52 minutes / Documentary / English / 2004
Co-produced by Dark Flowers Productions and The National Film Board of Canada
Written, Narrated and Directed by Rosemary House
Most of us are born in hospitals, and most of us will die in one too. But hospitals remain sprawling, mysterious places - sources of dread, fear, and revulsion that remind us of our own mortality.
Media reports tend to focus on the miracles and on highly trained specialists. But Hospital City shifts the focus away from high-profile doctors, and instead introduces us to people no less essential - the workers without whom no hospital could function.
A hospital is like a large, self-contained organism. And the staff are the heart that makes it beat.
Shot at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland, Hospital City reveals the hidden workings of a contemporary health care facility. Accompanied by hospital staff, we travel through endless miles of corridors, labs, pharmacies, supply rooms, operating theatres, and patient rooms -- from the maternity ward to the morgue.
Here, mundane tasks take on new meaning. Dusting an operating room, sterilizing equipment, correctly reading the dance of cells across a computer screen, getting a victim of the bends into a pressurized chamber as quickly as possible -- these jobs are literally a matter of life and death. Every day.
The thousands of people who work here, caring for 500 or so patients, say that - despite the hours, despite the cutbacks - there is no job they would rather be doing.
Hospitals have come a long way since Florence Nightingale first set up her battlefield nursing station during the Crimean war. As debate in Canada rages over funding cuts and a health care system said to be in crisis, Hospital City is a moving, human portrait of the people whom the debates most closely touch.