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Medical Mistakes — A Leading Cause of Death in the United States

Posted by Catherine Morgan on May 5, 2007

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Did you know that preventable medical mistakes are one of the leading causes of death in the United States?

By Catherine MorganHealth & Wellness at BlogHer

We all know about the oath our doctors take to “do no harm”. But, we also know that doctors are human, and humans make mistakes. What you might not know is; Death due to medical mistakes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It is estimated that over 100,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors.

Medical errors account for more deaths in America than breast cancer, AIDS or car accidents annually. — read full article

This is a lot of people. To put this number into perspective; I just did a post on the HPV vaccine, that hopes to prevent 70% of the 3,670 deaths a year associated with cervical cancer. The problem of deaths due to medical mistakes is twenty times greater than the deaths caused by cervical cancer. — read my full post at BlogHer

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FROM: How Prepared are You to NOT Become a National Statistic?

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Dr. Starfield has documented the tragedy of the traditional medical paradigm in the following statistics:

Deaths Per Year

Cause
106,000 Non-error, negative effects of drugs2
80,000 Infections in hospitals10
45,000 Other errors in hospitals10
12,000 Unnecessary surgery8
7,000 Medication errors in hospitals9
250,000 Total deaths per year from iatrogenic* causes

* The term iatrogenic is defined as “induced in a patient by a physician’s activity, manner, or therapy. Used especially to pertain to a complication of treatment.” — read full article

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9 Responses to “Medical Mistakes — A Leading Cause of Death in the United States”

  1. Catherine – your blog has won a Halo Blog Award and is now listed in our Halo Award Gallery. If you want to post a copy of the award graphic on your site please feel free to do so (but its totally optional of course). Congratulations from all of us here at The Diet Pulpit.

  2. Many perspectives exist about causes of perceived human death. Some people believe emotional and other imbalances affect the state of physical health. Some cultures believe what Western medicine does or doesn’t do doesn’t influence the timer in each person as much as the media would have their readers assume.

    I always find it interesting to learn the identity and “interest” of whomever writes particular articles. If one community is panning another or attributing blame for its own gain, then this can influence whether statistics are taken seriously. A picture is always painted or tarnished by someone or some community for a particular reason. We each have our own reasons for interpreting as we do.

  3. Leamonade said

    Thank you for posting this article. I just Googled “leading cause of death in the us” and this type of death was conspicuously left out of the data on the major govt websites. I was interested because I’m seeing conflicing reports about “leading causes of death”, and I believe that my son Wyatt (who was 9-months-old) is one of the victims of “Medical Mistakes” (from both an adverse drug reaction and a terrible set of failures by our medical system to save him). You can view his story at: http://www.wyattsleamonadestand.com/story.html for more information.

    Leamonade

  4. Ann Wray said

    I have been on a hamster wheel, attempting to get help for a common problem, but have had nothing but craziness in the medical world for over 2 years!! I just am amazed and terrified of what I am seeing!!
    I have observed that the primary interest of medical practitioners seems to be money and no longer the healing arts. To forget that a person is not just an object but flesh and blood, spirit, an emotional and thinking being is a horrible tragedy that calls for major reform. What are the medical schools teaching them anyway?
    I believe that legislation should begin and the people should rise up and take their lives back by using the law; the only thing that seems to get any attention.
    As for me? I’m learning about alternative routes to healing with great success. I’m actually studying TCM and the death rate is non-existent with the rate of success being about 80%.
    There is a documentary out called, The Business of Birth that I recommend watching which exposes the criminal approach of the American baby. Should we all re-educate ourselves? I think so.

  5. Robbie Robbins said

    Now is the time for all to take a step back and revisit the way we are delivering healthcare to all, not just our veterans. In the United States there is nearly 250,000 deaths annually contributed to “iatrogenic” causes. Iatrogenic is defined as “induced in a patient by a physician’s activity, manner, or therapy. It is commonly used to pertain to a complication of treatment.” I fully support Allostatix, LLC because I believe that the homeostasis model used to treat patients is not working particularly well. Preventative medicine and patient education should be the direction we should be on. We need to be educating patients and giving ownership of health and wellness back to the patient. By individuals taking this test we are giving them ownership to their future health by providing them with their individual “measurements” through blood and other biometric analysis so that they are better informed about their future health and further, suggesting ways to change that health trajectory.
    As a research scientist and retired healthcare provider I was offended by the “mood-ring” comment above. “Predictive physiological regulation” is what allows us to perform at unusually high demands, but for short periods of time. When the demand persists, physiological mechanisms must be reset to operate at the new levels. Our brain is the executive which controls our behaviors and sets all internal parameters to operate at these higher levels. If pathology is developing because some wiring in the brain is no longer connected nor has good contact, as has been identified in PTSD and other anxiety disorders, pathology will certainly develop downstream. So to identify someone with some stressed induced pathology is not enough. To actually predict health trajectory is something else. Using the allostatic load test should be the starting point…let’s be looking for pathology that is probable if we don’t make changes now based on the allostatic load scores.
    Wellness is a term that refers to an individual’s state of mind as well as their physical state, balancing between health and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fitness. The concept of wellness also entails having access to rehabilitation, when indicated. Moreover, wellness should be an interactive process where an individual becomes aware of and practices healthy choices to establish a balanced lifestyle. Allostatix, LLC should be the starting point that all physicians should refer their patients to…this is good preventative medicine!

  6. rudyscott said

    all of the doctors are human, and humans made a mistakes, ofcourse no doctors are perfect and nobody’s perfect,.sometimes we made a mistake but that mistake its a leaning to us.

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