Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How Many of Us Are Dying Because We Go To Our Doctors? (As Opposed To Dying Because We Can't Afford To Go.)

I'm often curious about the denial of the pretty clear reality that our medical system needs serious help.  One of the denial sticking points is the number of deaths directly attributable to medical care.  Let's be clear.  Almost everyone dies under medical care at some point.  But a fair percent of patients are helped on their way unnecessarily and prematurely by the very people who want to preserve their lives. 

We rank poorly (twelfth out of fifteen) in comparison to other industrialized nations' healthcare.  Before you blame the fat Americans, we rank 3rd lowest in smokers and fifth lowest in drinkers.  U.S. men 50-70 have the lowest cholesterol of the group.  So it isn't just that we're less healthy. 

"According to several research studies in the last decade, a total of 225,000 Americans per year have died as a result of their medical treatments:

• 12,000 deaths per year due to unnecessary surgery

• 7000 deaths per year due to medication errors in hospitals
• 20,000 deaths per year due to other errors in hospitals
• 80,000 deaths per year due to infections in hospitals
• 106,000 deaths per year due to negative effects of drugs
Thus, America's healthcare-system-induced deaths are the third leading cause of the death in the U.S., after heart disease and cancer.

Where am I getting all these disturbing statistics?  From the Journal of the American Medical Association, that den of alternative radicalism (seriously, one of the most conservative medical journals on the planet).  Here's the data written out at a radical blog and here's -WAIT-where is that pesky journal article?  Oh, right here on the JAMA website.  Oh, and if you had some concerns about Starfield's credentials, she works at John Hopkins.  So that's where we get our statistics. 

If you'd like a whole book on our chilling reality, check out Money Driven Medicine.

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