- 1 hr 40 min
A group of young doctors with high standards find themselves working in a Kansas City Veterans' Administration hospital that is short on funding. Hospital administrator Dr. Henry Dreyfoos (John Mahoney) is there to make sure the doctors follow all the rules. Dr. Richard Sturgess (Ray Liotta), Dr. Sid Handleman (Forest Whitaker) and Dr. Rudy Bobrick (John C. McGinley), though, lead a group of doctors that are convinced the hospital administration's only goal is to cut costs and save money without concerning itself with the health of the patients. The doctors refuse to turn away patients and lower their standards of healthcare. Young Dr. Peter Morgan (Kiefer Sutherland) begins his internship at the hospital and, with the help of Dr. Sturgess, Dr. Handleman and others, soon realizes he will learn more about the treatment of patients than he ever imagined. Article 99 states that patients are not entitled to Veterans Administration medical benefits unless their injury or illness is related to military service. In one scene a patient is denied medical treatment because the hospital has no official proof that he is disabled. He then takes off his prosthetic leg and slams it on the counter. Sturgess adopts the philosophy that when the hospital won't authorize treatment a patient needs, he will keep them there until they do. Sturgess hides patients in seemingly every open area in the hospital until the procedures they need can be performed. One patient is authorized for a prostate procedure but Sturgess performs open heart surgery instead because that is the patient's most immediate need. Sturgess continues to fight against what he feels is the administrations' never ending belt tightening and cost cutting. Dr. Dreyfoos, tired of battling the doctors and hearing their complaints, decides to suspend Dr. Sturgess. Sturgess then goes public with the administration's dirty laundry, causing a media uproar. The patients also revolt and try to take over the hospital.