First Do No Harm, the title of an award-winning film produced in cooperation with Children's Hospital National Medical Center, was originally a short warning delivered to medical students and physicians in Rome nearly 2,000 years ago.
That ancient advice is still relevant in our world of modern pediatric care. The process of hospitalization today carries with it the chance of lasting emotional harm to children who are thrust into an environment they understandably view as alien and threatening.
First Do No Harm is the second major documentary film produced by Children's Hospital. The film shows how hospitals must and can adapt their facilities, policies, staffsand routines to meet the psychological needs of children and their families. It portrays the experiences of children as they face hospitalization.
Real-life scenes in the film include the first moments of a mother with her newborn son, born with a major birthdefect, a teenage rap session, discussing the death of a fellow patient, a school age child's intellectual curiosity and frustration with chronic illness and the fantasy play of pre-schoolers.
The film has recieved the CINE (Coucil on International Nontheatrical Events) Golden Eagle Award, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Competition for Excellence in Medical Education Public Relations award and the critical acclaim of child helath professionals around the country. It has been sent to the Academy Awards Committee as an Oscar Candidate in the documentary category.
Jerriann Wilson, director of child life at Johns Hopkins Hospital , said the film was one taht would "provoke meaningful dialogues to foster changes within health care systems." Dr. Milton Shore at the National Institute of Mental Helath called it "a superbly engrossing film. It is a must for those who care about how children grow and develop."
The film was made on location at Children's Hospital and "starred" several staff members.
About six years ago, the doctors and professionals at Children's Hospital first examined the possibilities of making a film for incoming patients. Each year in the United States more than three million children are hospitalized. Studies have shown that about 75 percent of these children arrive unprepared for an experience which can adversely affect their lives.
To Prepare A Child was Children's first documentary film. It was created after years of research by medical specialists and behavioral scientists to address this significant problem faced by new patients.
The film reflects a medical center's commitment to a well-defined preparation program, designed to meet the individual needs of young children and their families. It documents three real children, their families and their hospital experiences: eight year old Ivan, a cardiac patient; five year old Kathy, a short term surgical patient; and Jason, a four year old emergency room patient. To Prepare A Child depicts principels of care that are relevant to the doctor's office, emergency room routines, laboratory procedures, anesthesia, parent and sibling needs.
The film also recieved the CINE Golden Eagel Award and the American Film Festival outstanding film for health citation, the British Medical Association Film Festival Bronze Award and the AAMC Competition for Excellence Award.
"It will challenge professionals to plan such care, parents to require it, and perhaps both parents and professionals, in collaboration, to achieve it," said Dr. Victor C. Vaughan III, director of St. Christoper's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, speaking about the impact of To Prepare A Child.
Both films are suitable for a wide audience of viewers including parents, teachers, students, child life workers, volunteers, doctors, nurses and others. t
Both reflect the total dedication of the entire staff at Children's Hospital to child care and development.
They can both be rented or copies can be purchased from Children's Hospital. The films are often shown at PTA meetings. More information about the availabiltiy of the films can be obtained from the Media Center at Children's. Their phone number is 745-5065.