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Damaged Care

A movie directed by Harry Winer

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Damaged Care - 2002

  • Nov 16, 2008
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Damaged Care is based on the life of Dr. Linda Peeno, who became the spokesperson against the corrupt managed care providers that now rule our medical lives.  I don't recall why she wasn't a practicing physician, although it may have been mentioned.  I did find it unusual that someone, at her relatively young age, would not be in the doctoral setting that she obviously studied many years to become.  Instead, she took her knowledge and went to work for the managed care system.  Her position was to review cases; who qualify and who doesn't. 

The ambiguous qualification system seemed like most businesses; those that have, get, and those that don't have, are refused.  In other words, if John Buckola's name crosses her desk, he receives treatment no matter what the circumstances.  If Amy Downonherluck's name crosses, she is denied, even if it is a life saving treatment.  It's all about the bottom line, just like any other business.  Except this one directly deals with human lives.

When she gets disgusted with the gross system practices, she leaves that position, moving to yet another.  Apparently she wore blinders and didn't recognize it was the same process, just dressed up in a different outfit.   She would quit this position but her husband, an OB/GYN, says they can't afford to live on his salary alone.  He accuses her of being too virtuous while all along he is banging the nurses he encounters right and left.

Linda finally makes her stand when she approves a voice machine that had been denied by all management at her company.  From this point her crusade begins.

The thread of ‘finding her voice' runs throughout this production.  Much of it is narrated by some faceless being that is finally revealed at the end of the movie.  Linda is also prompted to step forward as a speaker by a nun she has a casual encounter with one day. 

There are several things that kept this from being a really good movie and moved it to rather lackluster.  For one thing, it is so repetitive.  How many times do we really need to see the scenes repeated with the stacks of papers that Linda is stamping ‘denied' on to get across the fact that managed care systems are just pure junk?  Then she leaves one firm to quickly go to another, repeating the same thing.  Yes, we get it, cut out some of the scenes. 

Another thing, she is no ones Erin Brockovich.  Erin grabbed her problem from the onset and fought like a junk yard dog.  Linda minces limply through the process, almost blushing.  If you are going to take a stand and make a fight, put on your gloves and get to it.  None of that pus_sy-footing about.   You neither championed her or had sympathy for her. 

And my final gripe; the managed care system itself.  Yes, it was exposed, but little time was spent on the outcome and results.  Instead we sloshed our way through Linda's rather messy life and personal habits and goals.  Despite all that, despite her continued fight, managed care still rules today.

This film was directed by Harry Winer; writer Ilene Chaiken.  It stars Laura Dern as Linda Peeno, Adam Arkin as a rather uncaring attorney, and Diane Ladd as the nun.  It carries a PG rather for language and thematic elements.  It received no awards.


This is my submission into the Lean-n-Mean VII hosted by sleeper54


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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


Laura Dern stars as Linda Peeno in this true story of one woman's war against the negligence of medical insurance companies. Peeno, a doctor, finds herself monitoring the work of her fellow healthcare professionals, who have been told by their superiors to cut corners in their treatment of patients. As this begins to take its toll on her, she finds that she can no longer sit back as patients are given insufficient care.
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Cast: Diane Ladd
Director: Harry Winer
Release Date: 2002
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: Paramount Home Entertainment (December 10, 2002)
Runtime: 1hr 54min
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