73 Cents : A New Monument to Patients, in Washington, DC

It’s no secret that Washington, DC, is home to monuments of great leaders, who, through their positions, helped our country grow and thrive.

A great discovery for me since living here is that Washington, DC, is also home to monuments built by its residents based on their experiences, often devastating, in the hope of creating a better society for everyone. It could be that our tight geography and extroversion as a region contribute to this, and it’s responsible for a lot of learning that happens just by walking down the street. (I’ve blogged about some of the ones I’ve seen here previously)

I just returned from visiting a new monument, entitled “73 Cents”:

Here is a panoramic view:

73 Cents Mural - Panoramic View

For the technologically adventurous, here’s a Quicktime Virtual Reality View:

{qtvr uploads/73centsvr.mov 400 300}

“73 Cents” was painted by Regina Holliday, who I met in May, 2009, and refers to the cost-per-page, of her husband’s medical record, which she requested from the hospital where he was cared for, and received after a 21 day wait. There’s a photograph of it from my May blog post.

The images in the mural are stunning. They include health care professionals with hands tied behind their back, child’s play blocks with the acronyms known to people in the health information technology world, and a note written by Fred Holliday while dying that reads, “Go After Them Regina, Love Fred.” (What else do you see, and what does it make you think of?)

Many of these bring back memories of the failures of the health care system I observed, and it’s situation in a neighborhood relatively far from the medical establishment here is a reminder that any one of us could be a Fred Holliday one day.

Part of the theme of “73 cents” is to provide patients and families access and involvement in their care, so they can improve it for themselves and those who come after them.

Besides the monuments themselves, another great thing about DC is the number of colleagues, co-workers, and friends who come to visit this region’s exemplary health institutions, go to its national conferences, and speak with its national leaders. This monument is best seen in person, and I’ll recommend that people include a visit here as part of their other work to improve health care while in Washington, DC. It will help all of us reflect on what we are here for and how we hope to make things different for patients moving forward.

The great thing is the people who live here really believe that we can make things different, that’s why we’re the epicenter of health care transformation. Come join us.

By the way, Regina maintains a blog of her work that you can subscribe to here. In addition, you can download these photos from Flickr and use as you wish. There are additional photos of Regina completing this work here.



Thanks for the additional links!

Is it too much to suggest that 73cents be a national monument? If readers know of other monuments like this, please post links, photos, tweets,


Regina is an example of someone who, when faced with a huge health challenge, rose to the occasion and used every resource at her disposal to help her husband. What's amazing is her incandescent energy and determination to tell us, to tell everyone what happened and why it could have gone better. All the while quoting Shakespeare, Jefferson, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

[…] Se trata del caso de la artista Regina Holliday, quien sufrió los últimos días del cáncer de su marido en una absurda y dolorosa situación: la falta de agilidad en el traslado de los datos del paciente, sumados a la burocracia y la opacidad del sistema, dejaron a su marido sin alimentos, tratamiento, y medicación para el dolor en el hospital de destino durante toda una jornada. Finalmente, moriría a los pocos días (situación recreada en el Mural 73 cents). […]

Ted Eytan, MD