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Organizers hope health care movie will spark change


A movie that’s won praise for its powerful examination of our health care system and its flaws will be shown in Fredericksburg on Jan. 23.

A local physician and the executive director of a local free clinic organized the showing of “Escape Fire: The Fight to Save American Healthcare,” at the Paragon Village 12 theater.

The movie will be followed by a discussion featuring Dr. Christopher Lillis, an internist with Chancellor Internal Medicine; Karen Dulaney, executive director of the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic; and Nick Cadwallender, publisher of The Free Lance-Star.

Dulaney and Lillis teamed up to bring the movie to Fredericksburg to highlight the problems in our health care system and the benefits patients and physicians could reap if the system focused more on prevention than on profit-driven care.

“I hope the movie will provide that ‘aha’ moment so we can fundamentally change how we approach health and disease in this country,” Lillis said. “I mean, it sounds pie in the sky, but I think it has that potential.”

Dulaney, of the free clinic, said she supports the movie’s focus on the importance of lifestyle changes and preventive care.

“For me, the “Escape Fire” film is a powerful reminder to people about their own abilities to be healthier”—especially through diet and exercise, Dulaney said.

Dulaney also said she appreciates the film’s message about the need to shift how physicians get paid. The current system, she said, “only encourages health care providers to see as many patients as they can during the course of the day.”

“It does not reward them for getting people healthier,” Dulaney said. “The film highlights these and other components of the health care system, and it serves as a great conversation starter on how we can make things better.”

Film critic Roger Ebert wrote in a review of the film that “when we speak of ‘American health care,’ we should in fact be calling it ‘American sickness care.’ There’s more money to be made in making people sick and healing them than in keeping them well in the first place. The documentary makes this argument with stunning clarity.”

A New York Times review said the film “turns an unwieldy, Medusa-headed topic into a convincingly humane argument for change.”

The movie presents stories of people—including a burned-out primary care doctor and a war veteran—suffering in the current health care system.

“This film helps communicate all the things we’re doing wrong in this country that impair the ability to live healthy, productive pain-free lives,” Lillis said.


“Escape Fire” will be shown Jan. 23 at Paragon Village 12 at the Spotsylvania Towne Centre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets should be bought in advance online at A portion of ticket sales will benefit the Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic.

Janet Marshall: 540/374-5527;