The performance is like the ultimate ethnogrpahy – interviews of patients, community leaders, and physicians from all walks of life, acted, channelled by Deavere Smith, right down to the body language.
The quote in the title of the post is from Ruth Katz, in her response to the oncology fellow at Yale School of Medicine, who tells her that her chart has been lost on her admission for fever while on chemotherapy, and that it’s a common occurrence, and could she tell him about her cancer. Ruth Katz also happened to be the Associate Dean for the Yale School of Medicine.
The Ruth Katz interview was performed 11 years ago . Can we say that this situation is different today?
There are 19 other people in the show, including Lance Armstrong and Lauren Hutton, who have been interviewed since then. Some of the stories are horrifying -the one most for me – Hazel Merritt, whose daughter was sent home in a bloody sheet after a dialysis treatment gone awry. Some are saddening, the resignation you hear in people’s voices about a science they don’t think they can or should understand, or the reality revealed that what happens to a person in the hospital is often determined before you get to the hospital (as commented so eqloquently afterward by guest speaker Vanessa Northington Gamble, M.D., Ph.D.).
I have to say, at the same time I was watching and reflecting, it was not lost on me that I was experiencing this with Susannah Fox , and really the entire DC community. All of us, regardless of location (remember, #epicenter is about spirit, not geography) have in ourselves the ability to believe that every change we want to see is possible, because it is. We can receive stories and change the conversation with them, just like Regina Holliday‘s and ePatient Dave‘s did.
Maybe Ruth Katz’s situation is repeated somewhere in the United States every day, but maybe also the oncology fellow is a little more appalled on behalf of every patient in 2011.
The performance has recently been filmed to be shown on PBS, and I highly recommend watching it. We still don’t have enough stories.