• Sat, Mar 16 2013

A Message From St. James Hospital

hospital
INT. WHITE ROOM

MARY (a serene-looking woman of about 40)
faces the camera.

MARY
This is Christina.

A picture of CHRISTINE (young, smiling woman)
fills the screen.

MARY
Three years ago, Christina was
diagnosed with a rare form of
blood cancer. Doctors gave her
only months to live. Then she
found St. James Hospital.

A picture of an impressively modern hospital. Sleek.

MARY (V.O.)
The dedicated medical staff of St.
James devoted themselves tirelessly
to finding the most effective treatments
for Christina’s unique condition.
Today her cancer is in remission.

A smiling CHRISTINA steps into the room to join MARY.
MARY puts her arm affectionately around CHRISTINA.

CHRISTINA
The people at St. James Hospital
understand that today, while over 10
million Americans have cancer,
everyone’s medical needs are unique.

SHOTS of Christina riding a bike, walking in a garden, etc.

MARY
Patients from all walks of life
come to find answers at St. James,
a world leader in fighting cancer.
We’re not just trying to treat the
symptoms. We believe that if we
work together, we can put a stop
to cancer forever.

CHRISTINA
Forever.

CUT TO CANCER PATIENT #1, sitting up in a
hospital bed and smiling bravely.

CANCER PATIENT #1
Forever.

CUT TO CANCER PATIENT #2, sitting up in
bed at home and smiling bravely.

CANCER PATIENT #2
Forever.

CUT TO MARY and CHRISTINA.

MARY
So that you can die of something
else.

CHRISTINA
With new approaches to treatment
like immunotherapy, which uses
your body’s own immune system to
fight cancer. So when you do die,
it won’t be from cancer. It will
be from something else, somewhat
later.

MARY
Patients at St. James can expect
world-class care from medical
experts working at the top of their
field. Our tireless staff will
devote all of their resources to
combating your illness. They’re
developing new treatments, new
medications, new surgical techniques
on a daily basis in order to bring
you the best medical care possible.

CHRISTINA
Then they’ll send you back out into
the world to live a while longer
before you die of something else.

MARY
That’s right. St. James believes
that everybody has the right to
die of something that isn’t cancer,
a little further down the road.
Maybe MS.

CHRISTINA
Maybe in a car accident.

CUT TO CANCER PATIENT #1.

CANCER PATIENT #1
Maybe you’ll die of pneumonia.
That usually happens after your
lungs fill up with fluid and you
can’t breathe on your own.

CUT TO CANCER PATIENT #2.

CANCER PATIENT #2
Maybe you’ll die of Alzheimer’s
after years of mental and physical
deterioration.

CUT TO MARY and CHRISTINA.

CHRISTINA
Maybe screaming, in a plane crash.

MARY
Maybe peacefully, in bed, surrounded
by your loved ones, at a very old age.

MARY and CHRISTINA laugh gently at one another.

CHRISTINA
That one isn’t very likely.

MARY
That’s right.

MARY puts her hands on CHRISTINA’s shoulders.

MARY
Christina here is still going to
die.

CHRISTINA (smiling)
That’s right.

MARY
And so will everyone she loves. And
so will I.

CHRISTINA (to camera)
So will you.

MARY
You’ll die, and you’ll be dead forever.

CHRISTINA
But it will almost certainly happen a
not insignificant amount of time after
your stay at St. James.

MARY
Almost certainly.

CHRISTINA
Unless you are very unlucky.

MARY
Yes, unless you are very unlucky, odds
are excellent that it will take your
body another ten or fifteen years to
finish dying after your cancer scare.

CHRISTINA
We want you to go out and enjoy that
precious time for the four or six or
even nineteen years you have left
before the next round of bad news
from your doctor.

MARY
Thanks to St. James, that bad news
doesn’t have to be cancer.

CHRISTINA
It can be something else.

MARY
Yes, if you have another disease,
that’s really not something we’re
equipped to help you with. Ending
cancer is really the only goal we
have. There have to be at least a
thousand other diseases you can die
from out there.

CHRISTINA
Oh, at least.

MARY
And certainly there are more things
that will kill you besides disease,
I should think.

CHRISTINA
If nothing else, your body will just
eventually wear out.

MARY
And there’s absolutely nothing we can
do about that.

CHRISTINA
Cancer we can help with, though.

MARY (perhaps desperately)
And that’s not nothing!

CHRISTINA
St. James has been dedicated to
postponing and otherwise altering
the nature of your inevitable death
for over 40 years.

MARY
The people who originally founded St.
James are now dead.

CHRISTINA
But not of cancer.

MARY
No, not of cancer. Of other things,
some of them very painful.

CHRISTINA
The important thing to remember is
that there are only so many goals
we can try to meet at any given time.

MARY
So let’s stop cancer. Together.

CHRISTINA
Together.

CUT TO CANCER PATIENT #1.

CANCER PATIENT #1
Together.

CUT TO CANCER PATIENT #2.

CANCER PATIENT #2
Together.

MARY
Because at St. James, we believe
that when you die…it should be
from something that isn’t cancer.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

What We're Reading:
Share This Post:
  • NotJeffGoldblum

    You have a dark sense of humor, and I like it

  • Lemona

    Brilliant.