How much airtime does an issue need before that sets fire to our commitment for change?
The award-winning documentary movie Escape Fire: The Fight To Rescue American Healthcare, until recently, has received relatively small attention. Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide, said, “The physical health of our nation and the cost of healthcare, impact every current fiscal challenge we face. This compelling film gives us an explanation of some of the factors that have contributed to our broken system and explains why we urgently need to fix it.”¹
CNN, which picked up the U.S. television broadcast rights to this movie, aired it Sunday night and will air an encore presentation Saturday, March 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET and then again at 11:00 p.m.
The inspiration for the title of the movie comes from an incident in Mann Gulch, Montana where a forest fire trapped a group of firefighters. Their foreman, Wag Dodge, intentionally lit a fire in front of him and then stepped into the newly burnt area. The fire went around that area since it was already burned out and Wag Dodge survived.
The phrase “escape fire” is now sometimes used as a metaphor for getting out of a desperate situation by looking at – and doing – things a bit differently. The trailer for this movie by Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke echoes this, saying, “There’s a different way of doing things that’s possible”.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sees the gradual adoption of an expanded view of health by the medical community in America in a forecast of health and health care (page 346 of the forecast found on page 362 of the PDF file): “The first shift is from rigid adherence to the biomedical model to an expanded, multifactorial view of health. While the scientific model looks only at biological indicators of health, the expanded model goes beyond this to include social, mental, and spiritual, as well as physical, health. This shift in focus will lead to the regular provision of psychosocial and other services that currently are not in the health care mainstream.”
Our current system resists needed changes, perhaps fearing them. New ideas and alternative treatments, including spiritual ones, will help rescue American healthcare and can be considered and utilized without fear.
In a heart-warming example of this here in Michigan, last year NBC-TV Channel 4 in Detroit aired a segment entitled, “Alternative treatment helps local doctor beat infertility”. The doctor – who was the patient here – said that this experience solidified her belief that alternative medicine definitely has a role in treatment.
A 2007 survey² on complimentary and alternative medicine conducted by researchers at UCLA and UC San Diego reported that the third-most commonly used CAM approach during the previous year was prayer for health (29%).
An acquaintance of mine used our conventional medical system for her healthcare. Then, while listening to new ideas about the spiritual nature of health during a train ride, she found herself healed of a headache. Pursuing these ideas further, she began to rely on this approach more and more, and subsequently was healed of severe anemia. In her groundbreaking book about the role spirituality plays in health, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “When outgrowing the old, you should not fear to put on the new.”³ My friend certainly found this to be true.
Our choices for healthcare will likely differ. But maybe – just maybe – this movie will light a fire in our collective consideration of our healthcare system and spur us to new views that will yield better healthcare – and better health – for all.