Matthew Heineman’s feature long documentary Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare was released in 2012 and focuses on the best way to repair what the film describes as America broken health care system. Indeed, the health care system in general has been the subject of numerous political discussions following the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010. To these ends the following paper is divided into two sections. Section one first provides a brief synopsis of the film then identifies and discusses the key themes. Section two then relates the themes contained in Escape Fire to nursing profession practice in the United States and provides a conclusion to the paper, highlighting the main controversies of the film and there relevance to health care professionals.
Matthew Heineman’s Escape Fire
Some of the major themes pertinent to healthcare professionals in Matthew Heineman’s Escape Fire are the critique of the current health care system, the controversy behind paying for health care and health care in the United States as a defunct business model. In particular, the film makes clear that the current system is failing primarily due to the fact the healthcare sector is run as a business rather than for the benefit of the patients. The business model also leads to a second point raised by the film, namely the ethical question over payment before treatment. In contrast to the United States, many other countries have an absolutely free health care system, for example the Nation Health Service in the United Kingdom provides free health care for all. A final theme the film raised was the conflict between the policy direction of the healthcare system and t6he belief of its key workers.
The Relevance to Professional Practice
Many of the themes and statistics raised in Matthew Heineman’s Escape Fire are intimately linked to current consideration for health care professionals. One of the central arguments throughout the film was the difference between policy and the United States’ health care system as a whole to the actual opinions of health care professionals. Indeed, the commercialization of the health care system at present provides a patchwork of differing approaches which are wholly inconsistent with each other. Obirieze’s (and others) article demonstrates this in the huge difference between trauma care in the United States in differing territories (Obirieze et al). Similarly Berwick & Hackbath’s article argues that the healthcare system needs to be reformed to avoid the unnecessary level of waste that is currently associated with the United States health care system (Berwick & Hackbath). This topic is highly important in terms of healthcare professionals working in the United States as it illustrates how the culture surrounding healthcare needs to change.
A final point raised by the film is the heavy reliance on medicated drugs and often the dire consequences of unneeded medical procedure which are justified on a capital basis. Eisenberg’s article is similar to the recommendations the film advocates in the use of alternative medication (Eisenberg et al.). Indeed, as healthcare professionals it is important to consider the best line of treatment for a patient, with additional options resulting in a diverse and effective number of treatments for each individual case.
In conclusion, Matthew Heineman’s Escape Fire raises many important and contemporary issues surrounding the healthcare system in the United States, calling for a change of framework from a position based on commerce to a position based on care. This is highly relevant for front line healthcare professionals and it seems clear the United States needs to adopt a new approach to the Health care system.
- Berwick, Donald M., and Andrew D. Hackbarth. “Eliminating waste in US health care.” JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association 307.14 (2012): 1513-1516.
- Obirieze, Augustine C., et al. “Regional variations in cost of trauma care in the United States: Who is paying more?.” The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 73.2 (2012): 516-522.
- Eisenberg, David M., et al. “Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States, 1990-1997.” JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association280.18 (1998): 1569-1575.
- Matthew Heineman (2012) Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. (Aisle C:
Our Time Projects)