Doctors Are The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US,
Causing 225,000 Deaths Every Year
This article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is the best article I have ever seen
written in the published literature documenting the tragedy of the traditional medical paradigm.
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This information is a follow-up of the Institute of Medicine report which hit the papers in December of last
year, but the data was hard to reference as it was not in peer-reviewed journal. Now it is published in JAMA
which is the most widely circulated medical periodical in the world.
The author is Dr. Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and she
describes how the US health care system may contribute to poor health.
ALL THESE ARE DEATHS PER YEAR:
* 12,000 -- unnecessary surgery
* 7,000 -- medication errors in hospitals
* 20,000 -- other errors in hospitals
* 80,000 -- infections in hospitals
* 106,000 -- non-error, negative effects of drugs
These total to 225,000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes!!
What does the word iatrogenic mean? This term is defined as induced in a patient by a physician's activity,
manner, or therapy. Used especially of a complication of treatment.
Dr. Starfield offers several warnings in interpreting these numbers:
* First, most of the data are derived from studies in hospitalized patients.
* Second, these estimates are for deaths only and do not include negative effects that are associated
with disability or discomfort.
* Third, the estimates of death due to error are lower than those in the IOM report.
If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000.
In any case, 225,000 deaths per year constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States,
after deaths from heart disease and cancer. Even if these figures are overestimated, there is a wide margin
between these numbers of deaths and the next leading cause of death (cerebrovascular disease).
Another analysis concluded that between 4% and 18% of consecutive patients experience negative effects
in outpatient settings, with:
* 116 million extra physician visits
* 77 million extra prescriptions
* 17 million emergency department visits
* 8 million hospitalizations
* 3 million long-term admissions
* 199,000 additional deaths
* $77 billion in extra costs
The high cost of the health care system is considered to be a deficit, but seems to be tolerated under the
assumption that better health results from more expensive care.
However, evidence from a few studies indicates that as many as 20% to 30% of patients receive
An estimated 44,000 to 98,000 among them die each year as a result of medical errors.
This might be tolerated if it resulted in better health, but does it? Of 13 countries in a recent comparison,
the United States ranks an average of 12th (second from the bottom) for 16 available health indicators.
More specifically, the ranking of the US on several indicators was:
* 13th (last) for low-birth-weight percentages
* 13th for neonatal mortality and infant mortality overall
* 11th for postneonatal mortality
* 13th for years of potential life lost (excluding external causes)
* 11th for life expectancy at 1 year for females, 12th for males
* 10th for life expectancy at 15 years for females, 12th for males
* 10th for life expectancy at 40 years for females, 9th for males
* 7th for life expectancy at 65 years for females, 7th for males
* 3rd for life expectancy at 80 years for females, 3rd for males
* 10th for age-adjusted mortality
The poor performance of the US was recently confirmed by a World Health Organization study, which used
different data and ranked the United States as 15th among 25 industrialized countries.
There is a perception that the American public "behaves badly" by smoking, drinking, and perpetrating
violence." However the data does not support this assertion.
* The proportion of females who smoke ranges from 14% in Japan to 41% in Denmark; in the United
States, it is 24% (fifth best). For males, the range is from 26% in Sweden to 61% in Japan; it is 28% in the
United States (third best).
* The US ranks fifth best for alcoholic beverage consumption.
* The US has relatively low consumption of animal fats (fifth lowest in men aged 55-64 years in 20
industrialized countries) and the third lowest mean cholesterol concentrations among men aged 50 to 70
years among 13 industrialized countries.
These estimates of death due to error are lower than those in a recent Institutes of Medicine report, and if
the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000.
Even at the lower estimate of 225,000 deaths per year, this constitutes the third leading cause of death in
the US, following heart disease and cancer.
Lack of technology is certainly not a contributing factor to the US's low ranking.
* Among 29 countries, the United States is second only to Japan in the availability of magnetic resonance
imaging units and computed tomography scanners per million population. 17
* Japan, however, ranks highest on health, whereas the US ranks among the lowest.
* It is possible that the high use of technology in Japan is limited to diagnostic technology not matched
by high rates of treatment, whereas in the US, high use of diagnostic technology may be linked to more
* Supporting this possibility are data showing that the number of employees per bed (full-time
equivalents) in the United States is highest among the countries ranked, whereas they are very low in
Japan, far lower than can be accounted for by the common practice of having family members rather than
hospital staff provide the amenities of hospital care.
Journal American Medical Association July 26, 2000;284(4):483-5
Doctors and Iatrogenic Deaths
As everywhere in this sorry world, there is good people behind every social function. There is too people
seeking personal power, using other people as their prime matter to build the pedestal of their arrogance.
Don't confuse the good person, making its best under the title of "Doctor in Medicine", with the irresponsible
leader of a Company or Association,
acting under Legal protection, but having no Soul or Human Spirit.
(Don't confuse neither "Legal", "Law" and "Just Action" or "Justice")
Actual Health Care System makes you anxious?
Here are some good reasons why I personally worry about it!
These documents had been written with United States Health System in mind.
If you think your own country has a better situation, I congratulate you for your optimism.
And I really hope this optimism could save someday your life (Beware : Natural Selection follows Reality, not pity!)
What follows has been found in my favorite "Best Official Medicine" site :
Other articles of interest, complementing this one :
"Medical Mistakes Kill 100,000 Americans A Year"
US Health System Most Expensive in World
Other shocking article written by
Tim Boken : "The American
Medical System is Broken..."
These numbers are for the United
States, and are "deaths per year"
"The number one cause of
unnecessary death in the United
States, called Iatrogenic deaths
The number two cause of
unnecessary death in the United
States is Heart Disease. Statistics
show "The 2001 heart disease
annual death rate is 699,697."
The number three cause of
unnecessary death in the United
States is Cancer. Statistics show
"the annual cancer death rate,
The total number of known
unnecessary deaths, per year,
directly due to the American
Medical System is 2,036,884."
"State Licensing Boards have
been given the responsibility for
regulating health care in
America, State by State. Do they
do anything to solve the
problems listed above? NO, they
do not. There is NOT ONE STATE
in the United States that has a
program to do something about
the problems described as the
number one killer of Americans -
Iatrogenic deaths (783,986).
Not one State has a program to
put a stop to, or even look at, the
problems of Hospital Adverse
Drug Reactions: 106,000 Deaths
Medical errors: 98,000 deaths
Bedsores: 105,000 deaths
Infections: 88,000 deaths
Malnutrition: 108,800 deaths
Outpatient Adverse Drug
Reactions: 199,000 deaths
unnecessary procedures: 37,136
Surgery related: 32,000 deaths.
And, what about those
15,678,720 serious health
problems caused by the
American Medical System?
Those numbers INCREASE every
year because our State
regulatory agencies ignore their
= If you kill a Human Being, you
are a criminal, and you will go in
Jail for life, or will be executed ( In
some US States)
= If you kill 10 humans, you are
a "Disturbed Soul", and "we" will
take care of you in a Psychiatric
Hospital, until we throw you out in
the street with a fistful of pills,
because you are too expensive for
= If you kill a thousand people,
you will be regarded as an Hero
= If you kill on a regular basis,
every year, with total impunity,
many hundred of thousand people,
HOW SHOULD WE CALL YOU?!
Cynical, hard to read? Think
about all those who are living this
situation in a daily reality!!