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Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. After a routine partial hip replacement operation leaves the mother of filmmaker and comedian Steve Burrows in a coma with permanent brain damage, what starts as a personal video diary becomes a citizen’s investigation into the state of American health care.
Bleed Out is his harrowing, eye-opening account of the 10 years that follow — an endless cycle of medical bills, emergency-room visits and insurance-company red tape. Part medical mystery and legal thriller, part investigative journey and meditation on family, this is a revealing, cautionary tale.
The documentary uses one family’s story to underscore deep flaws in America’s current healthcare system and highlights ways those problems could be fixed. In addition to intimate footage and interviews with members of the Burrows family, the film features observations from experts in the field, including Dr. Marty Makary, M.D., a surgeon at Johns Hopkins and author of “Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care,” who contextualizes the issues of health-care policy and medical error.