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Ghost Canyon

'The Mayo Clinic, Faith, Hope and Science'
(Peter Coyote / DVD / G / 2018 / PBS)

Overview: This is the story of the renowned institution that has been called the "place for hope when there is no hope." By combining the history of the institution with stories about present-day patients, the film makes an important contribution to discussions about our commitment to taking care of each other, about the role of money and profit in medicine, and about the very nature of healing itself.

DVD Verdict: 'The Mayo Clinic: Faith - Hope - Science' tells the story of a unique medical institution that has been called a "Medical Mecca," the "Supreme Court of Medicine," and the "place for hope where there is no hope."

The Mayo Clinic began in 1883 as an unlikely partnership between the Sisters of Saint Francis and a country doctor named William Worrall Mayo after a devastating tornado in rural Minnesota. Since then, it has grown into an organization that treats more than a million patients a year from all 50 states and 150 countries.

Dr. Mayo had a simple philosophy he imparted to his sons Will and Charlie: "the needs of the patient come first." They wouldn't treat diseases ... they would treat people.

In a world where healthcare delivery is typically fragmented among individual specialties, the Mayo Clinic practices a multi-specialty, team-based approach that has, from its beginnings, created a culture that thrives on collaboration.

Directed by Erik Ewers, Christopher Loren Ewers, and Ken Burns and Narrated by the wonderful Peter Coyote, 'The Mayo Clinic: Faith - Hope - Science' is an incredible 115 minute long presentation of hope and love for the fellow men and women of our world that suffer daily, that has ever been broadcast, I feel.

Weaving stories of patients throughout the two-hour film, we get a sense of the culture and the collaboration. Indeed, among those treated is Karl Schenk, a Siouxlander who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“You do nothing and die or a take a chance,” he says, realizing Mayo could be his last hope. An innovative approach (involving chemotherapy, radiation and surgery) enabled physicians to treat him successfully, giving credence to that “miracle in the cornfields” reputation.

In truth, standardized records, teaching situations and patient-centered care have their roots in Rochester. That so much could come from a single place points to the value of prioritizing. The documentary doesn’t suggest it, but the Mayo method might be a perfect way of solving the nation’s health care woes. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Deleted Scenes including Additional Patient Stories and Destination Medicine, 1928
Behind-the-Scenes Music Video