Independent Lens: The Waiting Room

Independent Lens: The Waiting Room

Monday, October 21 at 10:00 p.m.

See the healthcare system through the eyes of those stuck in an ER waiting room in Oakland.

"The Waiting Room" is an extraordinary immersive documentary that goes behind the doors of Oakland’s Highland Hospital, a safety-net hospital fighting for survival while weathering the storm of a persistent economic downturn.

Stretched to the breaking point, Highland is the primary care facility for 250,000 patients of nearly every nationality, race, and religion, with 250 patients — most of them uninsured — crowding its emergency room every day.

Using a blend of cinema verité and characters’ voiceover, the film offers a raw, intimate, and often uplifting look at how patients, staff and caregivers cope with disease, bureaucracy, frustration, hope and hard choices during one typically hectic day. A film by Peter Nicks.

Photo: The waiting room at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California.