I thought that the movie 5B was beautifully produced. I really enjoyed how the directors conveyed a temporal shift through the use of both recent film of the empty ward and older film from when the ward was in use. Although there are many parallels between the AIDS epidemic as depicted in the film and our current COVID-19 pandemic, I kept thinking about how similar the 5B ward approach to care seems to hospice care. Hospice care emphasizes the importance of human touch in care and building relationships that nurture trust and care. Just as one of the 5B nurses said about their type of treatment, hospice focuses on the care not the cure as well. Interestingly, hospice care was in its infancy at the same time the 5B ward was built, with the very first hospice center built in 1974. While great strides have been made in the field of hospice care since then, at the time the “caring” mentality of medicine was novel. Previously comfort care was seen as a failure of medical technology. As the film shows, I think that having comfort care as the only option to treat AIDS patients perpetuates others fear of them because they saw how medicine can fail or lose.
To address some of the questions from the lecture on April 1st, I think that what is missing from the documentary are the families and social lives of the nurses involved. I wonder, how did this new approach to care affect the social lives of the nurses when they were off the clock? Did they isolate themselves as many of the COVID-19 healthcare workers currently are?