News from Transparent Learning

April 19, 2010
"The Story of Lewis Blackman” Wins Distinguished Production Award
A powerful, groundbreaking film from Transparent Health® (, "From Tears to Transparency…The Faces of Medical Error: The Story of Lewis Blackman," has received the distinguished Aegis Award. This prestigious award honors excellence in video and film production. The award-winning documentary was produced by Transparent Health®, a group of healthcare practitioners, educators, and safety experts dedicated to the prevention of harm that results from medical care.

In addition, "The Story of Lewis Blackman" received the highest honor of all 2,109 entries in competition by earning top score from the judging panel of industry peers. SolidLine Media of Chicago was the production partner along with Transparent Health® on the project.

Developed through the efforts of Transparent Health®'s Tim McDonald, MD, JD and David Mayer, MD—pioneers in patient safety education at the University of Illinois at Chicago—the film details the story of Lewis Blackman, a healthy 15-year-old boy who entered a hospital in November 2000 for minimally invasive surgery and died several days later. Through the eyes of patient safety experts such as Lucian Leape, MD, Bob Galbraith, MD, and author Rosemary Gibson, as well as Drs. McDonald and Mayer, the film addresses educational milestones necessary to produce change in the way medical error is managed. Helen Haskell, patient advocate and Lewis Blackman's mother, also shares her family’s story over the course of Lewis' five-day hospital stay so that others will not suffer similar tragic outcomes.

"The Story of Lewis Blackman" addresses prevention and best practices for managing medical error. It is the first in a series of educational films being produced by Transparent Health® to highlight actual medical errors and the methods in which they were handled. The DVD of this film, which comes with a companion CD of educational materials, is available for purchase at the Transparent Learning store. Transparent Learning is the exclusive distributor or the film, and the trailer is available for viewing on the Transparent Learning home page.

"We’re very proud that 'The Story of Lewis Blackman' has won this important award," said Dr. McDonald. "It is further validation of the quality of the video, and helps us in our goal to be a valuable tool to help all of the caring people in healthcare ensure that patient safety is top priority."

The film contains facilitated discussion points embedded throughout to highlight key learning objectives and stimulate discussion. At certain points, viewers are challenged to analyze and reflect upon what went wrong, where their own systems may be vulnerable, how to improve care within their system, and how to effectively address errors when they do occur.

"Winning the Aegis Award is a significant event not only for Transparent Health® but for the patient safety movement as a whole," said Dr. Mayer. "The patient's voice is often the missing element when we focus our attention on patient safety, and Lewis Blackman's story can provide that voice."

"We are, as always, quite honored to receive recognition for our hard work," stated Greg Vass, Executive Producer at SolidLine. "It always feels great to be recognized as the best in our field, but I think it feels even better to be part of such a special production project—one that is truly changing healthcare. When we get to put our talents to something as important as patient safety—well, that just makes us feel proud of what we do."

This poignant, educationally driven film "pulls at the heart and enters the soul, yet also calmly lays out a set of well-reasoned suggestions that allow individuals and institutions to respond," said Michael Millenson, healthcare consultant and author of Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age.

About Transparent Health®
Transparent Health® works with healthcare delivery systems, consumers, government leaders, legislators, educators, and other national and international patient safety and quality organizations to advance the concepts of an open, honest and transparent approach to the prevention of, and response to, patient harm. Transparent Health® expands the knowledge of all healthcare providers and patients through outcome-based, educational training programs targeted at reducing medical errors, lowering risk, restoring patient trust, and improving patient outcomes. For more information, visit

About Transparent Learning
Transparent Learning, Inc. was founded in 2009 by experts in patient safety, transparency and education, Transparent Learning’s mission is to improve patient care outcomes by delivering innovative and emotionally engaging education programs in patient safety, disclosure and related areas. To accomplish this, Transparent Learning designs, develops, delivers, and assesses innovative outcomes-based educational programs throughout the care continuum.

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