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The ash plume from the world most unpronounceable active volcano, now aptly named E-15 for the first letter and the 15 that follow it, has put a damper on the large crowds expected for the Nice, France debut of the new documentary “Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm.” According to the WSJ Health Blog, the once expected group of 3,000 is now expected to only reach about 500 and the star of the show, Dennis Quaid, who was expected to speak live at the debut, will now be on a satellite feed from Santa Monica.

The hour long documentary addresses one of the most serious and frightening issues facing the health care system, preventable medical errors. With an estimated 100,000 deaths attributed to medical errors each year, it’s about time for a documentary like this.

The film stars actor Dennis Quaid, whose newborn twins were accidentally given a 10,000 unit dose of the blood thinner heparin, rather than the normal 10 unit dose recommended for newborns. Thankfully the Quaid twins survived the life threatening ordeal but thousands of others have not been as fortunate.

The documentary will air on the Discovery Channel this Saturday and is available online here. Thousands of copies will also be distrusted to hospitals throughout the nation in hopes of spurring awareness and adoption of safer practices.

I hope everyone has the opportunity to see this powerful and moving film. The general public has no idea how serious this issue is or how often these types of errors occur, but films like Chasing Zero are doing their part to change that.

In the words of Charles Denham, the physician and patient safety expert who oversaw the production of Chasing Zero, “Zero is the number, and now is the time.”

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