24 hours; 241 patients; one stretched ER. That's what a California filmmaker found while shooting his documentary, "The Waiting Room." It's a behind-the-scenes look at a public hospital in Oakland, Calif. that's struggling to care for patients who don't have medical insurance. It's a very real scene and similar things happen every day in the Houston area. Filmmaker Peter Nicks is teaming up with San Jose Clinic to spread the word that more needs to be done for this situation.
"We're really excited to have Peter here. on this magnitude, something that is so important in the American eye right now and it was healthcare. People are talking about access to care," says Paule Anne Lewis, CEO of San Jose Clinic.
"I wanted to, in an apolitical, or non political way, bring their voices into it - by sharing what it's like on an average day to navigate your day without access to healthcare, health insurance", says Peter Nicks. He found heart-breaking stories of people trying to do their best, yet still struggling to get help.
Though Nicks felt that he already knew a lot about caretakers at the hospital because his wife had worked there, he learned a lot about them.
"I really was surprised by the dedication, professionalism, empathy that they had for patients. It's a very difficult situation - uninsured ranges everything from just lost their job to the indigent, mentally ill, drug addicted, homeless, but they dealt with everyone with compassion was remarkable, nonjudgmental," says Nicks. He is teaming-up with organizations, like San Jose Clinic, to help spread awareness of this problem.
San Jose Clinic has been serving the Houston area for 90 years. It is known for its quality care, provided by volunteers, to anyone regardless of their ability to pay, in a respectful, dignified manner. Lewis wants "The Waiting Room" to make a difference in our community.
"I hope there is a community conversation. I hope people start talking about - what do we need to do - whether national, state, local, to make sure the safety net system is properly equipped to take care of the people who will inevitably be without coverage, no matter what happens politically, no matter what happens in the election," says Lewis.
You can watch "The Waiting Room" at the Sundance Cinemas until Thursday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7:15 p.m.