Deaths Due To Medical Intervention In The USA

Ironically, I gathered the following information about how bad the American health care system has been from an Irish website. Until a health care package like Obama’s means less intervention rather than more, I don’t see this situation improving substantially.

Every year in the US there are:

    12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries;

    7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals;

    20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals;

    80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals;

    106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines.

    The total of medically-caused deaths in the US every year is 225,000.

This makes the medical system the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.

Dr. Barbara Starfield made a study of the matter that was published in 2000. Jon Rappaport of No More Fake News interviewed her about this study. MindFreedom Ireland published the interview, MEDICALLY CAUSED DEATH IN AMERICA: AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DR. BARBARA STARFIELD, on its website.

My papers on the benefits of primary care have been widely used, including in Congressional testimony and reports. However, the findings on the relatively poor health in the US have received almost no attention. The American public appears to have been hoodwinked into believing that more interventions lead to better health, and most people that I meet are completely unaware that the US does not have the ‘best health in the world’.

As a person mentioned in a comment on a facebook page about this statistical data, this figure would certainly be higher if it accounted for the amount of cancer and heart disease brought about by prescription drug use.

Note that the figure also does not include “off label” prescription drug deaths.

106,000 people die as a result of CORRECTLY prescribed medicines. I believe that was your point in your 2000 study. Overuse of a drug or inappropriate use of a drug would not fall under the category of “correctly prescribed.” Therefore, people who die after “overuse” or “inappropriate use” would be IN ADDITION TO the 106,000 and would fall into another or other categories.

When it comes to statistics of this sort the figures tend to be understated rather than overstated as a rule.

Dr. Starfield found the USA ranked 12th best as far as health care goes in a comparison of 13 countries. This is not good as that’s in the slot right above dead last. The way these countries lined up from the best ranking to the worst was as follows.

United Kingdom
United States

I seriously doubt that there has been much of a marked improvement in this situation in the 10 years since this study came out.