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In a New Film, Shannon Brownlee Reveals Woeful Health Care Waste
Escape Fire | January 30, 2012

In a New Film, Shannon Brownlee Reveals Woeful Health Care Waste

“30,000 Medicare recipients die each year from care they didn’t need,” Shannon Brownlee says in the new documentary Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. “That’s the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every week. If the aviation industry killed as many people, we’d be up in arms.” Escape Fire may be for health care what Charles Ferguson’s Inside Job was for Wall Street or Davis Guggenheim’s Waiting for Superman was for education: a searing look at how a system that affects millions of people became so toxic—a provocative documentary that, ultimately, points a way forward. Variety writes that, though Escape Fire lacks the “outrage” of Michael Moore’s Sicko, “this doc is stronger on finding viable solutions.” In her book, Overtreated, Shannon Brownlee argues that overtreatment (and not lack of treatment) may be at the core of our many health care woes. Brownlee is just one of many experts featured throughout what is shaping up to be a very important film for 2012. Watch a teaser for the film HERE.

Escape Fire is a documentary by award-winning filmmakers Matthew Heineman & Susan Froemke. Here is an excerpt from Variety's review:

Likened to a raging forest inferno by the talented nonfiction team of Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke, the American health care system is diagnosed up one side and down the other in the highly instructional Escape Fire...Like a doctor's carefully structured analysis of a patient's condition, the film breaks down its massive subject into manageable, clear, but not simplified parts. Key topics include: physicians' fees ; prevention vs. merely controlling pain; the system's dependency on drugs; corporate profit margins vs. patient care; patient insistence on maximum treatment, regardless of cost; the rise of diabetes; the predominance of fast food; and, the healthcare industry's lobbying grip against reform.

Personal stories dovetail with expert analysis from such key critics of the system as medical journalist Shannon Brownlee (who observes how hospital errors are the third highest cause of death in the U.S.), former Medicare chief Don Berwick (who explains the title's metaphor of an escape fire set to flee a larger fire as an example of how we must think differently about reforming health care) and doctors at the leading edge of alternative and preventative medical practices, Andrew Weil and Dean Ornish.
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