My review of physician Ryan McGarry's documentary Code Black is up today at The Dissolve.
This was one of those instances when what you already know about a subject can color your perception of a film. An ex-girlfriend of mine is a physician who did her residency at a country medical center 65 miles west of the one documented in Code Black, and we lived together during those years, 2000-2003. She was at the hospital all the time, and I became well acquainted with her classmates, who were exactly like the young doctors whose voices McGarry features: idealistic, accomplished, adventurous, easily bored. Many of them had done other things before medical school, like working on a fishing boat in Alaska or spending a few years as a forest firefighter. One of them was a nun who swore more crudely than any Marine I’ve ever met. They were all friendly, and I found them all intimidating. I was in awe of them.
We’d met when I was working as an editor for the American Medical Student Association’s magazine. AMSA was lobbying hard for a single-payer healthcare system in those days.
After that, I earned my living for many years writing proposals for several health-care companies. So I am very familiar with their rhetoric about how patient care is what matters most to them -- and with the reality that their shareholders are the only people they really care about.