...First Do No Harm (1997)

TV Movie  |  PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  16 February 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,238 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 3 critic

The story of one woman's struggle against a narrow-minded medical establishment.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dave Reimuller
Robbie Reimuller
Dr. Melanie Abbasac
Oni Faida Lampley ...
Marsha Williams
Bob Purdue
Dr. Jim Peterson
Mairon Bennett ...
Lynne Reimuller
Michael Yarmush ...
Mark Reimuller
Sean McCann
Millicent Kelly ...
Philip Williams
Philip Akin
Damir Andrei


When Lori Reimuller learns that her young son Robbie has epilepsy, she first trusts the judgment of the hospital staff in how best to bring it under control. As Robbie's health slides radically downhill, however, she becomes frustrated and desperate, and so does her own research into the existing literature on treatments. When she decides to try an alternative treatment called the Ketogenic Diet, devised long ago by a doctor from Johns Hopkins, she is met with narrow-minded resistance from Robbie's doctor, who is prepared to take legal action to prevent Lori from removing him from the hospital. This movie is an indictment of those in the medical profession who discuss only the treatment options they favor. Several of the minor characters are portrayed by people who have been not just helped, but cured by the Ketogenic diet. Written by Debra K. Day <dday@uic.edu>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense emotional and physical depiction of a child's illness | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

16 February 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Au risque de te perdre  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jim Abrahams, normally a comedy director, was attracted to the project because of his own young son Charlie's epilepsy. (Charlie makes a brief appearance in the film as Robbie Reimuller's playmate.) See more »


References The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »


Over the Rainbow
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics by E.Y. Harburg
Performed by Aretha Franklin
See more »

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User Reviews

inspiring story
29 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Beautifully acted by Meryl Streep and the rest of the cast, this film is based on a true story of a mother who defied the medical profession to get her son on the ketogenic diet at Johns Hopkins.

Due to the tremendous lobbying power of the AMA in this country, alternative treatments are not recognized here the way they are in Europe and in other countries. Yet people often have to be subjected to harmful, and often unhelpful medications. One hears a lot about animal experimentation - in the end, the guinea pig is always the human patient, as doctors "try out" drug cocktails and new drugs on patients who suffer horrible side effects from them, as did the child in this film.

I won't give away the twist at the end of the film, but watch it clear to the end and you'll get a marvelous surprise.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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