Death By Medicine
A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good.
The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million. Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.
The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million. The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251.
ANNUAL PHYSICAL AND ECONOMIC COST OF MEDICAL INTERVENTION
We could have an even higher death rate by using Dr. Lucien Leape's 1997 medical and drug error rate of 3 million. (14) Multiplied by the fatality rate of 14% (that Leape used in 1994 (16)) we arrive at an annual death rate of 420,000 for drug errors and medical errors combined. If we put this number in place of Lazorou's 106,000 drug errors and the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) 98,000 medical errors, we could add another 216,000 deaths making a total of 999,936 deaths annually.
ANNUAL UNNECESSARY MEDICAL EVENTS STATISTICS
The enumerating of unnecessary medical events is very important in our analysis. Any medical procedure that is invasive and not necessary must be considered as part of the larger iatrogenic picture. Unfortunately, cause and effect go unmonitored. The figures on unnecessary events represent people (“patients”) who are thrust into a dangerous healthcare system. They are helpless victims. Each one of these 16.4 million lives is being affected in a way that could have a fatal consequence. Simply entering a hospital could result in the following:
All the statistics above represent a one-year time span. Imagine the numbers over a ten-year period. Working with the most conservative figures from our statistics we project the following 10-year death rates.
TEN-YEAR DEATH RATES FOR MEDICAL INTERVENTION
Our projected statistic of 7.8 million iatrogenic deaths is more than all the casualties from wars that America has fought in its entire history.
Our projected figures for unnecessary medical events occurring over a 10-year period are also dramatic.
TEN-YEAR STATISTICS FOR UNNECESSARY INTERVENTION
These projected figures show that a total of 164 million people, approximately 56% of the population of the United States, have been treated unnecessarily by the medical industry – in other words, about half a million people per day.
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