The third leading cause of death is still the medical errors. It can take decades before a medical truth becomes accepted as fact, and recent headlines are a perfect example of this. The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that doctors are in fact the third leading cause of death in the U.S. A JAMA study was published in 2000 and written by Dr. Barbara Starfield. Her research documented how a staggering 225,000 Americans die from iatrogenic causes or, death is caused by a physician’s or hospital’s activity, manner or therapy. Her statistics showed that each year:
- 12,000 die from unnecessary surgery
- 7,000 die from medication errors in hospitals
- 20,000 die from other errors in hospitals
- 80,000 die from hospital acquired infections
- 106,000 die from the negative side effects of drugs taken as prescribed
No Action Taken To Help Prevent Medical Errors
No affirmative action was ever taken to address and correct these situations. A new study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) revealed medical errors now kill an estimated 250,000 Americans each year. The 3rd leading cause of death following heart disease and cancer is still medical errors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has statistics that show respiratory disease claims 150,000 lives each year, not iatrogenic causes.
The researchers have suggested adding an extra field to the death certificate. The death certificate should ask if a preventable complication or medical error contributed to the death. It was also recommended a number of strategies to reduce the number of deaths from iatrogenic causes.
The chief of the Mortality Statistics branch for the CDC, Bob Anderson, Ph.D., claims there are codes that capture iatrogenic causes of death. The statistics do NOT take these into account. All nations need to take a closer look at how deaths are recorded and counted. The CDC is unlikely to change the recording of deaths.
Only A Fraction Of Drug Reactions is Reported
We in the U.S. have the most expensive health care in the world, spending more than the net 10 biggest spenders, mainly Germany, Japan, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia). Only a tiny fraction of all adverse drug reactions are ever reported to the FDA. The FDA must be notified by as many people as possible that believe they have experienced a side effect in order to actually alert the FDA to a problem with a product that has been approved by them. Filing a report will make medicine safer for everyone, so please report these concerns to FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator. One-sixth of all deaths occurring in the U.S. annually are preventable medical mistakes.
Unnecessary Medical Procedures
An estimated 30% of all medical procedures, tests and medications may be unnecessary and costs at least $750 billion a year. Data has been shown how many common medical treatments are doing more harm than good. Between 40% and 78% of the medical testing treatments and procedures you receive are of NO benefit to you and are actually harmful.
When in the hospital, you are at risk for medical errors.
Have someone with you as a personal advocate to ask questions and take notes. Every time a medication is given in the hospital, ask questions– what for, what is it and what’s the dose. Take charge of your own safety and protect your rights as a patient.