Heart disease and cancer are the No. 1 and No. 2 causes of death in the U.S. And now, according to a new analysis by Johns Hopkins University researchers, we have a new No. 3 cause of death — medical errors.
According to the analysis, medical errors cause more deaths annually in this country than stroke and diabetes COMBINED!
Of course, not every medical mistake is as dramatic as the ones that make headlines — like the surgeon who took out the wrong organ from the wrong patient. Or the nurse who gave a patient a deadly dose of the wrong drug.
Experts say a lot of medical errors have to do with poor communications.
Really — poor communications?
President Obama promised for seven years to finally institute universal electronic medical records usage supposedly to solve that problem.
Twenty-five years ago, I personally witnessed how the government wasted billions paying the usual “beltway bandit” government contractors to implement ridiculous technologies for “electronic medical records” at Walter Reed and other federal medical facilities. Today, I find doctors don’t want and don’t use this technology. And clearly, it doesn’t benefit most patients.
Instead, these wasted billions of your tax dollars mostly benefitted the “usual suspects” as Captain Renault (played by Claude Raines) dishonestly said in Casablanca.
In this case, the “usual suspect” beltway bandits have manipulated government agencies for over half a century to do their bidding about drugs, vaccines, expensive treatments, and even electronic medical records.
When the treatment is deadlier than the disease
Dr. Martin Makary, professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, led the new research on medical errors. He summed it up well when he said crony capitalist healthcare, “boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care.”
I remember when the Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimated the annual number of deaths due to medical errors at 98,000 back in 1999. They called preventable medical errors an “epidemic” even back then. And the news sent shock waves throughout the medical world.
Today, medical errors cause 251,000 deaths per year. That’s nearly triple the number since 1999.
Put another way, medical errors cause 700 deaths per day, which represents about 10 percent of all deaths. It also represents more deaths per day than some of big government’s shady, expensive, politically motivated “health” and “safety” regulations would save in a YEAR!
And what about injuries caused by these medical errors?
According to some estimates, the number of patients injured (but not fatally) is 40 times the number of deaths!
Dr. Makary suggests the government should deploy methods like the FAA’s “crash investigation teams” when an airliner goes down. But the deaths caused by our own healthcare system due to errors equates to more than two Boeing 747s going down every single day. There’s no investigating a mess that big that doesn’t involve bringing down the whole system.
But here’s what I find even more disturbing…
CDC turns a blind eye to medical errors
The CDC doesn’t even require routine reporting of medical errors. That’s a bit ironic, considering all the data they force doctors and healthcare office staff to report about billing codes. So the government remains ignorant of many things. They turn over the dirty work to independent organizations like Johns Hopkins to “do the math.”
Dr. Kenneth Sands of Harvard Medical School-Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center said the surprising thing about medical errors is the limited change that has taken place since the IOM report came out in 1999.
Is “surprised” the right word, Dr. Sands?
I’d give Captain Renault the famous last word. More like, “shocking” to me.
Of course, these are just the medical missteps that are recognized and admitted by the mainstream to be outright mistakes. That doesn’t count the toxic foods and beverages, drugs and other treatments Americans use every day, which likely contribute to heart disease, diabetes and cancers, as well as other chronic diseases.
Medical procedures and treatments are slowly killing us even when done “correctly,” intentionally, and without “error,” according to doctor’s orders and faulty government guidelines.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you a bit more about why the new report about medical errors isn’t so much surprising as it is infuriating.