The Waiting Room Presents A Safety Net Hospital Essay

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The documentary The Waiting Room presents a safety-net hospital located in Oakland, California. In the film, director Peter Nix follows patients, doctors, and staff throughout a typical day. Furthermore, the film displays how the staff is overworked, causing an impact regarding how the American health care system is affecting millions of uninsured patients who try to cope with injury and disease. The film utilizes techniques from the observational mode such as long takes, crisis structure, and documenting unplanned everyday experiences to convey the cruel realities of Americans seeking hope and treatment.
The Waiting Room incorporates the observational mode trait of long takes to illustrate the chaos that occurs in the waiting room and behind the scenes of the hospital. Moreover, the long takes in the film provide a glimpse of each patients’ background story and allows people to express their concerns instead of revealing character individuality, which may help the viewer infer why the health care system in America is failing. The long takes help decipher, “The body language, and eye contact, the intonation and tone of the voices, the pauses and “empty” time that gives the encounter the sense of concrete, lived reality” (Nicholas 176), that depicts each patients’ harsh reality of what it is like living with no health insurance. For example, there is a scene where a little girl and her mom follow a nurse into a room, the camera follows them and the viewer can see the
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