Critical Condition

What Happens When You're Sick and Uninsured?

What happens when you're sick and uninsured? The unforgettable people in this film discover that it can cost you your job, health, home, savings, and even your life. Critical Condition puts an intimate human face on America's growing health care crisis by chronicling the struggles of a diverse group of uninsured Americans as they battle critical illness over a two-year period.

Joe Stornaiuolo, a doorman for fifteen years, loses his finger, then his job, and ultimately his health insurance. Unable to afford the medication or doctor visits he needs to manage his progressing liver disease, Joe is hospitalized four times in one year and dies on November 30, 2006 from a lack of medical coverage, according to his loving wife.

Karen Dove loses her insurance because her deteriorating health forces her to quit her job as an apartment manager. When Karen begins experiencing severe recurrent abdominal pains, the doctors she contacts are unwilling to see uninsured patients. After she finally finds a gynecological oncologist willing to treat her a year later, she is diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer, which is almost always terminal.

Carlos Benitez, an uninsured chef at a French restaurant, has a severe back deformity that has caused him fifteen years of chronic pain and taken seven inches off his height. After learning that the County Hospital will not perform surgery, Carlos becomes convinced that the only way to find a cure without insurance is to travel to Mexico, where the orthopedic specialists recommend he undergo surgery as soon as possible.

Hector Cardenas takes a medical leave from his job as a warehouse supervisor when his diabetes necessitates an amputation for a gangrenous foot. The loss of his job and insurance force Hector to struggle to repair his broken temporary prosthesis on his own. He feels trapped, as he cannot earn money without a permanent prosthesis, and he cannot afford the prosthesis without employment and decent medical benefits.

No matter how staggering it is to learn that 18,000 Americans die every year simply because they lack health insurance, that number is just an abstract statistic. Access to health care as a moral issue, bridging the conventional partisan political divide. And, these stories graphically illustrate the enormous cost in dollars and human suffering that we pay when the public foots the bill for catastrophic illnesses that could be inexpensively prevented with access to routine primary care. This film shows real people and the tragic circumstances they face without health insurance.

Related Subjects: 

Tiburon International Film Festival, 2008
Arizona International Film Festival, 2008
Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival, 2008
Film Society of Lincoln Center's Independents Night, 2008
Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, 2008

Critical Condition is produced and directed by Roger Weisberg, whose previous 25 productions have won over one hundred awards, including Emmy, DuPont-Columbia, and Peabody awards, as well as an two Academy Award nominations (Sound and Fury, 2001 and Why Can't We Be A Family Again?, 2003). Some of his other films are: Waging a Living, Rosevelt's America, Aging Out, and A Brooklyn Family Tale)


"This is a very important documentary...- for millions of uninsured Americans, care is not available, and they suffer serious consequences as a result."
Robert J. Blendon, Sc.D., Harvard School of Public Health/ Kennedy School of Government

"In the tradition of journalist Edward R. Murrow, Weisberg tells truths that afflict the comfortable, couched in fundamental American values of fairness and accountability."
Pat Aufderheide, In These Times

"This film is a must-see for anyone interested in our nation's health care system."
Ron Pollack, Executive Director, Families USA

"Highly Recommended. This poignant portrait of working Americans who cannot afford to seek medical help is sure to be a discussion starter in the classroom."--Educational Media Reviews Online


Type Price
Streaming Access (1-year) $149.00
Streaming Access (3-year) $299.00
Streaming Access (Perpetual) $499.00
DVD $295.00
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