A Healthy Chicago, Peace by Peace

Cook County Hospital house staff officers on strike in 1975. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Cook County Hospital house staff officers on strike in 1975. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Jack Pizzy is a British filmmaker who began his career as a television anchor and reporter. His documentary I Call It Murder was first aired on the BBC television program Man Alive in 1979. The film depicts Cook County Hospital in Chicago before it closed in 1975 due to a lack of funding. Because the hospital was public, many of Chicago’s poor communities relied on its services. The documentary focuses on violence as being a major problem in Cook County; most of the patients suffered from severe gun and knife wounds. Pizzy even remarks of Cook County saying,

The most common fatal complication of pregnancy is gunshot wounds.

The documentary also shows that many of the fatally injured patients at Cook County Hospital were initially turned away by other hospitals because of poverty and racism — since many of the patients lacked medical insurance and were Black or Latino. Perhaps more depressing is that nearly forty years later, the interplay of poverty, racism, violence and access to healthcare still exists.

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