John Q. (Denzel Washington) is an ordinary man who works at a factory and takes care of his family. His wife Denise and young son Michael are his world. But when Michael falls seriously ill and needs an emergency heart transplant operation that John Q. can't afford and his health insurance won't cover, he vows to do whatever it will take to keep his son alive. With time and options running out, a desperate gamble becomes his only hope - he takes the emergency room hostage.