Iatrogenesis is the accidental or undesirable death and suffering caused by doctors or surgeons through treatment.
I can think of many reasons why the statement 'Trust me I'm a doctor' should be thrown out through the window. It is a shocking fact that prescribed drugs cause more deaths than murder, accidents or the taking of unlawful drugs:
Consider the following statistics. Reports from the American Medical Association (AMA) say that around 225,000 people from the USA have died each year from iatrogenic deaths.
This is made up of:
12,000 died of unnecessary surgery
27,000 from treatment errors from surgery
80,000 infections contracted in hospitals
106,000 from adverse drug side effects prescribed by doctors (advised by pharmaceutical companies)
Now consider reading the following newspaper headline EVERYDAY for a year:
"Two full 747 airplanes crash killing all its passengers"
-The death toll from these imaginary crashes is about the same as the number of American iatrogenic deaths in a year.
On similar lines an article written in the Sunday Times by Lois Rogers states in so many words that Doctors kill 40,000 people a year in Britain alone.
From this article it is disturbing to see that fatal medical error is the third most frequent cause of death in Britain after cancer and heart disease. This ranking for fatal medical error reflects the rest of the western world. And what about the non-fatal adverse reactions being seven times higher..?
-Clearly, this shows that conventional medicine can do more harm than good.
Tip of the iceberg
Both the AMA stats and the above article can be considered misleading:
No information was given on outpatients or drugs that should never have been prescribed by doctors. That is, drugs that were not recommended by pharmaceutical companies. This would make the figures that much higher.
In the light of this, it has been shown by one study that the number of deaths caused inadvertently by doctors or surgeons from medical diagnostic procedures and subsequent treatment in the USA is more like something in the region of over three quarters of a million. The breakdown can be seen with the economic expenditure involved:
Some very revealing stats were collected from reports by Gary Null PhD, Carolyn Dean MD ND, Martin Feldman MD, Debora Rasio MD and Dorothy Smith PhD. Taken from studies in 2003 for one year; it shows that the total economic cost in the USA from iatrogenic intervention comes to $292 billion. The breakdown can be shown:
Adverse drug reactions 106,000 deaths / $12 billion
Medical error 98,000 / $2 billion
Bedsores 115,000 / $55 billion
Infection 88,000 / $5 billion
Outpatients 109,000 / $77 billion
Unnecessary procedures 37,136 / $122 billion
Surgery-related 32,000 / $9 billion 2
The total to all this is 783,936 deaths / 292 billion
We can see that if the above figure for the total number of iatrogenic deaths could be projected over a 10-year period, this would come to just over 7.8million. -That's more than the total number of war casualties in the history of America!
Dr Lucian L. Leape made the earliest known iatrogenic study in 1994, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Through his studies over various hospitals in the United States he could have chosen the average fatality rate, which was 20%, but instead decided to use a lower figure of 4% (was he playing it diplomatically safe when giving this account to his superiors???). If he had chosen the average figure of 20%, then that would have totalled to 1,189,576 iatrogenic deaths for a year instead.
Our imaginary newspaper would then have looked like this:
Over 10 full 747 airplanes crash killing all its passengers
In spite of Leape's figures producing significantly higher numbers, many medical accidents are not reported. This lack of bringing things into the open serves to protect the staff involved from any comebacks: legal proceedings and ruin of professional reputation.
From various investigations in hospitals across the USA, Leape discovered that only 5-20% of iatrogenic events were ever reported. Years on from Leapes's studies, there is still no reform in the reporting system. Neither has there been any real attempt to train healthcare staff on how to deal with errors.
Corruption NOT incompetence Firstly, my writing is not an out and out against the medical / pharmaceutical establishment, but I strongly believe that there is a massive imbalance in their favour, when a more eclectic approach embracing other alternative forms of medicine would far be the best for humankind.
I realise that doctors and surgeons can do a wonderful job and have performed some life saving tasks. No doubt that much integrity has been demonstrated in their professions. Also, with the help of technological advances, there are many areas of medicine that mankind has benefited greatly from over most recent years. Probably, the area in which conventional medicines is at its best is the repair of damaged tissue. Take, for instance, the advances made in microsurgery...
However, when the accidental or undesirable death and suffering caused by doctors or surgeons through treatment is carefully looked into, we can clearly see evidence of corruption connected to the Medical / Pharmaceutical establishment and how it manages to raise its ugly head. This is not because doctors and surgeons have been wicked, but for most part, they have been manipulated into a corrupt system. In short, conventional medicine is at its worse when it comes to the treatment of diseases:
Poor performance As I have been saying all along, this corrupt system manages to produce appalling track records when it comes to the treatment of diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. When you consider the forever-rising numbers in deaths from diseases, with treatment that can be ineffective or detrimental and, of course, with escalating costs, it has to be asked, what is going on here?
A report showed that in 2003, the USA spent 1.6 trillion dollars on healthcare (that's $1,600,000,000,000). This makes up 14% of the Gross National Product. With all the state-of-the-art technology available and the trillions of dollars spent in the USA, you would expect this superpower country to do far better.
Comparisons across countries The USA does not do well when it comes to comparing their healthcare records with other countries either:
Consider the following study. It took 13 countries including the USA and ranked each one on how they compared when considering certain health indicators. From the overall results, the USA came a poor 12th position. The rankings for many of the individual indicators were none to good either.
-13th (last) for low-birth-weight percentages
-13th for neonatal mortality and infant mortality overall
-11th for post-neonatal mortality
-13th for years of potential life (excluding external causes)
-11th for life expectancy at 1 year for females 12th for males
-10th for life expectancy at 15 years for females 12th for males
-10th for life expectancy at 40 years for females 9th for males
-7th for life expectancy at 65 years for females 7th for males
-3rd for life expectancy at 80 years for females 3rd for males
-10th for age-adjusted mortality
Doctor Jo Mercola adds to the above study: He says that the above pattern found for the USA is similar to other first world countries such as the UK, since the healthcare system is similar.
When comparing the other countries, because it was shown that the above patterns were not related to violence, drinking and smoking (i.e. to 'bad behaviour') because the USA did not rate significantly higher in these things, it was concluded that the figures were related to iatrogenic deaths.
Other similar studies have been done. Such as one carried out by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which also confirmed the USA's generally poor health rating. The data showed that overall, the USA ranked 15th out of the 25 industrial countries selected.
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