History tells us it can take decades before a medical truth becomes accepted as fact, and recent headlines are a perfect example of this. Sixteen years ago, I read an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that stunned me. I was shocked JAMA published it. Although the article did not explicitly state it, the data was very clear.
So I published my summary of the study, which revealed that doctors are in fact the third leading cause of death in the U.S.1
You likely have seen this statistic or headline, but you may not be aware that I was the one who created that headline, which has been widely circulated on the internet and virtually never attributed to me as the person who saw through the data to make that conclusion.
Dr. Barbara Starfield was the author of that JAMA study, published in 2000, and her research documented how a staggering 225,000 Americans die from iatrogenic causes, meaning their death is caused by a physician’s or hospital’s activity, manner, or therapy. Her statistics showed that each year:
- 12,000 die from unnecessary surgery
- 7,000 die from medication errors in hospitals
- 20,000 die from other errors in hospitals
- 80,000 die from hospital-acquired infections
- 106,000 die from the negative side effects of drugs taken as prescribed
One of the reasons why many are still surprised by these statistics is due to fundamental flaws in the tracking of medical errors, which has shielded the reality of the situation and kept it out of the public eye.
Medical Errors Are STILL the Third Leading Cause of Death