If Dreams Were Lightning: Rural Healthcare Crisis

A couple of weeks ago, I found out about a documentary called If Dreams Were Lightning: Rural Healthcare Crisis while listening to Death, Sex & Money, one of my favorite podcasts and one that I still need write a post about. The documentary is by the award-winning director Ramin Bahrani done in collaboration with PBS and focuses in Appalachia, where American communities are left with limited or no access to healthcare. Since rural health is a key subject in the work that I do, I was very interested in watching it after listening to the interview from podcast episode. Two nurse practitioners, Teresa and Paula, from The Health Wagon were interviewed on the podcast and are featured in the documentary. A lot of it centers around how they travel throughout the parts of rural central Appalachia providing care to those who have been left behind and have little to no other options for quality healthcare.

In the very tight 26 minutes, you hear from different folks from various backgrounds about their lives and struggles over the years. There is also some discussion on the epidemic of rural hospital closures due to poor reimbursement rates and severe understaffing. This powerful short documentary was shortlisted for the 2024 Oscar for Documentary Short Film. In the end it wasn't selected as a nominee, but it is still very much worth a watch if you have any interest in what's going on in rural areas in the healthcare field. It's free to watch directly on PBS's website (see link above) or if you search for it on YouTube. The subject matter is heavy and very serious, please use discretion and watch it when you're in a good frame of mind.


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