Anatomy Of A Broken System: Eve Manson’s Documentary, Dr. Feelgood


By: Vernon Nickerson

Director Eve Marson’s documentary, Dr. Feelgood chronicles the life of Dr. William Hurwitz, M.D. a pain management specialist who was convicted of over 50 counts of narcotics distribution and subsequently sentenced to 25 years in prison. Early in the film, it is revealed that Dr. Hurwitz had never illegally treated or illegally prescribed medications to any of his patients and had been in compliance with government patient-reporting protocols. This revelation is what powerfully engages and holds the audience’s attention.

As we hear from Dr. Hurwitz, some of his patients, law enforcement officials, his wife and one of his adult daughters, it becomes abundantly clear that nothing is clear about this story. Every time someone points a finger at Dr. Hurwitz, his clients who admitted selling most of the drugs prescribed for their personal use, laws or government policies, etc., four fingers point back at the speaker.  Today we readily acknowledge that the Internet connects all of us in an interdependent community of technology consumers. However, not even the possibility of an interdependent community of physicians, nurses, patients, friends and family, drug manufacturing, marketing and sales professionals, government policymakers, and law enforcement personnel is ever acknowledged by any of the major or minor players in this fascinating, multilayered documentary. Dr. Feelgood is a poignant and powerful wake-up call for all of us in every community. Dr. Feelgood had its World Premiere The 20016 LA Film Festival.

Dr. Feelgood 1h 21min

Director: Eve Marson

A Personal Postscript

I came to this screening fresh from a recent journey with my late mother who fell and fractured her right hip after getting tangled in her oxygen concentrator’s air hose. Two months, five hospitals three surgical procedures, and two skilled nursing facilities later, my mother died of congestive heart failure. During this process, the cardiac hypotension medications that had helped mom to live a full and active life into her mid 80’s were abruptly stopped, started and substituted without consultation with me or my mother. My biggest takeaway from this nightmare was how much modern medicine was mostly an art rather than a science because in all but one of the hospitals, the patient’s treatment outcomes were dependent upon the patient always being able to coherently and accurately articulate their needs and how various interventions were or were not effective. It is profoundly clear to me now that we have a crisis care system of care and NOT a healthcare or wellness care system in the United States at this time. Clearly, any system of healthcare can only be successful when all of the members of a community are engaged in service of the best outcomes for the identified patient. When government policy is based upon a lack of scientific research, and known side effects and addiction risks are ignored by policy makers and physicians, it is a recipe for crisis. When clients choose to be dishonest in order to obtain more medicine than they are using and doctors have no way to verify whether or not the patient is lying, it is a recipe for crisis.

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