Wednesday, May 6, 2009

If we can't treat 'em...KILL 'EM

Medical Errors - A Leading Cause of Death

The JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000 article written by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, shows that medical errors may be the third leading cause of death in the United States.

The report apparently shows there are 2,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery; 7000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals; 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals; 80,000 deaths/year from infections in hospitals; 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects of medications - these total up to 225,000 deaths per year in the US from iatrogenic causes which ranks these deaths as the # 3 killer.

Iatrogenic is a term used when a patient dies as a direct result of treatments by a physician, whether it is from misdiagnosis of the ailment or from adverse drug reactions used to treat the illness. (drug reactions are the most common cause).

The National Academies website published an article titled "Preventing Death and Injury From Medical Errors Requires Dramatic, System-Wide Changes." which you can read online at or the book "To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System" at - These show medical errors as a leading cause of death.

Based on the findings of one major study, medical errors kill some 44,000 people in U.S. hospitals each year. Another study puts the number much higher, at 98,000.

Even using the lower estimate, more people die from medical mistakes each year than from highway accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. And deaths from medication errors that take place both in and out of hospitals are aid to be more than 7,000 annually.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Did you know American physicians write 4,000,000,000 prescriptions a year and the United States accounts for nearly 50% of worldwide pharmaceutical spending?

That the Institute of Medicine states that preventable medication errors result in 7,000 deaths in hospitals each year and tens of thousands in out -patient settings?

And that the FDA admits that 80% of all new drugs they approve offer no substantial improvement over time tested drugs already on the market?