5.9/10
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14 user 2 critic

The House of God (1984)

R | | Comedy, Drama
Follow a group of interns in a large teaching hospital. When Jo, Chief Resident, has a breakdown the interns are reluctantly placed under the tutelage of the senior resident known as The ... See full summary »

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(based on the novel by) (as Samuel Shem M.D.), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Fats (The Fatman)
Michael Sacks ...
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Richard Brestoff ...
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Kathryn Dowling ...
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Storyline

Follow a group of interns in a large teaching hospital. When Jo, Chief Resident, has a breakdown the interns are reluctantly placed under the tutelage of the senior resident known as The Fatman. Like "M*A*S*H," "The Hospital" and "St. Elsewhere" (which is drawn from this story) this film is closer to the truth than the public wants to know. Written by Raymond Clay <banquosa@concentric.net>

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Every year in July, 6,000 young Men and Women leave the comfort and safety of medical school confident in the knowledge that they will become interns in the greatest system of medical care in the History of the universe. Some actually survive.

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Comedy | Drama

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R

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Trivia

Never released theatrically; it debuted on cable TV. See more »

Goofs

The Fat Man refers to a bed position where the head of the bed is lower than the foot as "the Hindenberg." The proper term for this bed position is "Trendelenberg." See more »

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User Reviews

 
Like most doctors, I *have* read the book...
4 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

...which I discovered immediately after finishing my own internship. As a reflection of what the medical training experience was like in the '70s (before the concept of diagnosis-related groups - DRGs - changed the way in which we hospitalize patients, particularly GOMER'd Medicare clients), the novel was the absolute truth, up to and including the rutting behavior of 'terns and residents trying to compensate for too much stress by going after too much sex.

Remember, it was not only pre-DRG (which first began testing in New Jersey in 1980 before going nationwide in 1983) but also pre-AIDS (which first began to manifest with epidemiological significance in 1981). By 1984, however - when this movie is considered to have been released, even though it had been finished in 1979 - its subject matter (and the novel's approach to it) simply wasn't topical any longer.

With the DRG system rammed down their collective throat by HCFA, hospitals no longer got revenue by performing all sorts of procedures and hanging onto patients for weeks on end (charging by the day). Instead, they began to be paid a set amount by third-party "health insurance" carriers according to the diagnosis-related group into which the particular patient fell. Explanations of DRG are available all over the 'Net, and I suppose Wikipedia's entry is good enough for most folks' purposes.

The whole thrust of the DRG system can be summed up as discharging each patient "quicker and sicker." A nasty situation for the admitting physician, who has to balance his/her best appreciation of the patient's needs against the hospital administration's pestering to do as little as possible as rapidly as possible to get the patient stable enough to wheel the critter out the door.

As for the matter of sexual promiscuity.... Well, that all went bye-bye when we discovered a sexually transmitted disease that transcended the status of "treatable inconvenience" to become a death sentence. If there's substance to *The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS* premise so beloved of the conservatives, have you ever wondered why the hell all us heterosexual doctors (most of us classifiable as "Hard Right" political conservatives even as college students) have practically welded our zippers shut over the past twenty years and more?

None of this, however, fully explains the failure to make the movie commercially available except on cable TV. There are certainly enough potential purchasers worldwide who are interested in the novel and would like to own a copy of the movie adaptation on home video, no matter how badly produced it might have been. So why is this film so spectacularly unavailable?


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