30 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Remember what I told you with the IV? When you heard that word IV.
01:21:35 Intercom: Theresa, please call...Theresa call six one.
01:21:39 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: It's the needle. I don't know where they put it for a kid. But with the IV they would put mine right here and it it, listen to me, everything that they're doing is because they're trying to get you to be better. So they're not doing it, they're not just going to start poking and prying and doing all this other stuff. They only doing it because they have to put fluids in your body. They don't want you to get dehydrated.
01:22:05 Déjà Bruce: Okay.
01:22:08 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: So you're gonna be okay. Remember you was a big girl, you got your ears pierced? You can take a little shot, just a little pinch. It's all this is going to feel. Just a little pinch.

01:22:34 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: Your job is to hold perfectly still while I put this in.
01:22:38 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: You cannot move, okay? Because you don't want her to have to do it over, okay? It's okay, baby. It's okay.
01:22:44 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: You want to hold your mom's hand again?
01:22:46 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Here, hold my hand. It's okay.
01:22:47 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: This is just a little poke. I won't go until your ready, okay Déjà. I won't go until you're ready.
01:22:52 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: It's okay, calm down.
01:22:53 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: You did so good with the first one.
01:22:54 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: You did.
01:22:58 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: You want to watch? Or do you want to...
01:23:00 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: You want to watch? Okay, well don't panic, okay? You can't move your hand, so remember, when you feel a pinch you pinch me, okay?
01:23:07 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: Are you ready?
01:23:08 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Okay.
01:23:08 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: Yeah?
01:23:09 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Big girl.
01:23:12 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: Little poke. Little poke.
01:23:16 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Pinch me. Pinch me. Squeeze me. Squeeze me. Squeeze me.
01:23:19 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: Okay, hard part's over.
01:23:19 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Squeeze me.
01:23:21 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: Hard part's over. See how little that is. Okay. You're doing so good.
01:23:29 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: What's wrong right now?
01:23:30 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: Does it hurt to, do you have trouble breathing right now?
01:23:34 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: What's wrong, why are you breathing like that?
01:23:35 Nurse Janis Farnholtz: Why are you breathing like that?
01:23:37 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Déjà, answer me, why are you breathing like that babe?
01:23:39 Déjà Bruce: Trying to take the pain.
01:23:41 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: You trying to take the pain? Oh, okay.

01:23:50 Praying woman: Father, in the name of Jesus we ask you to take this pain away. This numbness needs to go right now in the name of Jesus. That this would will line up and it will be healed and clean in the name of Jesus. And it will operate and do what you call the body to do. And everything that you, and the body, the way you want it to work, father. In the name of Jesus. This pain is going to go. It's going to cease and desist in the name of Jesus. Father we love you and we worship you. Just call it done right now.

01:24:19 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: What's going on?
01:24:20 Woman with bluetooth: Where he was shot at is starting to burn now.
01:24:24 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: What's his last name?
01:24:24 Woman with bluetooth: And it's getting number. Jackson.
01:24:25 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: I didn't get a chance to look when you came over.
01:24:27 Woman with bluetooth: Last name Jackson. And he said it's, it the numbness is moving.
01:24:36 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: What I'm going to do is, when one of the nurses are free, I'm gonna let them know. But, there just ain't know guarantee we've got so many on the same acuity. To go back, that means the same level of, they're.
01:24:48 Praying woman: He came in here throwing up.
01:24:50 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: See you don't know what...
01:24:51 Praying woman: I don't know. I don't.
01:24:54 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: So we got them all, they've been triaged. They all at the same level. So I'm gonna tell them that you think it's getting worse, he's feeling worse. And then it'll go from there.
01:25:01 Praying woman: I don't know the whole story, but I do know that he got a bullet in him from that they left in him two days ago when he was shot and he don't feel good and he numb.
01:25:09 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Like I said, I'm gonna pass the word on to one of the "tri" nurses here and let them take a look and see what they can do, okay? Because there's just no place to put everybody. There's just not. I know it, but there's just no place.

01:25:30 Dr Doug White: How are we on beds?
01:25:32 Nurse Liz Lynch: Um, we've been getting some floors, some floors with teli. We're gonna get one ICU. So, I was thinking of sending the patient in seven. Because they seem to be more viable than eight. I don't know, and we don't have orders for eight. This patient has ordered and, um, would be ready to go as soon as we got a bed. This person may have orders by the time we get a bed, and I'm not sure if they could take this patient because they may not have the staff. That's how it's been.
01:25:59 Dr Doug White: Alright.
01:26:00 Nurse Liz Lynch: Um, and we've also, you know, we've had trouble getting the beds plus getting the orders and, you know, the house is full. So, we're going to put some people on hall one as well. Get them in, examined, and, um, hopefully discharged. Okay?
01:26:12 Dr Doug White: Alright.
01:26:12 Nurse Liz Lynch: So that's that.
01:26:14 Dr Doug White: We'll do what we can.

01:26:28 Female nurse offscreen: Angela...

01:26:29 Man in WR with bullet wound: What they got to wait for a bed or something? What what what's the they could take me back there, clean this shit out, see what the hell the problem is. You know what I'm saying? X-ray it or something. And do what they got to do. That bullet got to be moving. It gots to be. God, take this anger away from me, please.

01:27:07 Man speaking on radio: Thirty-two-year-old male gunshot wound to the lower left leg. Looks like it’s through and through. One-seventy over one hundred.
01:27:15 Dr Stephen Miller: Okay, we've got sixteen-gauge right arm sixteen gauge left, Mac.
01:27:19 Kristin Kanka: We have three level ones that just came in, gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen.

01:27:23 Male nurse offscreen: So there's a single...
01:27:24 Male nurse offscreen: Radiology.
01:27:25 Male nurse offscreen: ...wound to the mid-thoracic spine.

01:27:29 Female nurse offscreen: okay one twenty-four over sixty-three that's the pressure.
01:27:32 Kristin Kanka: It looks like the bullet went para-spinous muscles and, uh sitting right next to his liver. Um, I think he might have a diaphragm injury. The next guy, he's got a hemo-pneumo and he's getting a chest tube placed right now. We're going to auto-transfuse him as well. Um, the third one is the one that I'm most concerned about. We'll probably have to go to the OR first.
01:27:54 Male nurse offscreen: Deep breaths okay?
01:27:55 Male nurse offscreen: We have one-ten over fifty. Blood pressure.
01:27:58 Male nurse offscreen: Oh there we go. Good. You're waking up a little.

VO
01:28:00 Dr Doug White: When we get the ring down from the paramedics that a trauma's on the way, literally twelve to fifteen people stop whatever they're doing to focus on this one trauma. If several traumas roll in at the same time, uh, that has a huge impact on the rest of the waiting room. People with legitimately serious illnesses get bumped over and over and over again for the trauma service.

01:28:22 Female nurse offscreen: Okay. Can we get a chest tube?
01:28:24 Female nurse offscreen: Okay. So Frankel's gonna put in the chest tube?
01:28:30 Female nurse offscreen: Make sure we're getting our labs when we do this.
01:28:33 Female nurse offscreen: Okay. Is someone getting labs?
01:28:35 Dr Harinderpal Chahal: You're almost there! We're almost there, okay?
01:28:38 Female nurse offscreen: Heart rate a hundred and twenty.
01:28:39 Dr Harinderpal Chahal: They're almost in, okay?
01:28:40 Female nurse offscreen: One-sixty-seven over eighty-seven.
01:28:45 Dr Harinderpal Chahal: You're getting there. You're doing great. Deep breaths okay?

TIMELAPSE

01:29:25 Woman talking to man eating lunch: I don't know if they called my name or not. I went downstairs to the cafeteria.
01:29:29 Man eating lunch: That's why you got some food?
01:29:30 Woman talking to man eating lunch: Huh?
01:29:31 Man eating lunch: That's why you got some food?
01:29:32 Woman talking to man eating lunch: Yeah from the cafeteria.

01:29:34 Woman who was in car accident: I had got into a car accident a few months ago and, uh, the trauma team, like, they're, they, they're really good. I had a plate in my arm and in my leg. My car flew down the street. Um, it was a head-on collision. Flew down the street then wrapped around a pole.
01:29:52 Other woman: Gosh. You're truly bless girl.
01:29:54 Woman who was in car accident: Yeah, I am. Thank God to them, though, they put me back together.

01:30:00 Man with buttons on hat: He's bailed out the brokerage companies; he's bailed out the realty companies. He, they should, the ones that should've gone bankrupt and gone out of business should've been allowed to do so. Small business...

01:30:20 Woman talking to man eating lunch: Hello. No, I went to the school. No, I'm at the doctor's. Alright.

01:30:27 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Ajinde Jose? Hose? That ain't nice. You know I do my best. Ajinde?

01:30:39 Man with buttons on hat: When I was about seven years old I got like eighty mosquito bites on my body and I'd just eaten a lot of watermelon. From that, I mean I got really sick, you know? And that went on, I couldn't eat any more watermelon.
01:30:53 Teen Girl listening to buttoned hat man: Oh my god.
01:30:54 Man with buttons on hat: I just couldn't. I like cantaloupe, you know? I like papaya.
01:30:58 Teen Girl listening to buttoned hat man: Oh.
01:30:59 Man with buttons on hat: Okay? But watermelon, no.

01:31:04 Male patient with open heart surgery: You know what I'm saying, look? That's a week. That's a week old. It was open-heart surgery. Ten-hour emergency surgery. That's God. God is good.
01:31:13 Man in WR: Amen.
01:31:14 Male patient with open heart surgery: All the time. You get your hip surgery man. Take care of yourself.
01:31:18 Male patient offscreen: I'm trying trying.
01:31:19 Male patient with open heart surgery: Always. God bless you.
01:31:20 Male patient offscreen: Amen.
01:31:21 Male patient with open heart surgery: Alright.
01:31:22 Male patient offscreen: Right on.

01:31:29 Nurse Shayda Behbahani: What was their diagnosis that they discharged him with.
01:31:31 Woman with bluetooth: He was just shot. That's all they said.
01:31:33 Nurse Shayda Behbahani: So...
01:31:34 Woman with bluetooth: But I mean he's going numb now. So, on them papers, on the instruction papers it states if you're going numb, fatigue, or any of that, they're in my car, to come right back to emergency.
01:31:44 Nurse Shayda Behbahani: Okay.
01:31:44 Woman with bluetooth: We're here, and nobody is doing anything.
01:31:47 Nurse Shayda Behbahani: Being that it's an emergency department, we don't take people in based on when they arrive. Just because you get here first doesn't mean that you go back first. People with more emergent, or urgent, situations go back to the emergency department first. There's people that have been out here waiting for a really long time. The emergency department is completely full; the beds in the department in the hospital are full so nobody moves. So, unfortunately, it's not just you guys. There's people coming in from the ambulance as well.


01:32:17 Female nurse offscreen: Said he had a couple of beers last night and some marijuana.
01:32:21 Dr Doug White: Where did you find him, exactly?
01:32:22 Female nurse offscreen: At sixth and Foothill.
01:32:24 Dr Doug White: In a house?
01:32:25 Female nurse offscreen: On the corner.
01:32:25 Dr Doug White: No, on the street.
01:32:26 Female nurse offscreen: On the side of the road.
01:32:27 Dr Doug White: Got it. Okay.

VO
01:32:29 Dr Doug White: We have patients that we see on a very very regular basis. After a certain point we know them. We know them by first name, they know us by first name.

01:32:38 Dr Doug White: Carl, hey. Open your eyes, open your eyes.
01:32:39 Male nurse offscreen: One twenty-eight.
01:32:40 Dr Doug White: Look at me. Look at me.
01:32:41 Male nurse offscreen: Eighty-six.
01:32:43 Dr Doug White: What happened last night? Not sure. Did you get attacked?
01:32:51 Patient Carl Conley: I don't know. No. I don’t' think so.
01:32:54 Dr Doug White: Does it hurt when I push your head?
01:32:57 Patient Carl Conley: Just a little bit. Just a little bit.
01:33:00 Doug White: Is it like a hangover headache or like something-hit-you-in-the-head headache?
01:33:04 Male nurse offscreen: Sometimes it's hard to tell.
01:33:05 Dr Doug White: Fair enough. Okay. I'm just gonna push on it...

VO
01:33:09 Dr Doug White: You may know that it's from marijuana and alcohol or, you know, other substances, uh, but regardless, anytime someone presents out of it that's really really concerning.

01:33:21 Dr Doug White: No scalp tenderness, no chest tenderness, no belly tenderness. Tell me, what hurts?

VO
01:33:27 Dr Doug White: You do everything so that you do not miss, uh, a serious life-threatening illness or injury.

01:33:33 Male nurse offscreen: There we go.
01:33:36 Dr Doug White: Alright let's do an EKG chest x-ray…alcohol level and utox. Ooh, CK. Put a CK in there.

01:33:56 Daniella Cyganik: You make the best ponytails darling.
01:33:58 Eric Morgan: Yeah.
01:34:00 Daniella Cyganik: You giving me a fountain? Or a bun? Yeah, a bun. Kiss.

01:34:16 Demia Bruce: Well, this is where I come from. See here? This is me. I ride from here all the way here to your home. Look. I have to catch the J and then have to go to the next bunch which is JPX and then I stop right here. Your house is right there on the corner.
01:34:39 Sonia Bruce: The line.
01:34:39 Demia Bruce: Yeah, this is what happened when you guys get the car. And, I get no car. Then I catch this one here.

VO
01:34:49 Demia Bruce: My kids want to do so many things right now. My son wants to get back in baseball. Since I've lost my job I haven't been able to pay for any of his baseball. My daughter's hip-hop dance that she wants to get into, you know, it's just every week for me having to tell everybody, well I won't be doing it this week. I won't be able to pay for this this week, I won't be able to do this this week. It's just hard for me as a dad, just being a guy who provides for everybody and not being able to do it right now.

01:35:14 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: And then yesterday she woke up and I just seen this being swollen.
01:35:18 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: You saw visibly.
01:35:20 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Yeah, visibly seen, I could touch it and I was like ooh.
01:35:22 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: Hey mama, can you look at me? Over here. How far can you open your mouth? Ah. Ah.
01:35:28 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Open as far as you can Déjà.
01:35:30 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: Is that far as you can go, sweetie? We're being cautious.
01:35:33 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Okay.
01:35:33 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: Because she's not able to really open that mouth and ensure that it's not something deeper.
01:35:39 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Okay.
01:35:39 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: So we're going to get the CAT scan. If that's negative...
01:35:41 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Okay.
01:35:42 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: And she's able to eat and drink...
01:35:43 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Okay.
01:35:44 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: Um, she'll be able to go home. If she's having problems eating or dehydrated...
01:35:48 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Okay.
01:35:48 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: Then we're more cautious and want to keep her.
01:35:50 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Oh yeah, definitely.
01:35:51 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: Okay?

01:35:59 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: You want me to contact someone for you?
01:36:00 Patient Carl Conley: Yeah.
01:36:00 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: Okay, who would you like me to contact for you Mr. Conley?
01:36:04 Patient Carl Conley: Contact my pastor.
01:36:08 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: What's the pastor's name?
01:36:10 Patient Carl Conley: It's um...
01:36:12 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: Take your time.
01:36:15 Patient Carl Conley: Pastor Bowell.
01:36:18 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: And would you like me to tell them that you're at the hospital?
01:36:20 Patient Carl Conley: Yes.
01:36:21 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: Okay. Is there anything else you'd like me to tell them?
Patient Carl Conley: (indescernable)
01:36:24 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: Hmm?
01:36:28 Patient Carl Conley: Tell them to pray for me I love them.
01:36:31 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: I didn't understand you.
01:36:32 Patient Carl Conley: Tell the pastor to pray for me and I love him.
01:36:34 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: Alright, and you love them. Okay, I will let them know, okay? You know what Mr. Conley I'm going to go ahead and have them update your information make sure we list, um, your brother as the next of kin. Is that okay? And the pastor, you want his phone number as a...
01:36:47 Patient Carl Conley: Yes.
01:36:48 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: Okay. Aww. You're getting sad. You gonna be okay. The doctors and nurse are gonna take real good care of you. Alright. You gonna be okay. You were just at the hospital last month, huh? Yeah. You're gonna be okay. I'm a let them know to, that that you want them to pray for you, that you love them, okay? You want them to come visit you? Yeah. What was you doing out this morning? Hmm?
Patient Carl Conley: (indescernable)
01:37:19 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: Say?
01:37:20 Patient Carl Conley: I wasn't doing right.
01:37:21 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: You wasn't doing right? Okay. Thank, I'll talk to you later.

01:37:44 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: I guess my question is, is he has, he said he's been gone for three days and this is a transitional housing program. Is he able to return there? Okay, so so, just so I can make sure I document appropriately. Upon discharge, is he able to return to your facility? So is that yes or no?

01:38:10 Davelo Lujan: I can't sleep at night. When I turn over it's like a sharp knife.
01:38:14 Dr Amandeep Singh: I understand, what I'm telling you though is like it's really, there's not much I can offer you for this.
01:38:21 Davelo Lujan: I lay carpet, you know, I have to work.
01:38:23 Dr Amandeep Singh: Yeah.
01:38:24 Davelo Lujan:  So, what am I supposed to do?
01:38:26 Dr Amandeep Singh: Well, like I said. I can look to see to what was done last time to see if you were referred to the orthopedic doctors. Those are the doctors that talked to you about surgery as a potential option. If surgery turns out not to be a potential option for you, then the only other option is pain medications at this point and time. Often for our clinic though, it's several months before you can see a physician. So it's not an immediate thing. So, you know, you only were here six days ago essentially.
01:38:52 Davelo Lujan: Yeah, the pain's not going away.
01:38:54 Dr Amandeep Singh: Well, like I said, you have chronic bone spurs. That's not something that's gonna go away.
01:38:59 Davelo Lujan: But the pain is just, is unbearable, I can't sleep at night. When I turn to the left it's just horrible. And, uh, the uh, muscle relaxers help, but they only help till like three’ o’clock in the morning.
01:39:15 Dr Amandeep Singh: They wear off.
01:39:16 Davelo Lujan: And they wear off and I don't want to take another one because I won't be able to wake up for work in the morning.
01:39:20 Dr Amandeep Singh: Got it. Okay.
01:39:21 Davelo Lujan: So that's why I didn't want to take any more. But can I get disability for this?
01:39:25 Dr Amandeep Singh: That you have to talk to your regular doctor about.
01:39:27 Davelo Lujan: I don't have a regular doctor.
01:39:28 Dr Amandeep Singh: I can get you a list of physicians in the area that can talk to you about that.
01:39:32 Davelo Lujan: Because they were supposed to, they were supposed to set me up with a doctor here. And he never called me. And that's why I came back, too.
01:39:39 Dr Amandeep Singh: Okay. Alright. I mean it often doesn't happen quite that way, usually we...

VO
01:39:42 Davelo Lujan: Down to zero right now my checking account. I got about eighty bucks in my pocket. And my daughter moved in with me two months ago. She's gonna go through a divorce. She's got a year-and-a-half child, so that's another two mouths to feed in the home. I don't know what else to do really. I bought a few lotto tickets is what I did. Other than that I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm gonna keep working laying carpet is what I'm gonna keep doing I'm gonna keep taking the pain pills is what I'm gonna keep doing.

01:40:20 Nurse Phillip Mertz: So, doctor's written for you for some Vicodyn.
01:40:23 Davelo Lujan: Oh, okay.
01:40:27 Nurse Phillip Mertz: Okay thank you very much
01:40:28 Davelo Lujan: Thank you.
01:40:29 Nurse Phillip Mertz: Good luck now.
01:40:31 Davelo Lujan: I need it.
01:40:32 Nurse Phillip Mertz: Alright, take care.
01:40:33 Davelo Lujan: If there is such a thing as luck.

01:40:38 Social worker Ricka White-Soso: Well the issue is you also know that he's he needs a treatment program and so, as you shared, he's been through a host of programs throughout Oakland and you also know what the demon of substance abuse is. So, he was tearful. He was tearful when I spoke to him and...Well, I would hate, I hate to think that you think that way. But everyone's experience is different and you know that as a pastor and you know that as a program administrator. It sounds like you are frustrated with his, um, cycle of leaving and going out to use and coming back and things. Right, and so as a social worker, part of our role would be the discharge plan. So I just need to know, is your facility still a discharge plan where he can return to?

01:41:35 Dr Doug White: If you get to leave where would you go?
01:41:43 Patient Carl Conley: They called my pastor.
01:41:46 Dr Doug White: Do you think he'd take you back?
01:41:47 Patient Carl Conley: Huh?
01:41:48 Dr Doug White: He take you back?
01:41:49 Patient Carl Conley: Yeah.
01:41:50 Dr Doug White: Okay.
01:41:51 Patient Carl Conley: You called. Did you call and get the number, right?
01:41:53 Dr Doug White: Yeah, the social workers talked to him, he's not too pleased with you. He doesn't know if he wants you to go back or not. He's...
01:42:01 Patient Carl Conley: That's what the social worker said?
01:42:02 Dr Doug White: That's what he told the social worker, yeah. Pastor Boswell. He said I don't know if I, he's like, I don't know if I want that guy back. Because you don't seem to do well for him. So, it sounds like we have some ironing out to do. If you didn't get to go back there, where would you go?
01:42:17 Patient Carl Conley: I don't know. I don't...
01:42:20 Dr Doug White: Okay. Alright.

VO
01:42:24 Dr Doug White: Not everyone has a place to go and there are often times where I don't want to send a patient out into the cold with bad lung problems and no access to get medicines that night. I can't just send them to the street. Uh, so there's no there's no movement on that bed and nobody in the waiting room can use that bed until that patient has a place to go. If I was a patient in the waiting room, knowing that there was somebody who was completely stable and didn't need to be admitted but there's nowhere else to go and I was stuck waiting for that bed, uh I think I would be pretty darn frustrated.

01:42:57 Female patient: Has it been busy all day like this?
01:42:59 Female nurse offscreen 1: Yes.
01:43:00 Female nurse offscreen 2: She's been here all day. I just got here so, she says yes then.
01:43:04 Female nurse offscreen 1: It's been nonstop.
01:43:05 Female nurse offscreen 2: It's been nonstop.

01:43:08 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Now stop all that cussing! You don't, that don't make no sense young man. I don't care what's going on in your life. You be more considerate of other people. I don't want, I'm tired of hearing you cuss and I don't deserve that. But I know that. But I'm I'm sick of hearing you cuss you disrespecting everybody, yourself and certainly me, I'm old enough to be your grandmother and you keep cussing at me I'm going to break you off something. And that's all I got to tell you. Young tinder. Because I know you was raised better than that. Weren't you?
01:43:37 Scorpio patient in triage chair: Yeah.
01:43:37 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: Yeah!
01:43:38 Scorpio patient in triage chair: It's just...
01:43:39 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: I know you in pain!
01:43:39 Scorpio patient in triage chair: I be telling people to shut up I can't hear.
01:43:41 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: But you can't tell nobody to shut up, you don't have no right to tell nobody to shut up. You can ask them to hush.
01:43:44 Scorpio patient in triage chair: I be saying 'be quiet' but then they be like 'no I don't want to' and that's when I like 'shut up!'
01:43:49 Nurse Cynthia Johnson: But it just don't work like that, you gonna make yourself upset because people ain't going to do what you say, especially in the manner that you trying to make them do it. You get a grip. Are you a Scorpio?

01:44:19 Demia Bruce: Sorry for not coming yesterday. I'm really sorry. Ahh. Babe, babe, babe. This is how i spend my daddy day, huh? At the hospital.
01:44:33 Déjà Bruce: (indiscernible)
01:44:35 Demia Bruce: Huh?
01:44:35 Déjà Bruce: You're crying.
01:44:36 Demia Bruce: I know, I'm sorry I'm not trying to cry. I'm just so nervous. You know after DeJon, Daddy just gets so nervous when you go to the hospital, you know, right?

VO
01:44:50 Demia Bruce: Ten years ago our two-year-old got a seizure. I lost him at home with me and then we got to the hospital and then they said he wasn't going to make it. After you lost a kid it always changes you, you know? Everything, every little thing is so serious.

01:45:08 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: This is Déjà. I guess mom and dad are switching. Mom was here before.
01:45:13 Attending physician: Do you want to get a soft tissue...
01:45:15 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: That would be better. Yes.
01:45:16 Attending physician: And then we don't have to
01:45:17 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: I would be happy with that. I would be happy with the soft tissue. Yeah, I like that. I'm sorry, I'm Doctor Garrick?
01:45:22 Demia Bruce: I'm just listening
01:45:23Dr Jocelyn Garrick: I know we're talking shop. I met your wife earlier and I examined your daughter and I'm just talking shop with her in medical terms we're gonna explain everything.
01:45:31 Demia Bruce: I'm very concerned about what's going on. You guys said there was a foul odor, and, what is it, do you guys know what the odor may be, or...
01:45:37 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: Yes, it looks like she has strep throat. She definitely has an infection on her tonsils.
01:45:41 Demia Bruce: So it is an infection.
01:45:43 Dr Jocelyn Garrick: And that's what I was telling your wife. We wanted to make sure that her infection wasn't spreading because that could effect her airway.

VO
01:45:49 Demia Bruce: I think that's the scariest feeling of all. When you lose a child in a hospital and they don't come home to you. So when you're in here and you're worried and you're concerned sitting here watching them do things and waiting for them to come tell you something you kinda feel helpless in the process of the happenings.

01:46:52 Dr. Matt Rehrer: We have any beds for these poor folks? Is that our issue?
01:46:54 Nurse Heather Tilton: No we don't have any floor telly beds, we have...
01:46:57 Dr. Matt Rehrer: That's killer.
01:46:58 Nurse Heather Tilton: ...one SDU bed that's gonna go to ten pending a discharge.
01:46:59 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Oh, this guys gonna be able to go. Yeah. This guy, I just need to scan his aorta really quick with ultrasound and make sure he doesn't have a triple a and then he can go.
01:47:08 Nurse Heather Tilton: All I need to do! Okay so three's going into the hallway and your DKA is going to seven and seven's going to three.
01:47:14 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Yeah, and I've got two people I will discharge for you soon.
01:47:16 Nurse Heather Tilton: Alright.
01:47:17 Dr. Matt Rehrer: And I've got a hall one patient I can also discharge with shoulder pain I need to assess real quick, but he got lost in the shuffle.

01:47:24 Nurse Liz Lynch: So I'll get you hooked up to the monitor in this room too.

01:47:29 Nurse Heather Tilton: So we're putting your DKA in seven, we're putting seven in three, we're putting three in the hallway.
01:47:33 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Yes
01:47:34 Nurse Heather Tilton: Five's going to the unit and then you're going to get your trans-esophageal echo in five.
01:47:39 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Echo in five.
01:47:39 Nurse Heather Tilton: In five.
01:47:39 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Correct.
01:47:40 Nurse Heather Tilton: And six will come out as soon as you discharge somebody else.
01:47:42 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Correct.

01:47:51 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Hi sir are you in this room?
01:47:53 Patient Glenn Terry: I need a blanket I'm freezing in here.
01:47:55 Dr. Matt Rehrer: You're cold? Alright, we can get you a blanket. Alright, the nurse is going to grab you one. What brings you here today I'm Dr. Aaron, one of the residents.
01:48:04 Patient Glenn Terry: They told me to come here for my dialysis.
01:48:07 Dr. Matt Rehrer: For your dialysis? And then you have had dialysis here before?
01:48:11 Patient Glenn Terry: Yeah this is the third, this makes the third time.
01:48:13 Dr. Matt Rehrer: The third time?
01:48:14 Patient Glenn Terry: And every time I come here I am having the same problem. Call Reno, I don't know I don't know why they told me to come here.
01:48:21 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Okay.
01:48:21 Patient Glenn Terry: Ask them. I can't answer the questions.
01:48:24 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Where do you normally get your dialysis?
01:48:25 Patient Glenn Terry: I just started this shit! Do you understand!?
01:48:28 Dr. Matt Rehrer: No, that's why I was asking you.
01:48:30 Patient Glenn Terry: This shit is very fucking frustrating for me!
01:48:33 Dr. Matt Rehrer: I understand, sir. It sounds very frustrating.
01:48:35 Patient Glenn Terry: You're asking me the questions, ask Reno. Call up there and ask them! Ask the goddamned Reno doctors! I don't know why I got to come here!
01:48:42 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Okay, this is just an unusual situation. I, you're the only person I know right now that's coming through to do this. So when this happens we're not used to it.
01:48:49 Patient Glenn Terry: Well I tell you what. Tell them tell them to take this goddamned catheter out my chest and I'll just make it on my own!
01:48:54 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Okay, that wouldn't...
01:48:55 Patient Glenn Terry: That's that's what I really want to do. I want this damn thing out of my chest and I'll just make it on my own.
01:49:00 Dr. Matt Rehrer: Alright. Why don't we, um, talk to dialysis so they can come here and do this. They're already aware. Um, if we take that out you would, uh eventually die.
01:49:09 Patient Glenn Terry: Well so what. We all gonna die. You too.
01:49:14 Dr. Matt Rehrer: That's true. But if there's something that can keep you alive and treat you...
01:49:17 Patient Glenn Terry: If I got to go through this *%*% every time I %^* come here...
01:49:21 Dr. Matt Rehrer: This is only for a period of time.
01:49:22 Patient Glenn Terry: I'm I'm sick I'm just I'm sick and tired of it. I'm just sick and tired of it! Take the mother%^* out and I'll just go on by on my mother%^* own. Very simple.

01:49:38 Daniella Cyganik: I'm really nervous. I hope he just looks at this today. You going to talk?
01:49:49 Eric Morgan: Huh?
01:49:49 Daniella Cyganik: You going to talk?
01:49:50 Eric Morgan: Yeah.
01:49:50 Daniella Cyganik: You want me to talk?
01:49:51 Eric Morgan: No, I want to.
01:50:01 Daniella Cyganik: But you know how when they canceled our other surgery, how how how we completely like freaked out? But now at least that like we're in the process.
01:50:09 Eric Morgan: Yeah.
01:50:12 Daniella Cyganik: Hopefully.
01:50:13 Eric Morgan: Yeah. Hopefully.
01:50:14 Daniella Cyganik: I just don't know how long it will take.
01:50:15 Eric Morgan: Yeah.
01:50:16Daniella Cyganik: It's really scary. Do you know if we wait here long time, did they say?
01:50:31 Eric Morgan: Uh, no. I got the "I'll be right back." So, you never know.

VO
01:50:48 Eric Morgan: We had suffered a miscarriage in February. And, going through all that was really intense. Our sort of decision-making process on whether or not to keep it and then finding out it was a miscarriage anyway, that was really hard. My fertility rate is gonna be like nothing after the surgery. So we set up an account at um sperm bank of California. We sent out a, uh, fundraiser to raise the funds and a lot of our friends and people that we know sent in enough to make about three to four deposits. So we've got like a decent amount of stored sperm to be able to possibly get pregnant.

01:51:35 Davelo Lujan: Now this is gonna be all free, right?
01:51:37 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Oh absolutely not. There's very few things in life that are absolutely free.
01:51:46 Davelo Lujan: Why not?
01:51:47 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: We're able to give you a break on the price.
01:51:49 Davelo Lujan: Okay.
01:51:50 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: But there is a cost.
01:51:53 Davelo Lujan: Put me at the lowest, lowest, lowest cost. Okay? And then I'll take out an installment plan. LIke say...
01:52:03 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Oh, okay.
01:52:03 Davelo Lujan: Thirty years. See these bills. These bills, these money bills. I try not to worry about them but I'm to the back of my mind just try to go to work. Yeah last time I came here they said I didn't qualify because I, by four hundred dollars I didn't qualify.
01:52:26 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Oh, I see.
01:52:27 Davelo Lujan: For the, uh, I don't know what it's called. What do you call it?
01:52:30 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: The county medical services program.
01:52:31 Davelo Lujan: I think so, yeah.
01:52:37 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Okay. Alrighty. So you still don't have, um, proof of your income just yet? Okay, so we're still going to have you as a full-pay patient pending you returning with your...
01:52:48 Davelo Lujan: Oh no not a fully pay.
01:52:49 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: With your income. Full pay. See that's your incentive to get you in here. See you get the reduced rate once you bring the information that we need.
01:53:00 Davelo Lujan: Hey what is that, forty? Sixty-percent off, or?
01:53:03 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Sixty...it would be a, if you qualify for our charity care program, then the most that we would write off is sixty percent and you would be responsible for forty percent. But if your income does not qualify you for that, then the only other program would be the patient-pay discount. And so it would be, um, an estimate of all your charges minus fifty percent and you would be responsible for the other fifty-percent.
01:53:27 Davelo Lujan: So I would be responsible for fifty percent, right?
01:53:30 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Possibly. It depends on what your...
01:53:31 Davelo Lujan: I'm not going to get the charitable one, I know that already.
01:53:34 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Okay, so then it would be, it would more than likely be the patient-pay discount, um, pending you bringing in the verification...
01:53:41 Davelo Lujan: I have to make a certain amount of money to do to make that one too, or is that just for regular people?
01:53:44 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Everything's on a sliding-scale scale based on your income.
01:53:48 Davelo Lujan: Mmm.
01:53:50 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Now you're going to return with those papers, right? I just want to make sure that we get this taken care of for you as soon as possible.
01:53:56 Davelo Lujan: Yeah I will.
01:53:56 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Okay. Alrighty. Thank you for your time.
01:53:58 Davelo Lujan: Thank you very much Karen.
01:53:59 Financial Counselor Karen Permillion: Alrighty. I wish you the best.
01:54:01 Davelo Lujan: Thank you.

01:54:03 Dr Jonathan Rosenson: Do you have a regular doctor for her?
01:54:05 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Um, we don't and I need to get one.
01:54:08 Dr Jonathan Rosenson: Okay, well what I'm going to do is I'm going to call our, do you live in Oakland?
01:54:11 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Yeah.
01:54:12 Dr Jonathan Rosenson: Okay. I'm going to call our pediatrician and tell them what's going on. Because I think it would be good in, you know...
01:54:19 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Yeah, to have a little check up afterwards, yes.
01:54:20 Dr Jonathan Rosenson: I'd I'd like to actually see you in the next twenty-four hours to have her get re-checked.
01:54:24 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: Oh, okay. Definitely.
01:54:25 Dr Jonathan Rosenson: Okay? So I'm gonna call them and we'll get something set up.
01:54:27 Nicole Douglas, mother of Déjà Bruce: O

Citation

Main credits

Nicks, Peter (Producer)
Nicks, Peter (Director)
Hirsch, William (Producer)
Davis, Linda (Producer)
Lerew, Lawrence (Film editor)

Other credits

Cinematography, Peter Nicks; original music, William Ryan Fritch; editor, Lawrence Lerew.


Distributor credits

Linda Davis, Peter Nicks, William B. Hirsch

Linda Davis, Peter Nicks, William B. Hirsch
Peter Nicks
Cinematography: Peter Nicks
Editor: Lawrence Lerew
Original Score: William Ryan Fritch
Additional Music: B. Quincy Griffin
Co-Producer: Lawrence Lerew
Executive Producers: William B. Hirsch, Scott Verges
Executive Producer for ITVS: Sally Jo Fifer
A co-production of Open\'hood, Inc. and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), with money provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), in association with Peer Review Films

Docuseek2 subjects

Medical Anthropology
American Studies
Social Issues
Health Insurance
Health Care Costs
Nursing Education
Emergency Care

Distributor subjects

African-American Studies
American Studies
Anthropology
Economics
Ethics
Film Studies
Health
Human Rights
Medicine
Political Science
Poverty
Social Justice
Social Psychology
Sociology

Keywords

public hospital, ER waiting room, ER, Americans without health insurance, Highland Hospital, Oakland, doctor, uninsured patients, cinema verite, caregivers, bureaucracy, disease, hard choices, health care needs of inner city, victims of gun violence, hospital staff, medical care, medicine, homeless, public health, health care, recession, economic dysfunction, political dysfunction, illness,"The Waiting Room",Bullfrog Films

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