I’ve always suspected this but thought that perhaps I was just too cynical for it to actually be true but…
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010 statistics) here are the leading causes of death in America:
Number of deaths
- Heart disease: 597,689
- Cancer: 574,743
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
- Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
- Diabetes: 69,071
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
- Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
- Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364
So heart disease and Cancer are the 2 big causes of death in the USA But, consider this… a recent study in the Journal of Patient Safety, which is a follow up to a 2010 report from the Office of the Inspector General for Health and Human services, estimates that as many as 210,000 to 440,000 patients who go to the hospital for healing die each year as a result of preventable medical deaths.
This makes unintentional medical errors during… doctor’s, hospital’s, and nursing home’s attempts to care for and improve our health… the third-leading cause of death in the United States!
And that is just counting the deaths from preventable errors…and that’s if you count preventable errors as a disease…which of course we don’t…and I also just have to ask. What’s the word “preventable” doing in front of the word “errors”? Isn’t the word error enough? Adding the word preventable implies that the errors wouldn’t occur if we just stopped insisting on the service, test or exam that leads to the errors being made.
And then…If we also count everyone who is in someway made sicker by an error in the healthcare they receive ( An error is defined as an act that produces an adverse outcome compared to the natural progression of disease) then up to one million more patients experienced some type of preventable error, that leads to injury. (according to the U.S. Institute of Medicine)
It seems that the more expensive healthcare has become, the more doctors, hospitals and insurance companies have become eager and interested in offering services, tests and screening exams to healthy patients in efforts to get a jump on their “potential disease” before it manifests itself as an “actual disease” to the patient…unfortunately many of these preventive measures have proven to be ineffective at best and dangerous at their worst. Most insurance companies and especially Medicare, reimburse doctors and hospitals regardless of outcome. In fact, there are now even billing codes for specific errors.
So what’s a body to do… healthy or Un?
Sadly, and as in most things once they become unimaginably profitable, it becomes necessary to “Let the buyer beware!”
That phrase “caveat emptor” arises from the fact that buyers often have less information about the goods or service they are purchasing, while the seller has more information. Defects in the good or service may be hidden from the buyer, and only known to the seller. Thus, the buyer should beware.