The Waiting Room Essay

1421 words - 6 pages

Peter Nicks and William Hirsch’s 2012 documentary film, The Waiting Room, follows the lives of patients, doctors, and staff in a hospital in California. The hospital is a safety net hospital meaning that it provides care to low-income, uninsured populations. The documentary examines the obstacles faced by people who live without healthcare in addition to showing the public what goes in a safety net hospital. The Waiting Room fits into the finger categories of government and politics and science and technology. The most relevant category is government and politics. Healthcare and insurance have played large roles in the government for years. In fact, ObamaCare, the president’s plan for health care reform was one of the root causes of the 2013 government shutdown. This draws attention to just how large and important the congressional healthcare debate truly is. The documentary also fits under the finger category of science and technology. The Waiting Room discusses the technological and scientific innovations found in today’s hospitals. Additionally, it references some of the new methods being used to treat diseases that are prevalent in society. This is particularly significant because these new technologies and treatment methods are being used to save lives every day. The implications of the Waiting Room and safety net hospitals are not limited to finger categories; they are evident in tens of thousands of hospitals throughout the world.
The influence of safety net hospitals is seen largely throughout our local community and state. Attending a Title I school (a school where forty percent or more of the students come from low-income families) myself, I am very familiar with people who live under the poverty line and the struggles they face on a day to day basis. Additionally, I personally know many students who come from very low-income families that heavily rely on government welfare. Some students cannot remember the last time that they saw a doctor. Others have been extremely ill and still been stuck with over-the-counter medications. This is because their families do not have healthcare, so they cannot afford to see a doctor, nor afford a prescription if a doctor was to prescribe one. Safety net hospitals are meant to solve this problem by providing for those who live below the poverty line. There are twenty one of these hospitals in Florida, ten of which are located in South Florida. However, there are no safety net hospitals in Palm Beach County compared to six in Miami-Dade County. This can be explained by the fact that only fourteen percent of the Palm Beach County residents live below the poverty line compared to twenty percent of Miami-Dade County residents. This is significant and causes one to question the state-level healthcare system. Although “only” fourteen percent of people live below the poverty line in Palm Beach County, that is still a very large number; over two-hundred-thousand people to be exact. How can those...

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