Who Lives, Who Dies: Rationing Health Care

Narrated by James Earl Jones

This powerful documentary shows that despite America's extraordinary medical resources, our health care system is failing a large part of the population. One out of six Americans has no coverage and cannot afford basic care. They must rely on public clinics whose funding is shrinking. We see a woman with a malignancy that spread because she couldn't get treatment, a man with high blood pressure who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage because he could not afford medication, and a woman in labor who was not accepted at two hospitals because she had no insurance.

Poor children are at greatest risk. In the US, which ranks 20th in infant mortality, nearly 40,000 infants die every year because they are born prematurely with low birth weight. Two-thirds of these deaths occur among mothers with little or no prenatal care.

The cruel irony of our system is that, while denying routine preventive care to millions, it often gives dying patients useless care they don't want. Last year, $50 billion was spent on patients in their last six months of life. In the intensive care unit of New York City's Roosevelt Hospital, Dr. David Finley illustrates how difficult it is to withdraw life support equipment.

The documentary explores the complicated issue of organ transplants, where huge sums of money are spent for the benefit of relatively few. While it may seem callous to evaluate life-saving technology in terms of costs, such choices are being made.

Related Subjects: 

Silver Apple, National Educational Film & Video Festival, 1989
Booklist, Editor's Choice, 1989
Gold Award, John Muir Medical Film Festival, 1988
First Prize, American Journal of Nursing Film Festival, 1988


"This outstanding production... raises serious questions concerning medical care in the U.S.A." - Booklist
"Highly recommended." - Science Books and Films


Type Price
Streaming Access (1-year) $149.00
Streaming Access (3-year) $299.00
Streaming Access (Perpetual) $499.00
DVD $295.00
Institution: (not found)
IP Address:
Country: United States
IP spoofed: NO