“Kickstarter” is the popular crowdfunding site where individuals and organizations make calls for donations and support for various endeavors. The projects are widespread, often related to art, history, humanitarian issues, political proposals and more. For example, one Kickstarter project that recently made a call for support is that of a documentary focusing on the prevalence of medical errors and the need to act to tackle the problem. The Kickstarter funding page can be viewed here. On the page you can view a trailer for the project. The organizers have a goal of raising $25,000 for the endeavor. Right now a total of seventy seven backers have provided well over $8,000 toward that ultimate total.
The Wall of Silence
The project is referred to as “Breaking the Wall of Silence,” with a one sentence summary that states: “A film about the quest to break through healthcare’s wall of silence surrounding medical errors in order to improve patient safety.”
In describing the value of the project and the need to increase awareness of medical mistakes, the documentary will explore several cases of tragic loss caused by medical malpractice. For example, one mother involved in the project lost her son as a result of surgical complications. It only later came out that the brain surgery in question was not even needed and the doctor who performed it had been sued for malpractice in another state. In another case, surgical complications were completely ignored as a teenager spent thirty hours bleeding to death while caregivers ignored signs that something was wrong.
Explaining the Problem
We often reiterate the widespread problem of medical errors which continue to affect tens of thousands of medical patients each and every year throughout the country. Hopefully projects like this one are able to get off the ground and explain the problem to an even larger audience.
One of the goals of this documentary is to show that much more can be done to limit the serious injuries and deaths caused by medical errors. The estimated 100,000 annual fatal accidents are not necessarily just an unpreventable by product of a complex system. Instead, there is much that can be done to systematically address the problems, force change, and ultimately save lives. But those steps are simply not being taken. In the past, other industries (like aviation) enacted widespread safeguards to minimize accidental harm; there is little good reason that the medical community is not doing the same.
Doctors Speaking Out
The makers of the documentary note that it is critical for those within the medical community to stand up and speak out about the need to make safety changes. Some are doing just that and may be included in the film. For example, one doctor singled out is leading a patient safety initiative that is working to cull experiences from across the country to compile best practices which can be followed in any setting to systematically limit patient harm from preventable errors.
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