Blog posts

Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

By Dr. Chris Lillis

This Friday, October 5th, marks the theatrical and iTunes release of the most important documentary of our time.   Escape Fire allows its viewers to learn what it is like on the front lines of our hospitals, emergency rooms and clinics like no film made before.  Consider it your medical education without having to go to medical school for 4 years.

Escape Fire Logo

The story is told from the perspective of several characters – real people who interact with the health system every day.  Watching the film will give you an idea of what it is like to be a physician today, a patient without health insurance, a patient with insurance who was taken advantage of by our fee-for-service system, a soldier injured in combat, as well as countless experts weaving the most accurate narrative of the difficulties and failures of our health care system I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

I am proud to announce that Doctors for America is partnering with Escape Fire and helping bring this film to our fellow Americans.  On September 19th, the film was viewed by 5,600 students and faculty at 62 schools across the country with moderated discussions afterwards.  The buzz is now palpable.  Students are using the film as a vehicle to begin discussions about the troubles of our system, and starting local projects to help their communities become healthier. 

Doctors for America leaders will be moderating discussions at the theatrical releases in 10 major cities this Friday, October 5th I am thrilled to be moderating a panel of experts, including 2 stars of the film, in Washington, DC.  Check out the cities where the film is being screened, and join us in taking action to help save American Healthcare.


Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare

Where: West End Cinemas – Washington, DC 23rd Street, NW (between M and N)

When: Friday, October 5th 2012 7:20 PM showing

The National Theatrical release of the critically acclaimed documentary Escape Fire will be accompanied by a special panel addressing the questions raised by the film’s audience.  Two of the film’s stars: Dr Pamela Ross and Wendell Potter will be in attendance, as well as Dr. Jesse Pines , the Director of the Center for Healthcare Quality at George Washington University and Vivian Duru, the National Health Programs Coordinator for the NAACP. 

The film presents a comprehensive overview of what ails our nation’s health care system with contributions from the sagest experts.  Contributors to the film include Dr. Donald Berwick, Shannon Brownlee, Dr. Steve Nissen, Dr. Pamela Ross, Wendell Potter and many more.  The film was seen by over 5,600 medical students and medical school faculty in a pre-release event on September 19th and created immense excitement.  Several campuses are using the film now to educate other students and members of their communities about the difficulties in our current health care system.

Dr Pamela Ross is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Virginia.  She has been a distinguished faculty member for 16 years, serving on the Compassionate Care Initiative as well as the Chair of the Clinical Trials Minority Recruitment Task Force in the UVA Cancer Center. 

Mr. Potter needs little introduction. He is the author of Deadly Spin – an expose of health insurers and their efforts to use public relations for their own enrichment at the expense of patients.   He had a 20 year career as a corporate public relations executive, and walked away from that career to help socially responsible organizations enact meaningful reform of our health care system.

Dr. Jesse Pines is the Director of the Center for Health Care Quality and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Health Policy at the George Washington University Medical Center. He is currently working as a part-time Senior Advisor at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Innovation Center. He also serves as a consultant to the National Quality Forum. Dr. Pines holds a B.A. and a Masters of Science in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.D. and Masters of Business Administration at Georgetown University. He completed emergency medicine residency at University of Virginia and a research fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. His primary research interests are ED throughput, quality, and best practices in emergency care along with ED-based diagnostic testing. He has received the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Young Investigator Award (2009) and several competitive foundation, federal, and industry grants from the Agency for Health Research and Quality, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Emergency Medicine Foundation, the National Priorities Partnership on Aging, American Geriatrics Society, Emergency Medicine Foundation, Institute on Aging at Penn, Thomas McCabe Fund, University Research Foundation, and Abbott Point-of-Care. He is author or more than 130 peer-reviewed publications, hundreds of abstracts, and two books. He is a regular contributor to magazine and Emergency Physicians Monthly and has previously contributed columns to the, Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Policy magazine.

Vivian Duru is the National Program Coordinator in Health Programs for the NAACP.  She is responsible for health initiatives and capacity building.  She has experience in international health, health disparities, program implementation and development. 

This panel of experts will be moderated by Dr. Christopher Lillis.  Dr Lillis is a member of the Board of Directors of Doctors for America, a non-profit dedicated to improving the Health Care System.  He is a monthly columnist for the Free Lance Star Newspaper, and has written for Kaiser Health News. 

Share Your Comments


  1. Let us know what you think!

Your Comment


Join Doctors For America


or skip signup