DANGEROUS TESTS, DANGEROUS DRUGS, DANGEROUS SURGERIES
"A 2004 report of inpatient deaths associated with the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research Patient Safety Indicators in the Medicare population estimated that 575,000 deaths were caused by medical error between 2000 and 2002, which is about 195,000 deaths a year. Similarly, the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General examining the health records of hospital inpatients in 2008, reported 180,000 deaths due to medical error a year among Medicare beneficiaries alone. Using similar methods, Classen et al described a rate of 1.13%. If this rate is applied to all registered US hospital admissions in 2013 it translates to over 400,000 deaths a year, more than four times the IOM estimate. A literature review by James estimated preventable adverse events using a weighted analysis and described an incidence range of 210,000 - 400,000 deaths a year associated with medical errors among hospital patients. We calculated a mean rate of death from medical error of 251,454 a year using the studies reported since the 1999 IOM report and extrapolating to the total number of US hospital admissions in 2013. We believe this understates the true incidence of death due to medical error...... Currently, deaths caused by errors are unmeasured and discussions about prevention occur in limited and confidential forums, such as a hospital’s internal root cause analysis committee or a department’s morbidity and mortality conference. These forums review only a fraction of detected adverse events and the lessons learned are not disseminated beyond the institution or department." Cherry picked from Tuesday's study that was published in the British Medical Journal (Medical Error: The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US)
It's always interesting how many people who come to see me who are totally freaked out --- literally panicked --- about making a visit to a Chiropractor. They've never been, they're desperate, and have gotten to the point they are willing to do anything; no matter how crazy or 'dangerous' it might be. Although I choose not to go there with these patients, it would be easy to get up on my bully pulpit and preach that sermon about how safe the practice of CHIROPRACTIC really is in relationship to medicine ---- even things like TYLENOL.
And like the authors from the BMJ study above insinuate (they actually come right out and admit it), ADVERSE EVENTS ARE ACTUALLY UNDER-REPORTED --- usually by somewhere between 1 to 2 orders of magnitude. You read that right; dozens of studies have shown that under-reporting often occurs at rates approaching 100%. Does anyone understand the term, "Circle the Wagons"? The last two sentences of the red paragraph above clearly show us that this is exactly what's happening in the medical profession.
Although this has been known for a very long time, it did not really punch the public in the face until Dr. Gary Null's groundbreaking study twelve years ago. If you have read his meta-analysis called DEATH BY MEDICINE, you have a better idea than most about the severity and magnitude of this problem. Despite the fact that I have mentioned much of this in my numerous articles on EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE (take just a moment to browse the titles), we are going to take it a step further today --- mostly because new research dictates it by continuing to reveal that this problem is getting worse, not better, at a rapid rate.
According to the CDC, CANCER and HEART DISEASE have been running neck and neck for the past several years as far as leading causes of death are concerned here in America. Shocking for some of you will be the fact that a mainstream journal revealed earlier this week that MEDICAL ERRORS are in third place --- almost doubling up the fourth place contestant; COPD. According to medical safety expert, Dr. Lucian Leape, we have had at least an idea of this fact since 1974's Congressional Report on the subject (HERE). Allow me today, to give you a taste of just how big this problem known in the medical community as IATROGENENIC MORTALITY really is.
DANGEROUS TESTS / DANGEROUS EXAMS
- BONE DENSITY TESTS
- ROUTINE COLONOSCOPIES
- ROUTINE PROSTATE EXAMINATIONS
- ANNUAL PHYSICALS (this will shock your socks off)
- REGULAR MAMMOGRAMS
- CAT SCANS
- CHOLESTEROL SCREENINGS
What happens when people get these and other tests? Sometimes doctors find something bad, treat it, and end up saving a life. Just as often, it starts a process known in the medical community as OVERDIAGNOSIS & OVERTREATMENT. Overdiagnosis leads to Overtreatment, which leads to populations ending up dead at rates that science has shown us are equal to or even greater than those who choose not to get the tests. The problem is, as nationalized medicine rolls forward, you will have an increasingly smaller say in what healthcare you want and don't want (HERE is one example of dozens).
DANGEROUS DRUGS / DANGEROUS MEDS
If this were translating into good health for our citizens, we could live with the drugs and their OUTRAGEOUS COSTS. It's not. A quick peek at various categories of world health rankings reveals that the good ole USA comes in somewhere around 30th overall. Unfortunately, when you look at the CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DEGENERATIVE DISEASES category, we come in about 90th. Here are just a few of the classes of drugs that are causing as many problems as they are solving --- probably more.
- HEARTBURN DRUGS (HERE, HERE & HERE as well)
- DIABETES DRUGS
- NSAIDS & CORTICOSTEROIDS
- DRUGS IN GENERAL
- SLEEPING PILLS
- MUSCLE RELAXERS
- FEMALE VIAGRA
- ADHD DRUGS
- LYRICA & NEURONTIN
- ASTHMA INHALERS
I could have kept going but I think you get the point. Drugs mess you up in ways that you cannot begin to comprehend (HERE & HERE) ---- until it happens to you. The cool thing is, there are actually ways to get off drugs. HERE is the template of an "Exit Strategy" one of my patients used to solve problems that were keeping her bedridden.