Dr. Clare Roepke is a third year emergency medicine resident at LA County USC Medical Center. She will take over as Education Chief and complete her final year of training in 2015. "...that raw emotion, that intensity, and that kind of care on a real firsthand, real basis with patients... It drew me in." Dr. Clare Roepke shares with Sonosite her experience with Ryan McGarry, producer of Code Black movie, who was also her mentor and a senior in her residency. He was to her "a teacher, and a role model". She thus has an intimate look into McGarry's process and feelings as he created the film. Dr. Roepke's reaction to the final cut of the film at its release were of surprise.
I had never experienced what he captured, and so for me it was kind of eye-opening.
Her experience as part of the film is unique. She shares how she handled being on film while practicing medicine under pressure with her patients. She indicates that she usually pretended the cameras weren't there, providing the same care as if no one was there. This, she says, requires confidence that what you are doing with the patient is what is supposed to be done. Dr. Roepke also helped with some of the filming of patients, as she notes in a later question. Patients were interviewed in the waiting room so that they could share their experience in the emergency room: how they got there, how many other providers who had turned them down, what they were waiting for care for. Their reactions were precious.
I think people somewhat felt...like their opinion and their woe...was important enough that we cared.
In the final interview question, Dr. Roepke points out that many people must go to the county hospital emergency room in order to receive any kind of care, even for a primary care checkup. She shares that many doctors and patients complain about those who come in for such seemingly menial checkups. Her response?
It's 'cause it's what they have.
Dr. Roepke's concern for these patients bleeds into her desire to see change in the healthcare system--so that these patients won't need to visit the emergency room for such care. This is perhaps why, according to Roepke, nurses felt so passionately about the film: "Those nurses were surprised... They wanted more. They knew what it was, and they wanted more of it."