Film: 5807

Medicine | 1940 | Sound | B/W


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excellent drama about running a maternity clinic in the slums of an anonymous American city 1940's

City hospital exterior of front doors, looks rather like a church. Doctors and nurses walk along the clean, bare halls of the hospital with their scrubs on. One nurse walks into a surgery, another nurse with a mask on stands in front of a table of instruments, the doctors stand over a patient with a tent covering his/her body, one of the doctors nods to another by the side of the patient and a nurse adjusts a viewing instrument over his eyes, he lifts up the sheet that covers the patient and counts beats with this finger. He raises his head and the nurse again adjusts the viewing glasses on his face. Close ups of the faces of the operation team to very dramatic music. The nurse passes the doctor cutting instruments. The doctor lifts out a baby and the nurse covers him up and wheels it away. The mother watches it as it is wheeled around her. The baby in the hospital cot, it screws up its face and cries.
The nurse gives the patient's blood pressure reading and the whole room jumps to life. The doctor takes the patient's pulse from her wrist, and calls for oxygen. She is given a needle. And another needle, the doctor abruptly issues orders. He continues to listen to her heart through a stethoscope. But then, everyone walks away as it becomes clear that she will not make it, one of the nurses pull the sheets up to the girl's chin. One of the doctors stays on. The doctors face looks stern with his mask on, looking down at the patient, he pulls his mask off impatiently. The cover is pulled over the woman's face and the orderlies lift her onto a stretcher.
Two posh looking women stand waiting for an elevator. The doctor in his civilian clothes walks out, still stunned, one of the receptionists says hello but he ignores her. He stands at the entrance to the hospital and does his coat up from the rain. He walks along the sidewalk in trance, not paying attention to the bright window displays beside him. The commentary gives the facts of the case. He walks through the dark rainy streets at night, crossing roads and walking through puddles. Chefs with big hats are visible through the store windows cooking food. More clothes displays. He pulls open a door and goes through it.
Another doctor faces up , sitting in a chair. He talks about a possible pattern of death, but he is doubtful, he talks with the younger doctor who sits beside his desk. He urges the young doctor to go into obstetrics and go work in the slums. A man runs into a store with a phone booth, he puts coins in the telephone.
A receptionist answers the telephone and as she reads out the details, they are written up on a board detailing which doctors are looking after which patients. Two nurses pack two large doctors bags. The other doctor finishes putting in the information on the board. The doctor, nurse and student leave the centre. A woman walks into the maternity centre. Maxwell street dispensary. In the waiting room, three rows of anxious looking women sit below diagrams of foetal development. Assistants help take down initial information. One doctor examines a woman who is seven months pregnant, he shoots questions at the doctor who is learning, he asks the patient lots of questions. The nurse helps the woman get up from the table. The woman leaves and the doctors discuss her case. Eclampsia, haemorrhage, and infection are the three highest killers of pregnant women. Another shot of the full waiting room. The doctors examine another patient, the doctor shines a light in her eyes to see if her pupils are reactive. The doctor takes some blood from the woman's ear. The doctors leave and go into another room. They look at her blood in a vial as a woman does laboratory tests on it. Another woman goes into the clinic. Lots of faces of tired, worn out looking women.
The two doctors give a lecture to medical students. They start projecting a film. Good shot of the tops of peoples heads shining in the light of the projector. Putting sterile gloves on, preparing the area for delivery. The two doctors stop the projector and all the students turn around and listen to them talk. Some of the students come up and ask questions as they leave.
The student doctor writes the facts of a case on the chalkboard as the nurse prepares the bags to go. The doctor and the intern and nurse leave from the centre. The car drives through slums, a small market, more slums. They go up the back stairs of a ramshackle apartment building. A little girl opens the door. The girl brings newspapers and another little child does her bit to help. The nurse starts cleaning off the table. The doctors roll up their sleeves. The mother is lying on the bed in the bedroom. The doctor goes in to see the patient, the student and the nurse put their protective clothes on. The intern goes to wash his hands but there are bugs in the sink, he tries to kill them. The intern takes her blood pressure. He take the foetal pulse with a stethoscope he puts over his head. The receptionist takes down details of how the patient is doing as phoned in by the doctor. The patient walks back and forth in the house. She fiddles with things on the stove. The doctors and nurse wait patiently, the nurse looks at her watch and one of the doctors sleeps in a chair. The woman collapses over as she nears the stove for the umpteenth time. The doctor jumps to her side and wake the other up. They help her lay down and the young doctor washes his hands with iodine and water and puts the gloves on. He listens to the foetal heartbeat with the stethoscope on his head again. Close up of the woman's arm grasping the older doctor's forearm as she feels a contraction. Delivery OK written on the board.

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