The Bleeding Edge

Synopsis: A look at the unforeseen consequences of advanced technological devices used in the medical field.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Kirby Dick
99 min

Good afternoon, everyone,

and welcome to the Global Summit

for Medical Technology.

Here in this room,

many of you

have inspired generational leaps

in medical technologies.

You've created whole new fields

of medical advances.

You've explored new horizons

and broken barriers.

And everything we do is a means to the end

of unleashing innovation

to improve and save lives.

Watches and cell phones

that monitor blood sugar.

3-D printers to create prosthetic limbs.

Artificial intelligence

that today diagnoses melanoma.

All of these things exist today.

So let's pause for a minute

and take a look at the future.

What if, by 2050,

we have micro laboratories

implanted in our bodies

that predict illnesses

before we ever get sick?

What if, by 2050, we have 3-D printers

creating custom biomechanical organs?

Or what if artificial intelligence

can be used to predict heart attacks

before they even happen?

If we succeed...

imagine the impact we will have

on medical care.

Let's continue to improve lives

by unleashing innovation.

Before you're born,

they use medical devices to find out

when you're gonna be born.

When you're born,

they use medical devices

to find out how healthy you are.

When you're growing up,

they oftentimes use medical devices

to enhance what's going on with you.

Medical devices are a way of life

in America.

They are a way of life

in postindustrial society.

They are a reason,

in some ways, for postindustrial society.

They help us live longer.

They give us better quality of life.

And they're just about everywhere.

There are devices

that are truly lifesaving.

My husband has a pacemaker in.

I'm glad for it.

It saved his life.

I have a cataract lens in

that makes me see beautifully.

It's everything from the very simple

little thing like a tongue depressor

to breast implants,

drug-eluting stents.

There's such an array of devices.

It's pretty amazing.

The medical device industry

is a 300 billion-a-year industry.

This is big business.

It's kind of a parallel

to the drug industry,

and it isn't nearly as well understood.

People think pharma's got power.

No, no, no, no.

The device industry

has much more power than pharma.

The medical device industry has been

expanding faster

than just about any other industry.

And that's because technology

is just running away right now.

And it's running away faster than we're

keeping up with the actual science.

We're living

in a very highly technological society,

and medical technology

is a... a wonder and a miracle.

But because it's everywhere,

we have to be careful.

I grew up in Western New York,

right between Rochester and Buffalo.

I'm a mail carrier.

And I work in the morning,

delivering mail to 70 mailboxes.

I'm married.

Hey, Bud. Do me a favor?

I was engaged

to somebody else,

and we broke up, and my friends threw me

a party to try to make me feel better.

And, um, he was driving by,

and one of my friends yelled out to him,

"Porch party!"

A friend of mine invited me in,

and that's kind of where we met.

What did you like about her?


My daughter didn't have a father

in her life,

and Pete's children lost their mother

when she passed away.

So to come together

and all of us to just have each other,

it was just a blessing.

My last child was born in 2009.

I was 37 when we became pregnant.

We had decided,

you know, we wanted to have one together,

but that was enough.

So I went and spoke to my ob-gyn.

And he talked to me

about a new permanent birth control device

called Essure,

which could be done right in the office,

and I could go back to work the next day.

Put them in there. Yeah.


You protect...

...and prevent...

...and even plan ahead.

But what about your birth control?

Maybe it's time to consider the proven,

permanent birth control of Essure.

Essure is

a permanent sterilization device.

It is made out of

little four-centimeter coils.

It's inserted through the uterus

and placed inside of the fallopian tubes.

It's intentionally designed

to cause an inflammatory response,

which generates scar tissue.

The scar tissue closes off

the fallopian tubes permanently,

blocking the sperm

and the egg from meeting,

therefore preventing pregnancy.

The early studies that were done

to get this device approved

suggested it's 99% effective

in closing the fallopian tube

and causing sterilization.

It originally was designed by Conceptus

and then bought by Bayer.

It was marketed as a better choice

than the traditional tubal ligation

The Essure procedure does not require

any incisions.

And because there are no incisions,

the procedure does not leave any scars.

And when it comes to recovery

after the Essure procedure,

women were typically discharged

from the medical facility

within 45 minutes.

It took no time out of my life.

And there was no chance

of having to go under anesthesia.

I was a nurse assisting

in the placement of Essure

during the clinical trials.

So I watched the procedure.

I thought it was simple.

It was non-surgical, it was permanent,

and it was everything I was looking for.

Seeing how easy it was to put it in,

I thought I should do it too.

For us, we were now allowed

to have a type of intimacy...

The company liked my story

because I was a nurse,

I'd participated

on both ends of the product.

So I was invited to be a spokesperson.

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Kirby Dick

Kirby Bryan Dick (born August 23, 1952) is an American film director, producer, screenwriter, and editor. He is best known for directing documentary films. He received Academy Award nominations for Best Documentary Feature for directing Twist of Faith (2005) and The Invisible War (2012). He has also received numerous awards from film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Festival. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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