Black SplatThe Hospital (1971)

"Where do you train your nurses, Mrs. Christie - Dachau?"

The Hospital - Dr. Bock reprimands Nurse Christie

Description: George C. Scott as Dr. Herbert "Herb" Bock shouts at Mrs. Christie (Nancy Marchand) after one of her night nurses causes the death of a patient in the motion picture The Hospital (1971).

Dr. Bock is Chief of Medicine at a prominent teaching hospital in Manhattan. The condition of the hospital mirrors that of his life. His facility is delapidated, and his staff is out of control, while at home, his wife has left him, and his kids have disowned him. To top off all of this disarray, Bock is impotent, suicidal and now there is someone in the hospital killing off patients.

"You’re greedy, unfeeling, inept, indifferent, self-inflating and unconscionably profitable. Aside from that, I have nothing against you. I’m sure you play a helluva game of golf." - Dr. Herbert Bock [to Dr. Welbeck]

Amidst the storm of work (where people are given wrong medicines, sent to operating theaters for incorrect surgery, found in waiting rooms dead of natural causes, and dying because the staff fail to get Blue Cross numbers) enters Barbara Drummond (Diana Rigg) who came to Manhattan to retrieve her father (Barnard Hughes) from the hospital.

During her short visit, Barbara gives Bock a shelter of sorts where he can at least plead a case for his life - a life that has grown sour with bitterness and disappointment.

“My home is hell...We’ve got a 23-year-old boy, I threw him out of the house last year. Shaggy haired Maoist! I don’t know where he is—presumably building bombs in basements as an expression of his universal brotherhood. We’ve got a 17-year-old daughter who’s had two abortions in two years. Got arrested last week at a rock festival for pushing drugs. They let her go. A typical affluent American family. I don’t mean to be facile about this. I blame myself for those two useless young people. I never exercised parental authority. I’m no good at that.” - Dr. Herbert Bock

Unfortunately, Drummond's father is the one killing patients in the hospital. He kills patients who are ignored or undercared to send a message that the system is broken and things need to change. Had someone only taken proper care and attention, they never would have died.

The Hospital - Patient Drummond attacks Dr. Bock

Of course, Bork understands the man's motivations, he has been seeking change for years but the system is a hard thing to change, and so year-after-year more and more people face a medical system that is understaffed, underfunded and underappreciated.

"It is all rubbish isn't it. I mean... transplants, anti-bodies, we can produce birth ectogenetically, we can clone people like carrots, and half the kids in this ghetto haven't been inoculated for polio. We have established an enormous medical entity and we're sicker than ever. We cure nothing! We heal, nothing! The whole goddamn wretched world, strangulating in front of our eyes." - Dr. Herbert Bock

Luckliy, an accidental death of a doctor at the hospital is used to cover Drummond's tracks, and Dr. Bork allows Barbara Drummond to take her father back to the Indian reservation in the Sierra Madre mountains of Mexico where he operates a clinic for the indigent in the region.

Barbara's father had been a successful Boston doctor until one day he began speaking in tongues (an ancient Apache dialect) during a pentacostal prayer meeting. Suddenly, he had a revelation, dropped out of society and set up a mission in Mexico. Barbara admitted to Bork that her father was "mad as a hatter" but she watches over him to keep him out of trouble.

In the end, Bork stays behind to clean up the mess at the hospital and possibly his life.

"You know, when I say impotent, I don't mean merely limp. When I say impotent, I mean I've lost even my desire to work. That's a hell of a lot more primal passion than sex. I've lost my reason for being... my purpose. The only thing I ever truly loved." Dr. Herbert Bock [to Barbara Drummond]

Note: Family problems continue in the film Carbon Copy (1981) when George Segal as a disgruntled corporate executive complains, “I’m Jewish, my son is black (illegitimate 17-year-old son) and my lawyer smokes pot. Don’t tell me I’m not in trouble.”

The Hospital - Movie Poster

The Hospital - Movie Poster

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