Baghdad ER

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Baghdad ER

"You can learn about war by walking through this facility...the horrors of what man can do to man are visualized right here. But we do our best, our level best, to make sure our people survive and make it back to their homes." - -- Col. Casper P. Jones III, Commander: 86th Combat Support Hospital.

15-time Emmy® winner Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill were allowed unprecedented access to the 86th Combat Support Hospital in Iraq. Over a two-month period, they captured the day-to-day lives of doctors, nurses, medics, soldiers and chaplains in the Army's premier medical facility. Baghdad ER chronicles those two months, paying tribute to the heroism of U.S. military and medical personnel while offering an unflinching and at times graphic look at the realities of war.

Baghdad ER allows viewers to experience the physical and emotional toll of war by capturing soldiers and care providers in personal moments amidst intense crises inside the 86th Combat Support Hospital. Located in Baghdad's Green Zone, the facility was formerly the site of an elite medical center for Saddam Hussein's supporters. Thanks in part to the skill and dedication of trauma center teams like the one depicted in the film, wounded troops in Iraq have a 90 percent chance of survival - the highest rate of war survivors in U.S. history. The selflessness and dedication of those caring for wounded Americans and Iraqis stands in sharp contrast with the chaos of war.

"This is hard-core, raw, uncut trauma. Day after day, every day," says Specialist Saidet Lanier, an operating room nurse. "Even if you're lucky enough not to go home with war wounds on the outside, if you're not equipped with coping skills, you'll definitely have them on the inside."

The documentary offers a taste of daily life in the thick of war, including exclusive frontline rescue footage of the 54th Medical Company Air Ambulance Team, and dangerous missions of soldiers patrolling "IED Alley," also known as "Route Irish," the most dangerous road in the world. IEDs (improvised explosive devices) are homemade bombs, which are the leading cause of injuries and death in Iraq. Sometimes graphic in its depiction of combat-related wounds, Baghdad ER is an emotional, devastating and honest account of modern-day war.

Baghdad ER is available for puchase on DVD at HBO.

Release Date: 
2006

Credits

Director/Producer/Camera/Audio
Jon Alpert
Director/Producer/Camera/Audio
Matthew O'Neill
Producer
Joseph Feury
Line Producer
Roberta Morris Purdee
Editor
Patrick McMahon, A.C.E.
Editor
Carrie Goldman
Supervising Producer
Sara Bernstein

Awards

Primetime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming (Jon Alpert/Matt O'Neill)
Primetime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Directing for Nonfiction Programming (Jon Alpert/Matt O'Neill)
Primetime Emmy® Award for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking (Jon Alpert/Matt O'Neill/DCTV; Joseph Feury/ Joseph Feury Productions, Sheila Nevins/HBO)
Primetime Emmy® Award for Outstanding Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Lila Yomtoob/Sound Editor)

Reviews

"As powerful as anything apt to be shown on television this or any other year".
- Daily Variety
"The hour-long documentary offers viewers an unvarnished look at how a top-flight combat surgical unit treats military personnel and civilians scarred by the Iraqi war".
- USA Today
"at a moment when supporting our troops is more motto than deed, nothing on television could be more important".
-- Chicago Tribune
"detailed and intimate, sympathetic but unflinching, possibly destined to be a classic documentary of the U.S. war in Iraq".
- Los Angeles Times
"Brilliant, brutal, necessary television".
- New York Post