Why Be Your Own Doctor?

More people die every year from Medical mistakes than die in any war we are fighting. These are called Iatrogenic, or doctor caused deaths. Why be your own doctor? In a word, the answer is Responsibility. Most people go to the doctor and do whatever they are told. From the drugs (medications) to the antibiotics to the vaccines and surgery (which all too often are not necessary), but who is looking out for you the individual? Statistics prove that if you “do what you are told,” your very life may be in danger! So, do you want to live or become a statistic? Or worst, be permanently damaged or maimed by a medical mistake?

That said, let me begin by stating that the five percent of medical care which deals with trauma care is extremely valuable. Doctors set broken bones and sew the body back together after an accident. This service is extremely valuable and fruitful and is deeply appreciated and encouraged. Trauma care is the strength of modern medicine. Beyond trauma care, to listen to a medical professional may be more harm than good.

Allow me to quote a few statements from a document published by the United States Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs in February 1977.

“The problem will never be solved merely by more and more medical care”. Page six states, “Appropriate public education must emphasize the unfortunate but clear limitations of current medical practice in curing the common killing diseases. Once Hypertension, diabetes, arteriosclerosis or heart diseases are manifest, there is, in reality, very little that medical science can do to return a patient to normal physiological function. As awareness of this limitation increases, the importance of prevention will become more important.”

The committee that wrote this found that nutrition is directly related to these killer diseases, and the medical doctors aren’t equipped to help with the diseases as they are not taught adequate nutrition in school. Page six continues, “There is widespread and unfounded confidence in the ability of the medical science to cure or mitigate (help) the effects of such diseases once they occur.” Dr.  Phillip Lee, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Health Policy Program at the University of California states on page seven, “As a nation, we have come to believe that medicine and medical technology can solve our major health problems. The role of such important factors as diet in cancer and heart disease has long been obscured (hidden) by the emphasis on the conquest of these diseases through the miracles of modern medicine. Treatment, not prevention, has been the order of the day.”

The government formed the committee that published this document because they found there were foods that were directly related to all the crippling and killer diseases. This document was only issued twice because the AMA didn’t like it, and on the second edition they clearly stated that to change your diet may be harmful, and there is no scientific proof connecting diet and disease. They are absolutely correct on one point; you may not die if you change your diet, you may have a chance to survive!

The medical community is only taught what they are supposed to know, which ultimately is what makes the money and sells the drugs, not what heals the patient. Hospitals are not havens of care, they are a business and at the end of the day the final decision is what is best for business. Thus doctors are not trained in true cause and effect medicine, much less prevention. Among those responsible are all drug companies, the AMA (American Medical Association), FDA (Federal Drug Administration) and a few others who generally have assets in the companies they are propagating.

THE FACTS:

If a Jumbo Jet crashed and killed 280 people everyday… 365 days a year… year after year… would you be concerned about flying?? Would you question the Federal Aviation Administration? Would you demand answers??

Think about it! Close to 100,000 people dying every year from plane crashes? Sounds Ridiculous?

Well think again. What if you were told that over 100,000 people are killed and over 2 million people maimed and disabled every year…year after year from modern medicine…would you believe it??

Well these may be my words…but read the following articles from the most respected medical journals and institutions (Journal of the American Medical Association, Harvard University, Centers for Disease Control, British medical journal The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine and national news (New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, US World Report) and you be the judge.

Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Dr. Starfield has documented the tragedy of the traditional medical paradigm in the following statistics:

* The term iatrogenic is defined as “induced in a patient by a physician’s activity, manner, or therapy. Used especially to pertain to a complication of treatment.”   Furthermore, these estimates of death due to error are lower than those in a recent Institutes of Medicine report.

If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000. Even at the lower estimate of 225,000 deaths per year, this constitutes the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Dr. Starfield offers several caveats in the interpretations of these numbers:

First, most of the data are derived from studies in hospitalized patients.

Second, these estimates are for deaths only and do not include the many negative effects that are associated with disability or discomfort.

Third, the estimates of death due to error are lower than those in the IOM report. If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000.

In any case, 225,000 deaths per year constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States, after deaths from heart disease and cancer.  Even if these figures are overestimated, there is a wide margin between these numbers of deaths and the next leading cause of death (cerebro-vascular disease).

Another analysis concluded that between 4% and 18% of consecutive patients experience negative effects in outpatient settings, with:

  • 116 million extra physician visits
  • 77 million extra prescriptions
  • 17 million emergency department visits
  • 8 million hospitalizations
  • 3 million long-term admissions
  • 199,000 additional deaths
  • $77 billion in extra costs

The high cost of the health care system is considered to be a deficit, but it seems to be tolerated under the assumption that better health results from more expensive care.

However, evidence from a few studies indicates that as many as 20% to 30% of patients receive inappropriate care. An estimated 44,000 to 98,000 among these patients die each year as a result of medical errors. This might be tolerable if it resulted in better health, but does it?

Out of 13 countries in a recent comparison, the United States ranks an average of 12th (second from the bottom) for 16 available health indicators.

More specifically, the ranking of the U.S. on several indicators was:

  • 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 lost (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

The poor performance of the U.S. was recently confirmed by a World Health Organization study which used different data and ranked the United States as 15th among 25 industrialized countries.

It has been known that drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. This makes it clear that the more frightening number is that doctors are the third leading cause of death in this country, killing nearly a quarter million people a year.

These statistics are further confused because most medical coding only describes the cause of organ failure and does not identify iatrogenic causes at all.

Lucian Leape, a Harvard University professor who conducted the most comprehensive study of medical errors in the United States, has estimated that one million patients nationwide are injured by errors during hospital treatment each year and that 120,000 die as a result.
– Harvard University

In their study, Leape and his colleagues examined patient records at hospitals throughout the state of New York. Their 1991 report found that one of every 200 patients admitted to a hospital died as a result of a hospital error.

That number of deaths is the equivalent of what would occur if a jumbo jet crashed every day; it is three times the 43,000 people killed each year in U.S. automobile accidents.

“It’s by far the number one problem” in health care, said Leape, an adjunct professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Researchers such as Leape say that not only are medical errors not reported to the public, but those reported to hospital authorities represent roughly 5 to 10 percent of the number of actual medical mistakes at a typical hospital.

“The bottom line is we have a system that is terribly out of control,” said Robert Brook, a professor of medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles.

“It’s really a joke to worry about the occasional plane that goes down when we have thousands of people who are killed in hospitals every year.” Brook’s recognition of the extent of hospital errors is shared by many of medicine’s leaders.

Care — not treatment — is the answer. Drugs, surgery and hospitals become increasingly dangerous for chronic disease cases. Facilitating the God-given healing capacity by improving the diet, exercise, and lifestyle is the key.

Effective interventions for the underlying emotional and spiritual wounding behind most chronic disease is critical for the reinvention of our medical paradigm. These numbers suggest that reinvention of our medical paradigm is called for.

Study Slams Medical Error Rate in Nation

Philadelphia Inquirer

A panel of the National Academy of Sciences, in a highly critical report, yesterday called for a major national effort to reduce medical errors by developing a mandatory reporting system and asking Congress to establish a center to study them.

The 220-page report, written by a 19-member committee of the Academy’s Institute of Medicine, set as a goal a 50 percent reduction in the nation’s “stunningly high rate of medical errors” within five years.

It estimated that errors from medical treatment kill up to 98,000 people in U.S. hospitals every year and characterized the problem as among the nation’s leading causes of death and injury.

Several members of the committee said in interviews yesterday that the report was intended as a loud call to action for the health-care industry, which it said has not acted swiftly enough to address the causes of errors.

“What it says is ‘enough already,’ ” said Lucian Leape, a committee member and adjunct professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health. “It’s a matter of holding people’s feet to the fire and stop talking about errors and start doing something.”

Medical Mistakes Often Unreported

Detroit News

Based on a recent report by the Institute of Medicine, which estimates 36 error-related hospital deaths per 100,000 people, 3,534 Michiganians died last year due to medical mistakes.

Patients reported 2,027 complaints about health care organizations to the state, but Tom Lindsay, director of the Michigan Bureau of Health Services, said those likely represent just a fraction of the mistakes.

Medical Mistakes

New York Times

The NEW YORK TIMES reported that 5% of people admitted to hospitals, or about 1.8 million people per year, in the U.S. pick up an infection while there. Such infections are called “iatrogenic” — meaning “induced by a physician,” or, more loosely, “caused by medical care.”

Iatrogenic infections are directly responsible for 20,000 deaths among hospital patients in the U.S. each year, and they contribute to an additional 70,000 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control CDC). The dollar cost of iatrogenic infections is $4.5 billion, according to the CDC.

National Patient Safety Foundation

A new poll from the nonprofit National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) finds that 42 percent of people say they’ve been affected by physician errors, either directly or through a friend or relative.

If the survey of roughly 1,500 people accurately represents the general public, it could mean that more than 100 million Americans have experience with medical mistakes.

More alarming, according to the survey, is the fact that in one out of three cases the error permanently harmed the patient’s health.

Dr. Leape is a board member of the NPSF, which was founded by the American Medical Association in June of this year to improve health care safety.

AMA leaders say it’s time to bring the issue out into the open, rather than living in constant fear that any admission of error will launch a flood of malpractice lawsuits.

Leape’s own research has shown that the tally of medical mistakes made each year could reach 3 million, with total costs as high as $200 billion.

The survey found that 40 percent of the people who had experienced a medical mistake pointed to misdiagnoses and wrong treatments as the problem. Medication errors accounted for 28 percent of mistakes.

And 22 percent of respondents reported slip-ups during medical procedures.

Half of the errors occurred in hospitals, and 22 percent in doctors’ offices.

What Causes Errors

When asked what may have caused their doctors to make such errors, patients cited carelessness, stress, faulty training and bad communication. Three out of four believe the best solution to the problem would be to bar health care workers with bad track records.

But Leape disagreed, arguing that punishment simply encourages people to cover up their errors. “We need to shift emphasis away from individuals,” he said. “Errors are not the disease, they’re the symptoms of the disease.”

Instead, he said, poorly designed health care systems may be largely to blame. Doctors and nurses often work double shifts, making them more prone to error. And in this age of computer technology, Leape noted, the hand-written drug prescription should be a relic of the past.

Medical Mistakes: A Legal and Ethical Dilemma for Doctors and Patients

CNN

Experts say medical mistakes occur all the time, and doctors often fail to tell patients about them. A recent report estimates that up to 98,000 patients a year die from medical errors.

Deaths in England Due to Medical Errors up 500%

Audit Commission

About 1,200 people died in public hospitals in Britain last year because of mistakes in prescribing and administering medicine, according to a report published by a government watchdog group.

Outlined in a report by the Audit Commission, the errors included administering the wrong medicine – in one case, a breast cancer patient was given the sleeping drug Temazepam instead of the cancer drug Tamoxifen – to giving out the wrong dosage of the right drug, to unknowingly prescribing a drug that caused a fatal reaction.

The death toll was five times higher than that in 1990, according to the report. In addition, the thousands of patients who survive medicine-related mistakes each year invariably become sicker, requiring more treatment that create an extra expense for the National Health Service, the report said.

“The health service is probably spending $725 million a year making better people who experienced an adverse incident or errors, and that does not include the human cost to patients,” said Nick Mapstone, an author of the report.

“The number of drugs is increasing, the effectiveness – and therefore often the toxicity – of drugs is increasing, the number of people on multiple medications is increasing, and that increases the risk of interaction,” Dr. Pickersgill told the BBC.

A number of highly publicized cases of drug-related error in recent months has brought home the problem. In one case, a cancer patient was prescribed and administered a drug at 1,000 times the recommended dose, according to the report.

In another case, at Queen’s Medical Center in Nottingham, a teenager, who was a cancer patient in remission, fell into a coma and died after an anticancer drug was mistakenly injected into his spine.

“The recent events at Queen’s Medical Center illustrate how day-to- day pressures can lead to acknowledged best practice being ignored,” the report said.

Jackie Glatter, a spokeswoman for the Consumers’ Association, which lobbies for patients’ rights, said: “The report shows there is a strong need for detailed and clear patient information about treatments and medicines – not just in hospitals, but also when people are taking medicine at home.”

Deaths from Medication Errors on Increase

CNN

Deaths caused by medication mistakes more than doubled between 1983 and 1993, according to findings published in the British medical journal The Lancet on Saturday.

Deaths caused by medication mistakes more than doubled between 1983 and 1993. –Lancet

The study by a research team at the University of California at San Diego found that the sharpest increase in deaths was among outpatients. Deaths from accidental poisoning by drugs and other medicines climbed from 851 to nearly 2,100. Of those, outpatient deaths increased from under 200 to just under 1,500.

By 1993, outpatients were 6.5 times more likely to die from medication mistakes than inpatients. The report was based on death certificates, and it was unclear whether the deaths were caused by a medical professional’s error or patient error.

Drug Reactions Kill an Estimated 100,000 a Year

CNN

Adverse reactions to prescription and over-the-counter medicines kill more than 100,000 Americans and seriously injure an additional 2.1 million each year, researchers say.

Such reactions — which do not include prescribing errors or drug abuse — rank at least sixth among causes of death in the United States, behind heart disease, cancer, lung disease, strokes and accidents, according to a report published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association. The report was based on an analysis of existing studies.

“Serious adverse drug reactions are frequent … more so than generally recognized,” the researchers said.

Researchers at the University of Toronto examined 39 studies and estimated that an average of 106,000 deaths at U.S. hospitals in 1994 were due to bad reactions to drugs.

Medical Mistakes Triple All Gun Deaths

 For years, the American Medical Association, hospitals, medical magazines and various other health care groups have been beating the drums for more gun laws.

And some of us have pointed out their chutzpah, since — according to the official figures, the National Center for Health Statistics, more than twice as many are killed every year in medical accidents than in gun accidents.

Yesterday, an independent report from the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, said the number of deaths from medical mistakes every year may total 98,000 — about three times the number of deaths due to accidents, homicides and suicides with firearms.

The study says medical mistakes may cost the nation as much as $29 billion a year and may be the fifth highest cause of death — behind heart disease, cancer, stroke and lung obstructive lung diseases.

That 98,000 total is over twice as many as die in auto crashes each year.

Nursing Mistakes Kill, Injure Thousands

Tribune Staff Writer

 Overwhelmed and inadequately trained nurses kill and injure thousands of patients every year as hospitals sacrifice safety for an improved bottom line, a Tribune investigation has found.

Since 1995, at least 1,720 hospital patients have been accidentally killed and 9,584 others injured from the actions or inaction of registered nurses across the country, who have seen their daily routine radically altered by cuts in staff and other belt-tightening in U.S. hospitals.

Blunders By Doctors Kill 40,000 People a Year In Britain

Medical error is the third most frequent cause of death in Britain after cancer and heart disease, killing up to 40,000 people a year – about four times more than die from all other types of accident.

Provisional research figures on hospital mistakes show that a further 280,000 people suffer from non-fatal drug-prescribing errors, overdoses and infections.

The victims spend an average of six extra days recovering in hospital, at an annual cost of £730m in England alone.

Medical error is the third most frequent cause of death in Britain after cancer and heart disease, killing up to 40,000 people a year.  – University College London

A pilot study investigating the issue – the first attempt to measure the problem in Britain – shows that one in 14 patients suffers some kind of adverse event such as diagnostic error, operation mistake or drug reaction.

Charles Vincent, head of the clinical risk unit at University College London, who is leading the study, has pioneered efforts to examine the extent of clinical errors in Britain.

His team has so far concentrated on two London hospitals. The first data from one hospital showed that 32 out of 480 patients in four different departments were victims of hospital mistakes.

Vincent’s estimate of 40,000 deaths comes from studies showing that 3-4% of patients in the developed world suffer some kind of harm in hospital. For 70% of them the resulting disability is short-lived, but 14% subsequently die.

“It is a substantial problem,” Vincent said. “There is a need to find out the true extent of error, what kind of things are going wrong and the cost.” He believes the death rate may be even higher than indicated by the preliminary figures.

Britain’s death rate is comparable to that in America, where recommendations in a report produced by the Kellogg Foundation three weeks ago are likely to result in the creation of a new federal agency to protect patients from medical error.

The report drew on studies that examined the records of 30,195 patients and found a 3.7% error rate. Of those injured, 14% died. Researchers concluded that 70% of the errors – and 155,000 deaths – were avoidable.

Department of Health officials are now examining a proposal for a £1.2m three-year national study of 20 hospitals and 10,000 medical records to establish exactly how these avoidable deaths occur and how to prevent them.

Drugs and Medical Errors Killing 1 of Every 5 Australians

British Medical Journal November 11, 2000

 In a recent emailed response to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), Ron Law, Executive Director of the NNFA, in New Zealand and member of the New Zealand Ministry of Health Working Group advising on medical error, offered some enlightening information on deaths caused by drugs and medical errors.

He notes the prevalence of deaths from medical errors and also from properly researched and prescribed medications in Australia and New Zealand, which serves as a reminder to us that the US is not alone in having this problem.

He cites the following statistics and facts:

Official Australian government reports reveal that preventable medical error in hospitals is responsible for 11% of all deaths in Australia, which is about 1 of every 9 deaths.

If deaths from properly researched, properly registered, properly prescribed and properly used drugs were added along with preventable deaths due to private practice it comes to a staggering 19%, which is almost 1 of every 5 deaths.

New Zealand figures are very similar. According to Mr. Law:

More than 5 million people have been killed by Western medical practice in the past decade (Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, and NZ) and 20 million killed or permanently maimed. Sounds like a war zone, doesn’t it? – Ron Law, Executive Director of the NNFA and member of the New Zealand Ministry of Health Working Group

Put another way, the equivalent of New Zealand’s second largest city (Christchurch) has been killed by preventable medical error and deaths from properly researched, properly registered, properly prescribed and properly used drugs in Australasia in the past decade and its biggest city Auckland either killed or permanently maimed.

Put another way, more than 5 million people have been killed by Western medical practice in the past decade (Europe, USA, Canada, Australia, and NZ) and 20 million killed or permanently maimed. Sounds like a war zone, doesn’t it?

Put another way, the economic impact of deaths due to preventable medical error and deaths from properly researched, properly registered, properly prescribed and properly used drugs is approximately $1 trillion over the past decade.

He notes that only 0.3% of these deaths are properly coded and classified in official statistics as being attributed to these causes.

Modern medicine is not based on science. That is clearly proven by Robert Mendelsohn, M.D. His best-selling book Confessions of a Medical Heretic, tells you in detail why he believes 90% of all modern medicine should be done away with because it is destructive rather than helpful to the patient. In Dr. Mendelsohn’s distinguished medical career, he has served as the director of Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital and as an associate professor at the University of Illinois Medical School. He has been the chairman of the Medical Licensure Committee for the state of Illinois, and served as the National Medical Director of the Project Head Start program. Dr. Mendelsohn has given an entire lifetime of service to the field of medicine as a licensed medical doctor, and yet his conclusion is that they do more harm than good.

“It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease, than to know what sort of disease that person has.” Sir William Olsen

I say, “People! We are not dying, we are being destroyed!”

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