Experiencing Interruptions?

You are the Pilot!

Today, you are going to be flying a big jet, but you have not been feeling well lately. You have been taking a number of medications, and a few of them make you drowsy. The flight will be very long. You cannot take a copilot, because you have been informed that the flight path is confidential. Not having a copilot is unsettling. You have never taken any flying lessons and you have never piloted a plane before. Your flight controllers have told you that they will try to help you along the way. They have, however, hundreds of other planes to assist in taking off and landing safely. There is a dangerous illusion: these flight controllers believe they can safely control hundreds of planes flown by untrained pilots; occasionally a plane will crash. There is another problem: you do not know your destination.

You take off. You hit the hangar! You hit the flight school! You hit the control tower! Flight mechanics are hurt! Flight instructors are hurt! Flight controllers are hurt! You are hurt! Does this sound like a safe plan for flying a jet?

Of course this scenario is not safe, yet many of our patients have followed their treatments in this manner. In 2012 in the USA and in Canada, due to high aviation safety standards, there were no major airline commercial aircraft accidents leading to loss of life. However, it is estimated that in 2012, more than one hundred thousand people died in the USA and Canada, due to breaks in the health-care system that was intended to help them. In fact, there are more Canadians and Americans dying due to failures in the medical system than due to car accidents. This is a worldwide problem.

"You are the Pilot!" is a short video that proposes we should look at a similar scenario, but where we switch roles. In this scenario we assign aviation equivalent roles to our patients and medical system.

"You are the Pilot!" is based on the homonymous essay:


  • Alexandre G. Tavares
    We AdVANCE - A Documentary Film on Patient Safety.
  • Cicero Torres
  • Alexandre G. Tavares
    We AdVANCE - A Documentary Film on Patient Safety.
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Documentary, Short, Web / New Media
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 24 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 26, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    650 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Whiteboard video
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Alexandre G. Tavares, Cicero Torres

Dr. Tavares is physician in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Tavares recently started writing, in his after-work hours, essays on patient safety and on the experiences of children and teenagers growing up with poor attention or different learning styles. Dr. Tavares is a strong believer in the power of patient- and family-centered care positively transforming the medical system.

From the author:

Super Heroes Do Exist!

How a Physician Came to Believe in Teachers who are True Super Heroes.


On Board with Your Treatment! For a Safe Treatment Every Time!


We AdVANCE - A Documentary Film on Patient Safety.


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