"The Mayo Clinic: Faith - Hope - Science," a New Documentary Executive Produced by Ken Burns, airs on PBS

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19 September 2018
The Mayo Clinic
Operation with sister assisting, 1923 / Photo: Saint Mary’s Hospital Archives, Rochester, MN
"The Mayo Clinic: Faith - Hope - Science"
Premieres Tuesday, September 25 at 9 to 11PM ET on PBS
(Check your local listings)
          "The Mayo Clinic: Faith - Hope - Science," a new two-hour documentary, features Interviews with patients, including John McCain and the Dalai Lama, the film tells the story of William Worrall Mayo, an English immigrant who began practicing medicine with his sons Will and Charlie in Rochester, Minnesota.
         When a deadly tornado tore through their small community in 1883, the Mayos took charge of recovery efforts, enlisting the help of the nearby Sisters of Saint Francis to care for patients. Afterwards, Mother Alfred Moes, the leader of the convent, told Dr. Mayo she had a vision from God that instructed her to build a hospital, with him as its director. She believed it would become “world renowned for its medical arts.”

         Blending historical narrative with contemporary patient stories, THE MAYO CLINIC: FAITH - HOPE - SCIENCE is a timely look at how one institution has met the changing demands of healthcare for 150 years—and what that can teach us about facing the challenges of patient care today.
      “The history of healthcare is a larger reflection of who we are as a nation,” said executive producer Ken Burns. “It includes advances in science and technology, but also touches on more universal themes of love and compassion. This is an extraordinary story that places our fundamental need to care for each other within the larger framework of America’s healthcare system and modern medicine.”
The Mayo Clinic
Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Loren Ewers
         THE MAYO CLINIC: FAITH - HOPE - SCIENCE begins with the story of Dr. W.W. Mayo who, after traveling throughout the Midwest looking for a place to practice, settled with his family in rural Minnesota. Together with the Sisters of Saint Francis and his sons Will and Charlie, he laid the foundation for a medical center that now treats over a million patients every year from 50 states and 150 countries, and employs 64,000 people in Rochester and at campuses in Jacksonville, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona.
          The film also follows the stories of patients who have come to the Clinic looking for answers — and hope. They include:
• Charlene Kelly, a patient in Jacksonville, who receives not only confirmation of her diagnosis of myositis, but learns that her symptoms are also due to leukemia. In spite of the daunting news, she finds comfort in finally getting a complete diagnosis and exploring possible treatments;
• Abigail Feenstra, a toddler from Utah who is treated in Scottsdale for a brain tumor using a state-of-the-art proton beam that avoids damaging healthy tissue;
The Mayo Clinic
Sister Wahlberger sat next to Lucy day-after-day, creating a paper chain—one ring for every day she’d spent at the hospital
Photo: Courtesy of PBS
• Karl Schenk, a patient from South Dakota with advanced pancreatic cancer, who doctors treat with a unique combination of surgery and chemotherapy that challenges conventional assumptions about the possibility of long-term remission;
• Roger Frisch, a concert violinist whose career is threatened by an uncontrollable tremor until a Mayo doctor in Rochester cures it by using experimental deep-brain stimulation.
          Through the story of The Mayo Clinic, the film demonstrates the power of collaboration in medicine, the role of humanity in science and the importance of hope in healing. In doing so, it provides insight into ways to make America’s healthcare delivery system more effective, efficient and compassionate.
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