I've spent the last year developing a new documentary film called BREAKING THE WALL OF SILENCE. It's about the important topic of patient safety. It's been eye-opening to research this topic and learn about the risks that patients face in a healthcare culture that routinely hides medical errors behind a "wall of silence."
The interesting thing to me is that I first came across this concept way back in 1996 when Ken Sande, a former lawyer who founded Peacemaker Ministries, gave a message titled "The Gift of Conflict." In it, he gave an illustration of a hospital where a baby was born during a nursing shift change and didn't make the "hand off"--neither shift was aware of the birth and the baby died. So the hospital predictably put both nurses involved on administrative leave and hustled them behind the "wall of silence" that prevented them from talking to the family. But the parents involved found out who these nurses were and went to each of their homes, assuring them that they were only there to offer forgiveness. Which made both of the nurses unleash a tide of guilt and shame, and eventually led one to become a Christian. The "deny and defend" response didn't have a place for the innate human need for forgiveness and reconciliation.
All these years later, I've never forgotten that story. In the healthcare industry, they sometimes call the affected healthcare professionals "second victims." That's a controversial term, but the concept remains the same--when intent to harm is not there, conscientious healthcare providers are horrified when they make preventable medical mistakes. But historically the healthcare system has engaged in high-risk activity without using the best practices to prevent harm that are typical of other high-risk industries, such as aviation. The result is that patients die in astounding numbers: it's been estimated that more than 100,000 patients die each year from preventable medical mistakes.
Our film is about a group of doctors and patient advocates who are trying to transform patient safety through the principles of transparency, accountability, and honesty. They have started their quest this month and my company, Citygate Films, has been given access to film this undertaking. So watch this trailer to understand some of the issues involved. Then, if you feel this project has merit, my team and I would certainly appreciate your support for our all-or-nothing Kickstarter funding campaign. (For additional reading, I also recommend Rosemary Gibson's leading book on patient safety, Wall of Silence, from where we obtained our title. She is one of the subjects of our film.)