Never Events (USA, 2021)

A filmmaker is determined to learn the terrifying truth about medical errors in this riveting documentary.

Angela Asatrian is a young filmmaker who has learned her childhood friend has suffered some serious ailments after going in for a routine ovarian cyst surgery. The complications had led to her friend suffer near amputation on her leg and being sedated for too long. Upon learning that the surgeon is still in practice two years after the fact, Angela decides to do some research on the topic of medical errors, the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is there, thanks to medical professionals and people close to victims who have died as a result of medical errors, that the dark truths are revealed.

This is a riveting documentary where we get Angela’s perspective as it is close to home as well as interviews with family members of victims who have died as a result. They include the Ayer family, who lost daughter Julie to what was supposed to be a routine breast augmentation surgery that resulted in her aorta being cut three times. The end result was tragic as Julie died three months after the surgery. There are plenty more stories from people who have been affected, whether it is themselves or family members. From the beginning, when you hear filmmaker Asatrian’s friend’s story, you can’t help but feel complete sympathy for her.

Aside from the victims and their loved ones, we do get interviews with professionals who are not just unhappy with the results of medical errors but are looking for ways to make sure they are prevented. The interviewees include Dr. Marty Makary, Dr. Frederick Southwick, Dr. Aubrey Milunsky, and John T. James, PHD. In the case of Southwick, upon learning that one victim died due to unsanitary conditions being used in the operating room, is in the midst of creating a new electronic system that will determine the sanitary conditions of the surgeon’s hands. This looks very innovative and could be a big asset in the future of medicine and the prevention of medical errors.

Never Events is both very informative and at times, very emotional and for filmmaker Angela Asatrian, it’s a bit personal. Definitely worth checking out, even with some of the graphic footage involving surgeries.

WFG RATING: B+

Random Media presents a Havasar Films and Naked Kite Productions film. Director: Angela Asatrian. Producer: Angela Asatrian. Cinematography: Garrett Gaston. Editing: Angela Asatrian and Garrett Gaston.

Cast: Angela Asatrian, Dr. Marty Makary, Dr. Frederick Southwick, Dr. Aubrey Milunsky, John T. James, PHD; Wade Ayer, Lisa McGiffert, Aubrey Milunsky.

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