Do No Harm A Project of Documentaries
Doctors who take an oath to save lives are taking their own at an alarming rate, trapped in a toxic system that threatens ALL patients.
Due to the subject matter, this needs to be, and to stay, a truly independent production, so we could expose the truth. Doctors who take an oath to save lives are taking their own at an alarming rate, trapped in a toxic system that threatens ALL patients. As you can imagine, the forces that make up the system aren't thrilled that we are exposing this crisis. That's why we are fundraising privately and from individuals. We have received enough passionate support to film the documentary, and are currently in post-production. This is actually when documentaries get the most expensive. Hiring professionals to edit the footage, compose the music, mix the sound, color correct the footage and all that goes into crafting a cinematic and compelling story that will effect badly needed change in the world.
DO NO HARM follows the tragic and compelling stories of four individuals touched by a hidden epidemic in the medical field – physician suicide. It is a trend that has been covered up at the expense of many lives, both doctors and young medical students alike.
DO NO HARM's characters embark on a quest to bring attention to this issue and to affect change. They seek answers and solutions to why this population has the highest rate of suicide of any profession. They begin to realize that this situation has serious repercussions for the entire health care system, not only for doctors, but also for their patients.
"We take these sweet innocent idealistic young doctors who just want to help and heal and crush their souls by forcing them to practice assembly line medicine seeing as many as 40 patients a day," says Pamela Wible. "Look into the eyes of most doctors, no one is home." To cope, many doctors self-medicate to quell the pain, but as Wible warns "Do you really want a doctor who is sleep deprived or suicidal to treat your grandmother in the emergency room?" Forcing residents to work 20+ hour shifts on the front lines in relentless critical care situations because they are cheap labor, is a recipe for disaster. Many see no way out since asking for help or support could end their careers before they truly start.
Doctors take a Hippocratic oath to "do no harm" to their patients, yet ironically to survive medical school and be a doctor in today's society, many are harming themselves through sleep deprivation, and stress; and in more deliberate ways with alcohol and easily accessible drugs. All these risky behaviours put their patients at risk. In fact we learn that medical mistakes are the 3rd leading cause of death in the United States behind cancer and heart disease.
And the crisis is only getting worse. We're facing a big shortage of general doctors as more and more doctors move toward specializations. Malpractice insurance and the threat of lawsuits force many doctors to leave medicine all together. Making matters worse, the demand for doctors is increasing. We also discover that physician suicide not a problem unique to the United States. From Australia to India and throughout Europe, physicians are committing suicide and fear getting help because of the stigma of mental illness.
The film recently won the highly competitive Roy W. Dean Filmmaking grant for Do No Harm where the grant administrator Carole Dean, called the film "one of the most important films of 2017."
Robyn Symon – Producer/Director
Robyn Symon is a two-time Emmy winning Producer/Director and former Senior Producer at PBS. She currently produces a series "Nancy O'Dell Remembers" on the Reelz Channel. Robyn comes from a family of physicians and brings a unique understanding of the challenges and stigma they face in today's health care system. Robyn began her career as a television news reporter in Texas before joining PBS station WPBT producing documentaries, public affairs programs and the TV series Florida! which also ran for six seasons on The Travel Channel. Robyn wrote and produced the highly acclaimed national pledge special, Boleros: Unforgettable Love Song featuring top Latin musical stars. She also produced the PBS docu-series Voices of Vision, hosted by NPR's Scott Simon focusing on the work of non-profit organizations worldwide. Robyn has worked as a Special Projects producer for NBC, HGTV and helmed series for The Travel Channel, CNBC and Discovery Health networks. Robyn debuted in the indie film arena in 2007 producing, directing and editing the feature documentary Transformation: The Life & Legacy of Werner Erhard about the reclusive founder of est, one of the most controversial pop cultural figures of our time distributed internationally by Screen Media Films. In 2013 Robyn produced and directed Behind the Blue Veil, a feature doc about the nomadic Tuareg known as the blue people of the Sahara, which was picked up for international distribution by Journeyman Pictures at the prestigious Sheffield Film Festival. Her most recent documentary film, Uncle Gloria: One Helluva Ride! was selected for a prestigious Film Independent Documentary Lab Fellowship. In addition to two Emmys for Documentary Shorts including one on Ernest Hemingway, Robyn has been honored with numerous national awards for writing and producing including 3 Telly awards; 2 national NABJ awards and honors by both the Associated Press and UPI.