In late 2006, Johns Hopkins Medicine agreed once again to a request from ABC News to give unusually wide access to a large team of documentary film makers led by many of the same network producers and journalists who created the award-winning documentary Hopkins: 24/7 eight years ago. After more than five months in The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System facilities working around the clock, the ABC News group went back to New York with 1500 hours of footage. More than 100 Johns Hopkins faculty, residents, nurses, patients and family members gave their consent and participated in the production. Many more of the Johns Hopkins Medicine family worked behind the scenes, off camera and every day to coordinate ABC’s needs while protecting patient privacy and safety.
No one at Hopkins who participated in the documentary has seen any of the footage in advance. There are no narrators, just the voices of the doctors and nurses doing what they do. And most importantly, there are our patients, who in agreeing to tell their stories are sharing remarkably private moments so that the real practice of real medicine can be shown.
The prime-time documentary, which airs seven consecutive Thursdays at 10 p.m. Eastern beginning June 26, focuses more than the earlier series on young physicians still in training, and on the dramatic work of some special nurses. Recorded in cinema verite fashion, it promises to reveal the wonders, but is likely also to show the not-always-perfect human side of Hopkins and its care givers.
Why would Johns Hopkins agree to such an arrangement? Because even without knowing in advance what ABC News would choose to show viewers, we, our clinicians, teachers and nurses decided that it has never been more important to tell the story of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and of academic medical centers, to the public, and to have the story told credibly. If Hopkins and places like it want the public to understand our role, to support our missions of discovering new treatments, training new generations of physicians and offering extraordinary care to patients, we need now more than ever to pull the curtain back, to let people see the complexity of care and the people who devote their lives to delivering it.
Both Hopkins and ABC News took the needed steps to assure patient privacy and safety. All of the patients consented voluntarily and in writing to participate, as did all of the caregivers who are featured in the series. We especially thank them.
Any institution can buy advertisements to present their stories. But to have a premier network do so with its own resources, and on its own, is to give viewers not “reality TV” but, we hope, credible reality. So, we invite you to watch along with us, to see some of what we experience each day. We sincerely want you to learn more about Johns Hopkins Medicine, its services and especially its people.
For nearly 120 years, The Johns Hopkins Hospital has opened its doors to millions of patients. With Hopkins, millions more will be able to share the experience and to know we are here if they need us.
Edward D. Miller, M.D.
Dean/CEO Johns Hopkins Medicine
Ronald R. Peterson
President, The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System