Shortly after Hurricane Katrina an investigation was opened into “Mercy killings” at local hospitals. This fictional scene follows Dr. Laura Callon as she maneuvers through her trial and the day that Katrina hit as well as the days after. She goes through the memories of the levees breaking, the hospital filling with water, the generators not working, the doctors and nurses leaving and the moment that she was confronted by one of the family members of one of the patients that died during the storm at the hospital. It is an emotional conversation on both sides where we see the pain of the loss of a loved one but we also begin to understand why the mercy killings may have been humane. This scene opens up the doors to the conversation of people making life and death decisions in an instant and what the aftermath can look like. We go from past to present as Dr. Callon stand by her decisions given her circumstances. In a courtroom that is against her, families that are against her, coworkers that don’t even stay long enough to assist. Hard decisions were made by her that day and as the verdict is being handed down will she be found guilty or not guilty of first-degree murder or will the jury understand that walking a mile in someone else’s’ shoes can sometimes mean literally walking through a hellish storm. Katrina is a name that will never be forgotten in American History.
(Dr. Callon stands in front of a jury. She collects herself, closes her eyes and begins to pray.)
Judge: On three counts of murder in the first degree how do you find the defendant?
(Dr. Callon raises her head for a moment, looks around the courtroom and stops on the audience. She steps forward, takes a deep breath.)
Judge: Mrs. Callon this is not the time to speak to this court… Mrs. Callon… Mrs… (The judges’ voice fades out and he is gone as Dr. Callon begins to speak to the audience.)
Dr. Callon: My lawyer told me not to speak. (Smiles)I’ve never been one to listen to authority figures. A woman in the medical field, leading the way, paving the way, someone was always telling me I was doing something that was positive for women in this profession. I would always smile and say thank you, that’s what I was supposed to do. But what I wanted to say was, “I just want to do the work, practice the medicine, save my patients.” All that other bullshit, that wasn’t me. I wasn’t interested in moving up, running anything, teaching classes just give me the worst cases and let me figure it out.
Person: You’ll cure Cancer Laura.
Dr. Callon: You know that’s not what I want to do.
Person: I hear you say that but it’s just the thought that you could. That’s the kind of person you are.
Dr. Callon: What does that mean?
Person: I watch you with your patients and it’s not the clinical book stuff. It’s nothing that we were taught in college, it’s too real.
Dr. Callon: (Laughs)I just care.
Person: I care, you…if my mom or dad or even myself, if we’re ever sick and I mean really sick, promise me you’ll take care of us.
Dr. Callon: That’s nice.
(Person takes her hand; the moment has shifted to something much more serious.)
Person: I’m serious. Maybe you won’t cure Cancer but whatever we might have, you’re the doctor that can do it, whatever it is.
(Dr. Callon shakes her head “yes” and Person leaves.)