“Pandemic 19” is a documentary about three doctors that made video recordings of their professional life during the first wave of the pandemic in the United States. The physicians are Dr. Virginia Brady who is a Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician in Boston. Dr. Brian Chang starts in Northern California as an Emergency Physician and so interested he moves to be in the midst of the action in New York City. Dr Poya Aysola is a Canadian trained physician specializing in Emergency Medicine working in several Boston area hospitals.
If I can generalize amongst these physicians early on the COVID game there is a sense of confidence but by the end of the documentary there is fear, apprehension and exhaustion. In some cases you’ll see the emotional turmoil they are enduring where the awful must be ignored but even there they experience both moments of anguish and joy with a rare patient recovery.
Dr. Brady does admit early on there is some fear and apprehension amongst doctors because they have no idea how things are going to turn out. She admits as physicians they connect so just to have enough empathy but take each death to heart it will destroy you but even when you are trying to be hard and steely for some reason you make a connection with that patient and their death greatly affects you. For example she was treating a patient in the ER and the nurse going through her bag saw a sandwich in a bag which caused Dr. Brady to really see her as a human. She recounts another story where a mother wanted to see her son so badly she had to take hey oxygen mask off being warned it could be fatal to do so. She did saying good-bye to her son and died. As the documentary progresses, she looks more burnt out.
Dr. Chang starts off with a low case load in Northern California and moves to New York City to catch the COVID action ending up working 80 hour shifts and by the end of the documentary he appears very burnt out and disjointed admitting he is becoming more nervous about contracting the disease. He notes that he has hardly treated any Caucasians but many Latinos who live in multi-generational homes and do not have the luxury of working from home. He expresses gratitude that he is helping and that his family is safe.
Dr Aysola is working part time as an ER Physician while pursuing her MBA and her hospital is cutting the hours of nurses and doctors! Why? They are not making enough money on elective surgeries! She now worries about being able to pay the rent as she is being laid off. Incredulously she files for unemployment. She is desperately needed but the profit motive for American hospitals appears to lead to a conclusion it is causing a higher death count.
The frightening aspect of the documentary is that it is historical. It covers the first wave. If these physicians were worn and battered by the first wave by God what about the second and third wave?
Now is no time to be in a hospital with COVID-19. The way matters are progressing according to our Canadian doctors and politicos it maybe now you’ll just have to die at home.
This is a very personal and touching documentary that gives us a taste of what is coming.If you are getting tired of all the government propaganda (public health messages) save yourself some aggravation and watch this documentary. It speaks louder than some sappy media story or another incessant piece of government propaganda….which is of course for your own good?
At the time of writing this review it will be showing on the World Channel on February 1st but may have expanded availability. If so I’ll let you know.
A film by Yung Chang and Annie Katsura Rollins. I would think a Part two and three may be required to make this a complete historical anthology. By the way the word “vaccine” was not mentioned once.