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The film opened with a woman in a car accident, with an organ donor bracelet on her left hand. Then, in another scene, where a boy of the age of 10, this was Michael Archibald, he was playing baseball, and being cheered on by his father, John Quincy Archibald and mother, Denise.

As Michael ran after hitting a strike, he suddenly grasped his chest and in a slow motion fell on to the ground, unconscious. John and Denise immediately ran to his side, and John carried Michael and both parents rushed him to the nearest hospital.

After a series of tests, John and Denise were told that Michael has an enlarged heart and the only way he could survive was for him to undergo a heart transplant. The procedure would cost around 250,000 dollars. John and Denise agreed to the operation, sure that John’s company insurance would cover the operation.

However, this started John’s misery. His insurance agent denied his request stating that the procedure was not included in his coverage. So John was forced to try and raise the money himself. He sold his pick-up truck, some of their furniture, even loaned some from their friends, but it was hard to raise 250,000 dollars.

Denise was at the same time pressuring John because the hospital would release Michael in a few days and remove him from the organ recipient list, unless they could come up with the money in time. Michael’s health was continuously failing and he was put on a respirator. John promised to Michael that he would do anything to get him that operation; he would do anything for his beloved son to get well.

In a desperate move, carrying a shotgun, John took over the emergency room of the hospital, barricaded the door and took the people inside as hostages. His only demand was that the hospital put Michael back in the organ recipient list.

As policemen arrived and surrounded the whole place, snipers were put in place, and veteran negotiators tried to convince John to give up himself. But John remained firm, he wanted the hospital to put Michael back in the organ recipient list or he would kill his hostages one by one. In total, John had 7 people trapped inside the emergency room, and one of them was a doctor, who told him that even if Michael was put back in the list, he would not still be the top priority, he would not survive waiting for an available heart.

John realized the futility of his demand and with much thought, decided that he would give his own heart so that his son would live. As they wheeled Michael into the emergency room, John tearfully said his goodbyes and tried to commit suicide by shooting himself with the shotgun. But, then the shotgun was not loaded the whole time he held them all captive so his first shot was null.

The second time, he placed bullets inside the gun and prepared himself for the fatal shot when his wife, Denise, received a call that a woman, with the same blood type as Michael, met an accident and she was being taken to the hospital to harvest her heart. Denise went running towards John to stop him from what he was about to do.

So, the freshly harvested heart was flown in and was transplanted into Michael’s. After the procedure and making sure his son would be okay, John gave himself up and he was charged with attempted murder, armed criminal action, and kidnapping.

He was found not guilty of the first two charges but was found guilty on kidnapping and sentenced to serve five years in prison. John accepted this gladly as he looked over to his son, Michael, who was now very healthy and waving at him, teary-eyed. John smiled.

When John took over the Emergency Room, he only wanted one thing, for his son, Michael to be put back on the organ recipient list. It was only a simple demand, because John was pushed to the edge, he only wanted more time so could raise the needed money but the hospital was very inconsiderate and decided to release Michael. John thought that if his son would be put back on the list, Michael would still have a better chance of having the operation once he was able to raise the needed money.

John has an insurance provided by the factory he was working for, but due to the complexity of the procedure, which was a heart transplant, the insurance assessor denied John’s request for the plan that John’s company paid for, does not cover a heart transplant operation.

This movie was about how a certain institution managed the care of one patient, who was not able to come up with the requirement that they were asking, for them to be able to provide the right kind of treatment, and in this case, a heart transplant.

The hospital’s management, however, though seen as heartless in that instance for releasing the boy, was only doing their job, in preserving the institution’s interest as well as the other patient’s interest. Sometimes, in managing a system of care, hard decisions needed to be done.

The decision that the institution made drove John to do what he did. In a way, John felt that the hospital was not giving them enough time and that they did not care as to what was going to happen to his son. John felt that since they can not come up with the 250,000 dollars, the hospital no longer wanted to give his son the care that he needed.

Wherein, the most critical part that really set off John was Denise, his wife, crying to him, blaming him in a way for not doing enough to raise the money that they need. John felt compelled to do something in that instant. Doubled by the fear of losing his only son, and the prospect of losing his wife too, plus the fact that he got nothing left since he sold everything that they own, and probably get fired from his job, he did what he believed was the only thing that he could do, at that time.


John Q, the Movie. 2002. Released by New Line Productions, Inc.

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