When The Alternative is Unthinkable

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When The Alternative is Unthinkable

Taking place in The Bronx, 1969 comes the film Awakenings, based on a true story and directed by Penny Marshall. In this film, a doctor with no previous work on an actual human being until receiving a position at the Bainbridge Hospital as a staff physician is assigned to a room full of catatonic patients. It doesn’t take long until he becomes uncomfortable with them in this state and finds a possible chemical cure he is given permission to try on one patient and eventually all, making a change in fifteen lives with this phenomenal awakening. The cast includes Robert De Niro starring as Leonard Lowe and Robin Williams as Dr. Malcolm Sayer as well as Ruth Nelson as Mrs. Lowe, Alice Drummond as Lucy, and John Heard as Dr. Kaufman. No one knows weather the chemical cure, levodopa (L-dopa) was worth making a change in the lives of these people. It is a question waiting to be answered even to today. By uncovering an old article on a Parkinson cure, Dr. Sayer applied the research to his patient’s, discovering what he thinks will be a cure for his patient’s.

Dr. Malcolm Sayer finds an article showing how all the patients are linked to an older syndrome that then put them in this catatonic state five to fifteen years later. For a start, Dr. Sayer is learning about what has occurred with other patients many years previously. He finds an article about the post-encephalitic syndrome when Dr. Ingham was the M.D. in the article published November 7th, 1935. Dr. Sayer talks with old doctor, Dr. Ingham, to learn that the same things occurring now with patients are the same things from years previous. While talking they watch a screen and Sayer sees that on the screen there is a young man’s eyes, entranced, gaze upward as if trying hard to remember something or trying hard to forget. He asks, “What are they thinking?” “They’re not. The virus didn’t spare the higher faculties,” replies Dr. Ingham. Dr. Sayer states with hopefulness,...
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