Combining compelling archival footage and testimony from a slew of contemporary experts, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s latest documentary, “The Bleeding Edge,” takes to task one of the most powerful industries in America, with often unsettling results. Despite one of the most technologically advanced health care systems in the world, the United States is still home to a frightening number of deaths by “medical intervention,” often due to medical devices that never received the kind of clinical trials patients likely expect of them.
Dick and Ziering’s latest looks at the $400 billion medical device industry, finding (per the film’s synopsis) “lax regulations, corporate cover-ups, and profit driven incentives that put patients at risk daily,” and that’s just the start. It’s an eye-opening look at a world with a big reach, but the filmmakers also ground it in stirring personal stories.
In his review from Tribeca, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote that the film “assembles a range of talking heads and upsetting case studies to target several key villains: Essure, the permanent contraceptive implant used by millions of women, has left many of them with long-lasting pain and endless surgeries as the small, snake-like device worms its way into the uterus. The ‘vaginal mesh’ approach yields even more gruesome results. Patients operated on by the robotic surgeries of the da Vinci System often contend with extensive infections, and others with artificial hips made with chrome-cobalt devices suffer from neurological problems.”
He adds, “Dick lays out each of these conundrums with a series of case studies, while contextualizing within the broader context of the quack medical industry. … Medical students may find this parade of mortifying tales instructive; others will recoil in terror and wonder how the hell any of these procedures remain legal during such technologically-advanced times.”
Check out our exclusive trailer for “The Bleeding Edge” below. The documentary will be available on Netflix and in select theaters on July 27.