What are the leading causes of death in the US?
You may think the top killers are things like obesity and cancer, which get a lot of press. But real killers are not only our health conditions or diseases. Sometimes the cause of death for a patient in the US, in fact the 3rd most common cause, is simply medical error. Wrong medications, botched procedures, infections from health care sites that could have been prevented – these are all medical errors and combined, are near the top of the list. They have been for more than 10 years. This is the center of the healthcare debate that is sometimes hard to see, with all the distractions about costs.
The chasm between where we are and where we need to be for good health is the subject of 4 of the top 10 most read reports at the Institute of Medicine, IOM right now. Everyone seems to agree on this idea: health care has to change.
Demands for a complete transformation of health care are also called out in a new report from the IOM. Unless we change health care, this group of expert doctors and policy makers predict we will have more harm to patients, and even higher costs that families, states, and the country cannot pay. The new report, “Best Care at Lower Cost, The Path to Continuously Learning Health Care in America” comes out at a great time to fuel debate before national elections. Click on the report title to read the full study for free, online.
Personal health care stories of veterans, patients with heart disease, and family doctors are the focus of a new film coming out Oct 5th, Escape Fire. An escape fire is a survival technique that was born in a life and death forest fire crisis. The film makers of Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, open with this survival technique, beautifully filmed like a heroic myth. The film then takes you on travels around the US to see personal stories in an equally frightening crisis, the nightmare of US health care.
I saw the film at a screening in New York City at the Paley Center for Media. The packed audience laughed at the absurdities shown, cried for the people who suffered throughout the documentary, applauded the film makers. The film is remarkable, both incendiary and heartwarming, exploring hopeful solutions.
Do we know of new ways to escape the vicious cycle of emergency care and surgical procedures? Candidates for changes we need are surprisingly simple, cheap or free, and not new but very, very old.
Have a look at the Escape Fire movie trailer and find the documentary filmmakers news on Facebook and Twitter. Escape Fire is directed and produced by Matthew Heineman and by Susan Froemke, Emmy-winning, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker. They are giving us a way to escape.
I left the movie vowing to take more responsibility for my own health, it was in a word, empowering.