Emergency! [1972]

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Dr. Kelly Brackett M.D.:
Gentleman, you are all in danger. If an earthquake or a bomb should hit this room right now, I might be the only doctor available to all of you. Oh sure, independently owned ambulances with attendants would be here in a few minutes, and rescue units from the fire department. But all they could do is carry you off to where another doctor is waiting. I wonder if you could all last that long. Now, what about first-aid? Sure, these men are permitted to render some elementary first-aid. Like your mother did when some kid bloodied your nose, or your wife when she pulls a sliver out of your finger. Have any of you seen a freeway accident lately? I mean up close, where you can't tell the bodies from the steel. Or, have any of you had a heart attack recently? Seventy percent of all cardiac cases never live long enough to reach a hospital. How do you think your mother, or your wife, or the good-guy next door would make out under those conditions? Well, those *are* the conditions we're talking about. Now, I've given you the impression I'm in favor of fire department personnel, with a crash course in emergency medicine, taking human lives into their own hands. I am not. I'd like to see a specialist handling every bloody nose, so we'd know whether it's the result of a good right-cross or a tumor. I'd like to see a cardiologist on the scene every time someone drops in the street with a killing pain in his chest. But, you can't ask someone not to die while you're trying to find out what's wrong with him. And they *do* die, gentlemen; on the way from where it happens to my hospital. They die by the hundreds every year; not from mortal wounds, but from neglected wounds. Not from incompetence or indifference but from time, from lack of time. I'm in favor of more doctors, more hospitals and better equipment. And, I'm also in favor of this bill until those other things come along, because it *will* save lives. Maybe a dozen lives, maybe a thousand, maybe just one. And, who knows which one? Thank you, gentleman, for your time.

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