After 11-year battle to survive medical errors, 'star' of patient safety documentary dies

By Jayne O'Donnell

Feb. 11, 2020


The producer and director of an HBO documentary about his mother's medical errors at a Milwaukee hospital went to Capitol Hill last week to show clips of the film.

Three nights later, Steve Burrows' mother, Judie, died at 79 after an 11-year struggle to survive.

Friday, the Milwaukee medical examiner's office said her death was due to complications of repeat hip surgeries.

Burrows starred with his mother in the documentary "Bleed Out" about her care at Aurora Healthcare in Milwaukee. He was a comedy director in Hollywood when Judith Burrows' 2009 hip surgery went horribly wrong. She developed massive brain damage, leaving her with the cognitive abilities of an 8-year-old and a host of serious medical conditions that prevented her from returning home, her son said.

"It’s really helping me to see how she touched so many people with her story," Burrows said this week. "Before the film came out, I was hopeless."

After the documentary aired on HBO in December 2018, Burrows received thousands of Facebook messages from people he described as having very similar stories with just the name of the facilities and exact injuries changed. About 10 million people have watched the documentary.

Burrows has put on two dozen screenings in the last six months, including at the Wisconsin state capitol and the hospital rating organization Leapfrog Group's annual meeting, as well as universities and other organizations.

Contributing: Amora Campbell and Aliyah Vines

Read the full story on USA Today.