Literary Analysis of the Movie “The Verdict”
The Verdict Mandi Dersch Galen College of Nursing Literary Analysis: The Verdict People delegate important personal aspects of their lives to professionals, but not without the risks of unethical behaviors. The word Professional makes one think of wealth and power, which can result in corruption; winning by any means necessary. In the movie The Verdict, Frank Galvin plays a lawyer who has reduced himself to being a drunken ambulance chaser (Brown, Harris, Zanuck, & Lumet, 1982).
He is given an opportunity by his good friend, Mickey Morrisey, to morally redeem himself; not only as a lawyer, but most importantly a person. The Case A medical malpractice suit had been filed against St. Catherine’s Laboure Hospital physicians Towler and Marks involving Deborah Anne Kay. A very pregnant Deborah Anne Kay was administered the wrong anesthesia during a cesarean delivery resulting in the aspiration of vomitus leaving Deborah Anne Kay in a perpetually comatose state.
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Frank has a strong case and is assured that the hospital will settle without having to go to trial.
Deborah Anne Kay’s sister and brother-in-law, Sally and Kevin Doneghy, only want to settle for enough money for Deborah to be properly cared for. Frank goes to visit Deborah and begins to take Polaroid’s of her lifeless body lying there so still and he begins to experience feelings of intense moral vivication. Frank goes to see Bishop Brophy of the Archdiocese and Mr. Concannon the lawyer for the hospital and they offer $210,000 as a settlement. Frank states that “no one will know the truth” and Bishop Brophy replied, “what is the truth?
Frank then states that: that poor girl put her trust into the hands of two men that took her life. She is in a coma. Her life is gone. She has no family, she has no home, she’s tied to a machine, she has no friends and the people who should care for her-her doctors and you and me-have been bought off to look the other way. We have been paid to look the other way. I came here to take your money. I brought snapshots to show you, so I could take your money. I can’t do it; I can’t take it. Cause if I take the money I’m lost.
I’ll just be a rich ambulance chaser. I can’t do it. I can’t take it. (Mamet, 1982, p. 101) He was compelled to make their wrong right and did so by taking the case to trial. He viewed this as a way to turn his life and career around by doing what was right, but he discovers quickly that Ed Concannon was always one step ahead and through many corrosive acts almost derails Frank’s case. The Prince of Darkness Ed Concannon is a distinguished and deceitful lawyer defending the hospital and doctors Towler and Marks.
There would be no one to stand in his way of another victory; he pays off witnesses and hired Laura Fischer, who sought out Frank romantically to get insight into his strategies. Laura fell hard for Frank and her deceitful actions became more than she could handle. She let Ed Concannon know and he said to her: I’m going to tell you something that I learned when I was your age. I had prepared a case and old man White asked me, ‘How did you do? ’ I said, ‘I did my best. ’ He said, ‘You’re not paid to do your best; you’re paid to win!(Mamet, 1982, p. 59) Ed Concannon viewed his client’s as fomites that he could manipulate for profit rather than do what is right. His approach to law was unethical both morally and professionally, but the most contentious view of Concannon’s ethical behavior was his callous views of justice. Laura Fischer Laura Fischer had a passion for law and after her recent divorce she was ready to get back to work. Ed Concannon assigned Laura her first task; to eavesdrop on Frank and relay pertinent information back to Ed Concannon.
She accomplished this task with great ease that is until she begins to see Frank changing and doing right by Deborah Anne Kay. She realizes at a crucial point in the case that she has fallen in love with Frank and she withholds the discovery of a compelling witness. Laura’s actions were deceitful and morally unethical; her mind set was to do whatever it took to get back in the role of the professional. She had lost sight of what her goal was as a lawyer, justice. Her views of justice were tainted by Ed Concannon and his philosophy of winning by any means necessary.
In the end, she tries to make it right with Frank and lost. Nurse Maureen Rooney Frank continues his search for witnesses that were there on that dreadful day with Deborah Anne Kay only to find that the ones that were willing to talk were all being bribed to stay quiet or sent on elaborate vacations. He found an obstetrics nurse, by the name of Maureen Rooney who witnessed the happenings in the operating room. She refuses to speak about the events that day and Frank threatens to summon her to court, Maureen replied, “You know, you guys are all the same—you don’t care who you hurt.
All you care about is a dollar” (Mamet, 1982, p. 86). It became obvious to Frank that Ed Concannon had gotten to Maureen Rooney. Maureen Rooney knew what had happened that day yet refused to come forward to defend the one person that could no longer defend herself and she hid the identity of the nurse that could have ended Ed Concannon’s case entirely. Maureen felt an obligation to only protect her longtime friend and coworker, Kaitlin Costello, but felt no obligation to Deborah Anne Kay. Kaitlin Costello Kaitlin Costello was the nurse who admitted Deborah Anne Kay.
She had documented that Deborah Anne Kay had eaten a full meal one hour before admission and doctor Towler went ahead with administering the anesthesia that caused Deborah Anne Kay to aspirate her own vomit. Kaitlin Costello was confronted by Dr. Towler and he told her to change the one to a nine on the admission form. Kaitlin makes a copy of the original admission document then changes the original form to show that Deborah Anne Kay ate nine hours before admission. Kaitlin Costello never discloses that Dr. Towler was responsible for Deborah Anne Kay’s outcome.
She was so overwhelmed with guilt that she decided to quit nursing forever and moves away from Boston. Frank was able to locate her after overhearing Maureen on the phone. He broke into Maureen’s mailbox to get her phone bill and was able to get a phone number for Kaitlin Costello. Frank goes to New York to talk to her and she is more than willing to do what is right and testify against the hospital and Dr. Towler. Kaitlin was a good nurse as well as a good human being, but she could no longer work with Dr. Towler, therefore; ended her career as a nurse.
Conclusion Professionals are held responsible to uphold a certain standard and code of conduct. According to the American Medical Association, a physician shall, while caring for a patient; regard responsibility to the patient as paramount (“Principles of Medical Ethics,” 2013). In the movie The Verdict, Doctor Towler had a responsibility to Deborah Anne Kay, but he failed to simply read her chart because he was tired and busy. His negligence put Deborah Anne Kay in a vegetative state for the rest of her life. Dr.
Towler’s deceit and negligence to read her chart before the procedure and after not informing her family of his mistake was very unethical, even unlawful. References Brown, D. (Producer), Harris, B. (Producer), Zanuck, R. (Producer), & Lumet, S. (Director). (1982). The Verdict [Motion picture]. USA: 20th Century Fox. Mamet. D. (1982). The Verdict. Galen College of Nursing. Louisville, KY. Principles of Medical Ethics. (2013). Retrieved from http://www. ama-assn. org/ama/pub/physician-resources/medical-ethics/code-medical-ethics/principles-medical-ethics. page?