A Story Of Hope: Ken Burns, Erik Ewers Talk New Documentary About The Mayo Clinic

September 24, 2018 - 5:00 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- What happens when America's best documentary filmmaker trains the camera on the nation’s top medical institution? It's called The Mayo Clinic: Faith - Hope - Science, a two-hour film documentary from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns and his talented team.

The Mayo Clinic film airs on PBS Tuesday, September 25th at 9pm (ET) and tells what Burns describes as "amazing story."

Burns, famous for works on The Civil War, World War II, and the Vietnam War, said of this project, “I can’t imagine a more important story that we have told than the Mayo Clinic.”

Burns sat down with WCBS 880 news anchor Steve Scott to talk about the Mayo Clinic film.

It features interviews with patients, including the late John McCain and the Dalai Lama in telling the history of the 150-year-old medical facility that sets the standard of health care with a patient-centered philosophy.

“Here we have this example of medicine at its very, very best in the United States” said Burns. “…the Mayo Clinic just sort of flooding the zone brings all of their expertise – just rated the best hospital in the United States again …. How could you not be drawn, in an age where we debate endlessly health …. How could you not be drawn to a story about the people who’ve been getting it right for 150 years.”

Despite the fractious political debate over health care in America today, Burns says, “This is not a political film. We found a place, we found a story that we think people should know about that as Americans we should be proud. At a time when things seem to be unraveling and that the lowest common denominator is being appealed to these people have – for a century and a half – been tilting toward what Abraham Lincoln begged us to do which was to heed to better angels of our nature and there is no better example of our better angels than to watch the Mayo Clinic in action.”

Burns and co-director Erik Ewers each spoke to the power of faith and healing in their work with the patients and doctors who worked at the institution. Said Ewers, “ If there is anything people can take away from this film, I believe that it should be hope - that if there is an institution that is doing its best to provide this hope when you are very scared and terrified about the illness that you may have that even if you don’t go to the Mayo Clinic there’s still hope out there. It’s everywhere and the Mayo Clinic just reminds us of that.”

The Mayo Clinic: Faith - Hope – Science airs on PBS Tuesday September 25th 9pm, with a repeat broadcast Wednesday, September 26th 10pm.