Medical mistakes lead to as many as 440,000 preventable deaths every year, making it the #3 leading cause of death in the United States. To Err Is Human is an in-depth documentary about this silent epidemic and those working quietly behind the scenes to fix it. We created this film to showcase solutions that are easy to implement and would dramatically improve the quality of healthcare immediately.

While access to care is a vital flashpoint in America right now, it is equally important to ensure the quality of that care is improving, and not actually causing unnecessary harm or death. The documentary focuses on the idea of a new culture of safety in medicine through the efforts of a select few who believe the system can improve by first acknowledging its imperfections.



This film is dedicated to the memory and work of Dr. John M. Eisenberg

This topic in particular holds a personal connection to me as the son of patient safety pioneer, the late Dr. John M. Eisenberg. Before he passed away in 2002, my father’s work in this field led to a national discussion on medical mistakes and he was the driving force behind federal efforts to improve patient safety. Through this film, we hope to carry on his legacy by providing a productive look at healthcare quality today and how we can do better, rather than presenting a “gotcha” documentary. Those who work in healthcare today want to help patients, but sometimes the system is designed in a way that prevents them from doing just that.

My Dad was deeply devoted to his work. Throughout the production of this documentary, I was honored to meet dozens of individuals who worked alongside my father during his career. What struck me was the impact his work had on them not only professionally, but personally. His work ethic was unparalleled and our goal as filmmakers will be to work just as hard to ensure Americans are not just informed of the hazards of medicine, but empowered to become a part of their own care.

Mike Eisenberg, Director of To Err Is Human




  • Intelligent Medicine w/ Ronald Hoffman


Mike Eisenberg

Director, Editor, and Producer
Mike is a Partner and Creative Director at Tall Tale Productions in Chicago, IL. Mike has directed a variety of films and commercials, including the award-winning short film Stitches and the documentary Whoop Dreams. His father, Dr. John M. Eisenberg, was the Director of the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) until his passing in 2002 and is considered to be one of the early leaders of patient safety efforts in the United States.

E-mail: mike@talltaleproductions.com


Lead Producer
Kailey is a Partner and Head of Production at Tall Tale Productions. Prior to co-founding the Chicago-based production company, she worked in the TV and Film industry and has produced films in both fiction and documentary.

E-mail: kailey@talltaleproductions.com

Matt Downe

Matt Downe

Director of Photography and Producer
Matt is a Partner and Creative Director at Tall Tale Productions. He was the Cinematographer of the documentary Whoop Dreams and has edited, filmed, and produced a variety of film and commercial work. Prior to founding the production company, he worked at an advertising agency.

E-mail: matt@talltaleproductions.com

Additional Crew

Voiceover: John Gray
Original Score: Teddy Blass
Digital Intermediate provided by: Company 3 Chicago
Colorist: Tyler Roth
Digital Intermediate Producer: Matthew Engel
Assistant Colorist: Zachary Korpi
CO3 President: Stefan Sonnenfeld

Motion Design provided by: Method Studios Chicago
Creative Director: Brett Glover
Senior Producer: Matthew Engel
Motion Designers: Tobias Mattner, Beau Wright
Post-Production Audio Mix: Andrew Shabat
Location Audio: Anthony Mariotto
Additional Camera Operators: Vito Selvaggi, Ben Kegan


Sue Sheridan

Sue is Director of Patient Engagement at the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM). Previously, she worked at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), the World Health Organization (WHO) and two patient advocacy organizations, Parents of Infants and Children with Kernicterus (PICK) and Consumers Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS)

Cal Sheridan

Recognized by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts as a VSA Playwright Discovery winner for his play “Cal Sheridan: Not Suffering”. He continues to produce and perform stand-up comedy in Denver, where he currently lives.

Mackenzie Sheridan

Studying community/public health at Portland State University. She has served in volunteer community development programs in Mexico and Africa and recently studied healthcare topics in Seville, Spain.

Vineet Arora, MD, MAPP

Assistant Dean, Scholarship & Discovery, University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine

Don Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP

President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Administrator, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Service (2010-2011)

Leah Binder

President & CEO, The Leapfrog Group

Helen Burstin, MD, MPH, FACP

EVP & CEO, Council of Medical Specialty Societies

Mark Chassin, MD, FACP, MPP, MPH

President and CEO, The Joint Commission

Carolyn Clancy, MD

Executive in Charge, Veterans Health Administration

Director, AHRQ (2002-2013)

Sam Elfassy

Senior Director, Corporate Safety and Environment, Air Canada

Tejal Gandhi

Chief Clinical & Safety Officer, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Teodor Grantcharov, MD, PhD, FACS

Professor of Surgery, University of Toronto

Canada Research Chair in Simulation and Surgical Safety

Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH

Director, Harvard Global Health Institute

Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Boaz Keysar

Professor of Psychology, University of Chicago

Lucian Leape, MD

Patient Safety Pioneer

David Mayer, MD

VP of Quality and Safety, MedStar Health

Maryanne McGuckin, ScEd, FSHEA

Author, The Patient Survival Guide

Gregg Meyer, MD, MSc

Chief Clinical Officer, Partners Healthcare System

Michael Millenson

President, Health Quality Advisors

David Nash, MD, MBA

Founding Dean, Jefferson College of Public Health

Karthik Raj

Program Manager, International Centre for Surgical Safety

Lisa Simpson, MB, BCh, MPH, FAAP

President & CEO, AcademyHealth

Deputy Director, AHRQ (1996-2002)

Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger

Safety Advocate, Author, Speaker, Pilot

Bob Wachter, MD

Professor and Chair, Department of Medicine, UCSF

Author, The Digital Doctor

Albert W. Wu, MD, MPH

Director, Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research

Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Heather Young, PhD, RN, FAAN

Founding Dean, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, University of California, Davis