The year 2016, with the election of Donald Trump, intensified a sense of urgency in many arenas, including health care. It was clear his administration would usher in assaults on the standards, rules, and ethics that were the glue binding truth and storytelling in every area of society.
Several TV medical shows were sunsetting, and two showrunners were interested in acquiring my book 12 Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital; both mentioned a sense of urgency in producing a show that highlighted the commitment to caring for other human beings. 12 Patients, bought by NBC-Universal, drew from my 15 years as the medical director at Bellevue Hospital, both the teaching hospital of the New York University Medical School and the crown jewel of the largest public hospital system in the country. I had kept meticulous notebooks about the political, economic, and social issues that impact health. These issues were refracted through the details and stories of hundreds of patients and their families seeking care and solace from a globe under toxic stress. I would be both a writer and a producer for the TV series New Amsterdam based on 12 Patients that aired in the fall of 2018 and is now beginning its second season.