People who live in Pennsylvania have no doubt heard stories about errors made by doctors, surgeons, nurses or other medical professionals. These stories can be incredibly scary because of the serious nature associated with the potential outcomes of these events. A person who has been incorrectly diagnosed or not diagnosed with a serious problem, for example, may be at risk for lifelong injuries or even death.

Medical errors may be all but impossible to eliminate in part because medical professionals are human beings and human beings make mistakes. Regardless, there are supposed to be procedures in place that keep patients safe. At the same time, it is wise for patients to educate themselves about their health and their care so they can make appropriate decisions that may reduce their chances of being affected by a medical error.

A new documentary has been released that highlights the importance of this type of patient advocacy and information. National Public Radio explains that the filmmaker’s mother is today unable to speak, has reduced mobility and a permanent brain injury after errors made during her post-operative care following a hip surgery nine years ago.

Unbeknownst to the patient and her adult son, the woman was put into a unit without any medical doctors watching over her. Instead, all oversight was done remotely via electronic devices. The son was even denied the ability to verify that the devices were operational. After bleeding excessively, the patient went into a coma and her life has never been the same.