I found a really informative link while I was out surfing the web. It is a link to the American Iatrogenic Association. For those of you who do not know Iatrogenic means physician induced. Iatrogenic death is huge in this country, but people off the street actually have no clue about the type of Russian Roulette they are playing with their lives when they give up the responsibility of their health to a Medical facility. Check out this quote from the AIA page
Despite the rare public discussion of iatrogenic illness, it is a significant cause of disease and death for Americans. To illustrate just how important iatrogenic illness has become, Time magazine has reported one estimate that 80,000 people are killed annually by doctors and medical treatments. That is about twice the number of Americans killed each year in car accidents.
Now keep in mind that this is just a very conservative estimate, and only a record of reported iatrogenic death. That's right, there are many more cases which are not reported or made available to inquiry. There is an actual New England Journal of Medicine article by Dr. Lucian Leape which addresses the huge incidence of iatrogenic death in this country which I am in the process of obtaining. I will put up the abstract as soon as I get my hands on it.
Now I don't want anyone to get the impression that I am putting down Medical Doctors at all. I respect them greatly, especially since most of them got into their field to help get people well. The problem lies in their education. Medical schools have ceased teaching about disease, instead all that is learned is pharmacology. In other words the only substantiative treatment Medical Doctors have at their disposal are drugs. Common sense tells us that there is a smarter way to go about treating disease, but then that would mean less profit for the pharmaceutical companies now wouldn't it?
Another interesting link to ABC news which talks about the same thing click here to see. This article may be even more disturbing than the last, putting the figure of iatrogenic death in 1994 at 106,000 with another 2.2 million who sustained serious injury. Two things to keep in mind, first is that according to Medwatch officials less than 1 percent of all serious drug reactions are reported to the FDA (makes one realize the actual number of deaths is unquestionably much higher than reported). Secondly these are deaths and injuries not caused by error, in other words you must add the deaths and injuries which are due to error to these figures!
Another tidbit that amused me was a report issued to the U.S. government by the Pew Health Professions Commission (led by former Senator George Mitchell) warned that more than 16,000 medical doctors had been disciplined for incompetency, crimes, negligence, or prescription irregularities. This figure is thought to represent only a small part of the overall problem.
Drug-related morbidity and mortality was estimated to
cost $76.6 billion per year in the ambulatory setting in the U.S. Out of this
figure the largest cost was drug-related hospitilizations at 8.76 million
admissions at a cost of $47.4 billion per year. This is 62% of the total cost.
The cost of drug-related problems in ambulatory care in U.S. is considerable.
In Medicine the focus is on symptoms & specific
etiologies. The concept of disease has supplanted that of wellness.
20% of patients admitted to a university hospital
medical service suffered iatrogenic (physician induced) injury and 20% of those
injuries were serious or fatal. In 1991 Harvard Medical Practice Study reported
that nearly 4% of patients hospitalized in NY state suffered an injury that
prolonged their hospital stay or resulted in measurable disability. This equaled
98,609 patients in 1984. Nearly 14% fo these injuries were fatal. If these rates
are typical of the U.S. then 180,000 people die a year partly as a result of
iatrogenic injury, the equivalent of 3 jumbo jet crashes every 2 days. In
addition 35% - 45% of diagnoses of cause of death were incorrect when
confirmation was attempted on autopsy.
In clinical practice 30% to 80% of medical patients
have conditions for which no physiological or organic cause is found after
routine investigation. Medical doctors do not assess patient perceived health
status accurately, and most have little training in assessment of functional
In 1986, the economic cost of treating arthritis
(degenerative joint disease, or DJD) in the USA has been estimated at
8.6billion. However the cost for treating side effects of non steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDís) in 1986 was 3.9 billion (45% of the primary
In the USA 100,000,000 (this number is NOT a misprint)
prescriptions for NSAIDís were dispensed in 1986 (4% of all prescriptions).
30% of patients taking NSAIDís who have persistent GI
symptoms are likely to have a chronic peptic ulcer.
Adverse events occurred in 21% of USA patients taking
NSAIDís and 25% of UK patients.
12,000 tons (approximately 40 billion tablets) of
aspirin were sold over the counter in 1986.
From the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) meeting
February 22-23, 1990, some committee members felt: "aspirin is an
exceptionally versatile and effective drug with many valuable therapeutic
applications, but that it is an unacceptably dangerous drug for non-prescription
self administration...most of the NSAIDís are so much safer than aspirin that
the reclassification of aspirin as a prescription-only drug is desirable".