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Old 12-13-2012, 07:43 AM
 
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Also, it sounds like the CDC is like the WORST EVER at staging a cover up, if the information ended up in jama.


So, cover up or not, do we agree that medical errors/adverse effects are a leading cause of death in the US?

 

 

I agree with this:

Can you offer an opinion about how the FDA can be so mortally wrong about so many drugs?

Yes, it cannot divest itself from vested interests. (Again, [there is] a large literature about this, mostly unrecognized by the people because the industry-supported media give it no attention.


 
 
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:54 AM
 
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Taxi- your research is 20 years old. Do you have anything more recent?
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:59 AM
 
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I provided more evidence for you.  Perhaps you missed it?  Or were you ignoring it?

 

Here it is again, with more detail, in case you were too lazy to look up the citations in the JAMA article:

 

http://www.delcotrial.org/media/pdf/000726_jama.pdf

 

"For example, US estimates of the combined effect of errors and adverse effects that occur because of iatrogenic damage  not associated with recognizable error include

  *   12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery

  *     7,000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals

  *   20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals

  *   80,000 deaths/year from nosocomial infections in hospitals

  * 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects from medications"

 

The sources for these figures cited by the author (Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH) include:

Leape, L  Unnecessary Surgery.  Annu Rev Public Health. 1992 13:363-383

Phillips D, Christenfeld N, Glynn L  Increase in US medication--error deaths between 1983 and 1993.  Lancet. 1998; 351:643-644

Lazarou J, Pomerantz B, Corey P Incidence of drug reactions in hospitalized patients.  JAMA. 1998; 279: 1200-1205

 

"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."

 

Okay, but:

- 186,000 of the deaths listed in your total do not result from medical error.  80,000 are from nosocomial infection, and 106,000 are from non-error adverse effects of medications.  That reduces the total of deaths caused by medical error in the years in question from 225,000 to 39,000.

- This data is 14-20 years old.  Has anything changed in the last decade or so? 

 

I know that, just in the last five years, the hospitals I've been to have introduced new policies aimed at reducing medication errors, patient mis-identification, and errors in which the wrong surgery is performed, or the wrong patient is brought into surgery.  Just last week, my chemo nurse was explaining that they've upped the drug verification procedures, and now the whole process has to be done in front of me, and not at the nurse's station.  Have the rates of death from error remained constant in the face of all this? 

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:18 AM
 
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Well, it's clear that it's being covered up. If JAMA is publishing a report that 44,000-98,000 deaths are caused by medical error, and the CDC doesn't even mention deaths by medical error....
Of course, it's not the first time the CDC has covered anything up.

 

I have a less cynical view of the whole thing, mainly because I work in litigation and I'm wondering if the CDC bases its numbers on proven claims (i.e. claims which either have been litigated and judgment entered or claims which have resulted in an insurance award) or just claims in general which have either been made to insurers or claimed in a court of law but have not been resolved or have been disposed of.  My guess is that it requires some kind of verified reporting in order to make the CDC list (i.e. either judgments or reporting by insurers).  A New England Journal of Medicine article discusses claims from a litigation standpoint:

 

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa054479#t=articleTop

 

My question would then be:  is the total number of estimated deaths based on initial claims reported either by hospitals or insurers or it is the total number of deaths that have been verified as attributable to medical error?  I think it is a relevant question to ask given the amount of litigation in the U.S and a typical litigation can last up to five years.  Where are the journals getting their estimated numbers - from claims made or when malpractice is either proven or results in an insurance settlement?


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Old 12-13-2012, 09:14 AM
 
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I think it's not shocking news that doctors are human beings who make mistakes.  The bottom line for me is that we're all better off with evidence-based science than not, and the thing to strive for is fewer mistakes and more progress with treatments that help people.  Saying that doctors make mistakes so the medical profession is not worthwhile is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, don't you think?

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:31 AM
 
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I think it's not shocking news that doctors are human beings who make mistakes.  The bottom line for me is that we're all better off with evidence-based science than not, and the thing to strive for is fewer mistakes and more progress with treatments that help people.  Saying that doctors make mistakes so the medical profession is not worthwhile is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, don't you think?

Yes I do.


Mother of two living in UK. Daughter (2007) born in USA, son (2010) born here. I'm pro natural birth, midwife care, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby wearing and a keen advocate of cloth diapering. I'm a full time working research scientist (physical sciences) and I'm pro-vaccine.

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Old 12-13-2012, 10:05 AM
 
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We've got some personal comments calling folks rude, lazy and etc. Please edit. Thanks, ICM 


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Old 12-13-2012, 10:10 AM
 
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I provided more evidence for you.  Perhaps you missed it?  Or were you ignoring it?

 

Here it is again, with more detail, in case you were too lazy to look up the citations in the JAMA article:

 

http://www.delcotrial.org/media/pdf/000726_jama.pdf

 

"For example, US estimates of the combined effect of errors and adverse effects that occur because of iatrogenic damage  not associated with recognizable error include

  *   12,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery

  *     7,000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals

  *   20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals

  *   80,000 deaths/year from nosocomial infections in hospitals

  * 106,000 deaths/year from non-error, adverse effects from medications"

 

The sources for these figures cited by the author (Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH) include:

Leape, L  Unnecessary Surgery.  Annu Rev Public Health. 1992 13:363-383

Phillips D, Christenfeld N, Glynn L  Increase in US medication--error deaths between 1983 and 1993.  Lancet. 1998; 351:643-644

Lazarou J, Pomerantz B, Corey P Incidence of drug reactions in hospitalized patients.  JAMA. 1998; 279: 1200-1205

 

"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."

No I wasn't ignoring it.  I think part of the problem may be defining "Medical error".  From the list of things on this JAMA article only 39,000 are medical error to me which is no where near the third leading cause of death.  the 80,000 in nosomical infections are not necessarily medical error.  THey are bad, we need to do something about it but it isn't what I would call medical error, as in someone did this and it resulted in a death.  When you have large institutions of people who are ill and potentially infectious diseases spread.  That is why I wanted out of the hospital as soon as possible after delivery, and why I looked for a hospital birth center that is separated from the main hospital.

and 106,000 from non-error, adverse effects from medicaton is also not medical error.  That includes everything from someone having an allergic reaction to medication, to someone over-dosing while abusing their medications, to someone committing suicide, to someone who is doctor shopping and the doctors have no idea that they have another person prescribing meds!  And I think that a very very small percentage of them have anything to do with vaccinations.  Of these 106,000 I am guessing most are related to opiates and Benzos.

 

And yes 39,000 deaths from medical error is absolutely 39,000 too many and I am all for trying to prevent every single one of them.  But it still doesn't make medical error a third leading cause of death.

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Old 12-13-2012, 10:49 AM
 
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I think it's not shocking news that doctors are human beings who make mistakes.  The bottom line for me is that we're all better off with evidence-based science than not, and the thing to strive for is fewer mistakes and more progress with treatments that help people.  Saying that doctors make mistakes so the medical profession is not worthwhile is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, don't you think?

You can believe this and be non-vax.  Just sayin'


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Old 12-13-2012, 11:43 AM
 
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I need more evidence than mercola and a man quoted iin an article saying that medical error iis PROBABLY the third leading cause of death before I will believe the CDC has a conspircy to cover up it beng the third leading cause of death.
The thing is, they don't need the hyperbole andit actually weakens their argument. Medical errors are a problem One death for error is too many. It is great to focus on ways to improve our medical system. But when we let rhetoric go over the top and indicate it is the third leading casue of death, many people who are not invested in the debate tune out, because it is clear that that isn't true, so why should I listen to the rest of what the article is saying.

I'm not sure if this was directed at me but...I agree with you about Mercola. I normally skim his articles for the primary sources and check those out...as opposed to reading his hyperbolic spin.

Makary, however, is more than "a man quoted in an article." He *wrote* the WSJ article and is a prominent Johns Hopkins surgeon who spent extensive time compiling government data. He's not a fringy alterna-health type but a whistle-blower within his own profession. I'm happy (and curious) to comb through that data when I'm no longer NAK and busy mommy-ing, but let's at least keep an open mind either way.

If someone would like to beat me to the punch, please go for it. Namely, can anybody, using primary-source data, find exactly where medical error ranks as a cause of death in the US?

FWIW, Makary found that medical error is the 5th or 6th leading cause of death.

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Old 12-13-2012, 11:53 AM
 
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I've been quite entertained reading through this thread. I often come to the vax threads for some intellectual stimulation, and it was delivered!

 

The original question, if I have it right, relates to whether or not a government would put effort into covering up ill-effects of vaccines. (?)

 

If I play a hypothetical game, I can imagine that if there were substantial information (such as, say, the SB40 link) known about a product, the first step would be to clean up the product (but then that would be on the shoulders of a [probably now-defunct] vax manufacturer). Say there is a group of folks at high levels in the government who have knowledge that yes, in fact, these batches of toxins are really hurting people. If they were at all ethically minded, they would want to pull them immediately. But what would that do to the general population? What would the headline be? US STOPS ALL VACCINES, ISSUES APOLOGY TO THE UN. We'd be looking at a world war over this. Every person who had ever received a vaccine would be steaming mad. They'd be revolting against the governments, communities, medical systems, who knows what. There would be a run on the already-hard-to-find NDs. The US ships vaccines all over the world. Could we actually afford reparations for what would surely be called a holocaust? Or would it be the salvation of human kind? Your thoughts?

 

In addition, an awful lot of folks are vaccine happy! Don't worry! There will be a shot for that soon! I hear people talking excitedly about cancer-prevention shots often. There is a demand, is what I mean. And at least here in the US, if people want it, we'll make it, and they will buy it (even if it does very bad things that everyone knows about)...these things make a whole lot of people feel safe.

 

That said, my hunch is that in a couple of decades, there will be a need for assisted living situations for an awful lot of adults. Young adults. And I also predict that we'll see the cumulative effects of a lifetime of annual flu shots creeping up here in a couple of decades as well. 

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Old 12-13-2012, 11:57 AM
 
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FWIW, this article was a good read on iatrogenic death rates:

 

http://www.deathreference.com/Ho-Ka/Iatrogenic-Illness.html#b

 

It claims iatrogenic causes are the 8th leading cause of death:

 

"The Institute of Medicine utilized the findings of two large studies  <snip>  ..the Institute to conclude that a minimum of 44,000 Americans die annually due to error during hospitalization, making it the eighth leading cause of death in the United States. Even so, the report says that these numbers "offer only a very modest estimate of the magnitude of the problem since hospital patients represent only a small proportion of the total population at risk" (Institute of Medicine 2000, p. 2)"
.
 


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Old 12-13-2012, 12:13 PM
 
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FWIW, this article was a good read on iatrogenic death rates:

 

http://www.deathreference.com/Ho-Ka/Iatrogenic-Illness.html#b

 

It claims 1/8 - here is a quote:

 

Are you claiming that one out of every eight people dies as a result of a medical error?  I do not believe that and did not see that statistic in the article.  I would like to see verification of the claim that one out of every eight people dies as a result of a medical error.


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Old 12-13-2012, 12:23 PM
 
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nm

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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Old 12-13-2012, 12:31 PM
 
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Could you please quote for me where it claims that?  I have read the entire article several times and did not see anything that suggests that one out of every eight people dies as a result of medical error.  The closest I found was:

 

 

Quote:
The second study found that 3.7 percent of people hospitalized in New York experienced errors and 13.6 percent of those people died as result.

 

but that would indicate that .05% of people hospitalized in New York died as a result of medical error, not 12.5%.


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Old 12-13-2012, 12:36 PM
 
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nm


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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Old 12-13-2012, 12:36 PM
 
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Are you claiming that one out of every eight people dies as a result of a medical error?  I do not believe that and did not see that statistic in the article.  I would like to see verification of the claim that one out of every eight people dies as a result of a medical error.

The claim in the article "The second study found that 3.7 percent of people hospitalized in New York experienced errors and 13.6 percent of those people died as result. Read more: http://www.deathreference.com/Ho-Ka/Iatrogenic-Illness.html#b#ixzz2ExiuZm2u"

means that 1 in 8 (or 13.6%) people who have experienced an error in hospital have died...not that one in 8 people from the general population dies from medical error. 

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Old 12-13-2012, 12:48 PM
 
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Sorry chickabiddy!  I wrote too fast (and then defended myself without rereading what I wrote)

 

I meant 8th leading cause of death, not 1/8.  I have edited.


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Old 12-13-2012, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No I wasn't ignoring it.  I think part of the problem may be defining "Medical error".  From the list of things on this JAMA article only 39,000 are medical error to me which is no where near the third leading cause of death.  the 80,000 in nosomical infections are not necessarily medical error. 

Nope.  

 

Nosocomial infections are a medical error. If you come into the hospital without an infection, and acquire one in hospital that kills you, that is legally a medical error, because those kinds of infections are considered to be preventable.

 

Non-error, adverse effect from a medication also legally a medical error.  If the physician prescribed a drug that the patient was allergic to, or had a severe adverse effect from it that wasn't caught in time, and died from it, that is legally considered a medical error.  The patient would not have died had that medication not been prescribed.

 

Of course, if you want to argue with the author, or with JAMA, who published the article, feel free.  

 

For the rest of us, these looks like interesting reading: 

http://www.amazon.com/Epidemic-Medical-Errors-Hospital-Acquired-Infections/dp/1420089293

 

 

Legal Issues in Patient Safety: The Example of Nosocomial Infection

by TM Bailey, 2005

 

 “Preventable infections are out of control in Canadian hospitals,” declared an April 2005 headline in the British Medical Journal. Hospitals face less stringent infection-control monitoring than do restaurants, warned a CBC news investigation. "

 

"In May 2005, Health Grades Inc., a U.S. company that evaluates safety and quality concerns in health facilities, reported that rates of hospital-acquired infections in the United States rose by 20% between 2000 and 2003, contributing to around 9,500 deaths. "

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/health/study-of-medicare-patients-finds-most-hospital-errors-unreported.html?_r=0

 

Report Finds Most Errors at Hospitals Go Unreported

 

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Old 12-13-2012, 01:52 PM
 
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Nope.  

Nosocomial infections are a medical error. If you come into the hospital without an infection, and acquire one in hospital that kills you, that is legally a medical error, because those kinds of infections are considered to be preventable.

Non-error, adverse effect from a medication also legally a medical error.  If the physician prescribed a drug that the patient was allergic to, or had a severe adverse effect from it that wasn't caught in time, and died from it, that is legally considered a medical error.  The patient would not have died had that medication not been prescribed.

Of course, if you want to argue with the author, or with JAMA, who published the article, feel free.  

For the rest of us, these looks like interesting reading: 
http://www.amazon.com/Epidemic-Medical-Errors-Hospital-Acquired-Infections/dp/1420089293


Legal Issues in Patient Safety: The Example of Nosocomial Infection






by TM Bailey, 2005

 



 “Preventable infections are out of control in Canadian hospitals,” declared an April 2005 headline in the British Medical Journal. Hospitals face less stringent infection-control monitoring than do restaurants, warned a CBC news investigation. "



 



"In May 2005, Health Grades Inc., a U.S. company that evaluates safety and quality concerns in health facilities, reported that rates of hospital-acquired infections in the United States rose by 20% between 2000 and 2003, contributing to around 9,500 deaths. "






http://hygreen.com/wordpress/?p=99

Hospital Errors Often Unreported

Must be nice to live in a world where everything is so black and white. Things are either perfect or someone is at fault in your world.

So, nosocomial infections are always due to medical error, huh?

Bullshit. And I say that with many years of experience behind me. You're telling me that every case of pneumonia in a ventilated patient is caused by error. Tell me, since you seem to know it all, how would you go about preventing every case of ventilator aquired pneumonia. Please be specific.
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Old 12-13-2012, 02:37 PM
 
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Of course, if you want to argue with the author, or with JAMA, who published the article, feel free.  

 

The author's not here.  Neither is JAMA.  You are. 

 

But I'll point out, you disagree with JAMA all the time.  You deeply, fundamentally and repeatedly have called many MANY of the positions of the American Medical Association into question.  You appear to basically agree with the proposition that publication in a medical journal (any medical journal) does not automatically make one's claims worthy of general adoption.  Except here, when you've found an article that you think supports your argument, so all of a sudden, you advise us to take on JAMA as if you believe this journal should be regarded with some kind of respect.  Which we all know you don't.

 

Your list of recommended reading includes an advertisement for a hygiene recording and reminder system.  Why is this ad more worthy then other ads? 

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Old 12-13-2012, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Your list of recommended reading includes an advertisement for a hygiene recording and reminder system.  Why is this ad more worthy then other ads? 

Thank you so much for calling that to my attention!  I must have copied the wrong tab.  I fixed it.

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Old 12-13-2012, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The author's not here.  Neither is JAMA.  You are. 

 

But I'll point out, you disagree with JAMA all the time.

 

 


Oh.  I see.  It's easier to argue with me because I'm here, rather than argue with the author of the article you disagree with.  In spite of the fact that I didn't write the article.

 

And yes, I do often disagree with the AMA!  :)  But you vaccine-depfenders and pharm-defenders hold up JAMA articles all the time as "Scientific And Therefore Unassailable."

 

So when I post a "Scientific And Therefore Unassailable" JAMA article that doesn't support YOUR position, you think it's a better argument to try to tear ME down, rather than actually argue against the article itself? 

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Old 12-13-2012, 05:30 PM
 
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I've already stated two substantive objections to the JAMA article. You haven't engaged with those objections.

The big claim I make for JAMA is that it is an actual, reputable, peer reviewed scientific journal. It wins in a source-off vs. Mercola, and sales pitches. I still read it critically. It's not magically guaranteed to be completely correct. There's nothing keeping it from neing misinterpreted, or from going out of date.

If noticing that you may have misinterpreted something that's gone out of date is "tearing you down", yes, I'm doing that.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

I've already stated two substantive objections to the JAMA article. You haven't engaged with those objections.

Your objections to the JAMA article were that you didn't agree with the author on what constitutes a "medical error," and that it was old.

 

I can't do anything about your personal interpretation of "medical error," and I can't do anything about the year that the article was published.  I did, however, add a 2012 NYTimes article that said that most errors at hospitals go unreported.  Here is another NY TImes article, also from 2012, that may be relevant: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/opinion/more-treatment-more-mistakes.html

 

Here is a 2010 report attributing an increase in medical errors to complexity of care and breakdown of doctor/patient relationship:

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/182/13/E645.full

"Findley marshaled a raft of statistics which indicated that medical miscues are becoming more frequent, including ones indicating that 23% of patients had a postdischarge adverse event, that nearly 20% of one million heart failure patients admitted to United States hospitals were readmitted within a month, and that 41% of inpatients are discharged with test results pending."

 

Here is a s 2011 article on medical negligence that quotes the IOM as saying that preventable medical errors are the 6th leading cause of deaths--as many as 98,000 a year--and that the CDC does not list it as a category: ttp://www.justice.org/resources/Medical_Negligence_Primer.pdf

 

So why doesn't the CDC list it as a category?

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

when you've found an article that you think supports your argument, so all of a sudden, you advise us to take on JAMA as if you believe this journal should be regarded with some kind of respect.

 

Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post
 I still read it critically. It's not magically guaranteed to be completely correct.

When is JAMA correct and when isn't it? Don't we all pick articles to support our arguments? Who interprets it correctly, and who doesn't?

 

I understand why Taximom would use a JAMA article, since nobody likes "alternative" sources. We try to use "mainstream acceptable" articles whenever we can.


 
 
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:27 PM
 
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The number of deaths from medical error quoted in the NYT article is from 1998.  The Medical Negligence Primer (written by a bunch of lawyers, did you notice?) seems to be quoting that same number.  I think, before you throw this number around, you need to grapple with the question of whether anything has changed substantially in the last 14 years.

 

The "CMAJ report" you cite is basically a report of someone's op-ed speech.  The NYT article in an op-ed.  These things are not primary sources.  It's not possible, looking at them, to grapple with the assumptions that went into the statistics.  But the statistic you pull to quote would be really nice to unpack:

 

Quote:

"Findley marshaled a raft of statistics which indicated that medical miscues are becoming more frequent, including ones indicating that 23% of patients had a postdischarge adverse event, that nearly 20% of one million heart failure patients admitted to United States hospitals were readmitted within a month, and that 41% of inpatients are discharged with test results pending."

 

One in five people whose hearts stop working on them find themselves back in hospital less then a month after the initial heart failure?  Might there be some kind of factor at play there besides medical error?  Is it possible that the 41% of patients who are discharged with test results pending are discharged because insurance won't pay for people to lie around in hospital waiting for test results, and not because their doctors are careless?  That 23% with postdischarge adverse events - I want a definition of "adverse event", a time frame for evaluation, and to know something about the outcomes.  I've *had* postdischarge adverse events, but they weren't caused by medical errors - how many of the events referred to here were related to treatment, and how many were preventable?

 

WHy doesn't the CDC list medical error as a category?  Have you checked out what the CDC has to say about categories?  http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_07.pdf

 

The quick recap is (parenthetical statements are my commentary):  The CDC gets its cause of death info from death certificates.  (It may not be immediately obvious from a death certificate that a particular death is the result of medical error, and not of something else - MRSA could be nosocomial, caused by a doctor's lapse in hygiene, or it could be community-acquired.  Surgical complications might be the result of a mistake made in surgery, or might not.  A drug overdose might be the result of a mistake in prescribing, or of attempted suicide.)  The CDC admits that their categories for reporting don't necessarily highlight the items of most importance to public health.  For example, car accidents cause lots of deaths, but the CDC does not show them as a separate category.  They're subsumed under "Accidents (unintentional injuries)".

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Old 12-13-2012, 08:48 PM
 
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I agree that medical errors are an important problem and need to be addressed in all possible ways. I will say that in the process of receiving a pretty recent education in a medical field, we talked about medical errors a LOT. What common errors happen and why, what can be done on an individual and especially an institutional level to reduce the incidence of errors. For instance, one of the articles linked in this thread featured, among other patients, a patient who died after her feeding solution was put into her chest tube instead of her stomach tube. Companies are now manufacturing different tubings with different types of connectors, so that the tubing could not be connected in this instance if a human did make an error and choose the wrong tube. In pharmacy we get errors like what happened to Dennis Quaid's kids when they got the wrong concentration of heparin--institutions try to avoid this by, for instance, only stocking certain concentrations in certain places in the hospital (not having the higher concentration in the NICU at all), ordering different concentrations from different companies so the bottles look different, requiring two nurses to cross-check doses, etc. Hospitals do have protocols for avoiding nosocomial infections, cross-contamination, wrong drug/wrong patient errors, etc. etc. etc. Attention is being paid to these problems, but they require focused attention to each individual problem. They can't be fixed just by calling people's attention to them. Naming the problem doesn't make it go away. (Unfortunately.) 

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Old 12-13-2012, 09:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by prosciencemum View Post

Oh that was quick. From the CDC (2009 stats).
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm
Heart disease: 599,413
Cancer: 567,628
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021
Alzheimer's disease: 79,003
Diabetes: 68,705
Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,909
So are those asserting this statistic suggesting more than 137,353 deaths were caused in 2009 directly by medical malpractice and the CDC is just covering that up?

It's a little more complex than that, I'm afraid. "Medical error" is not a disease or condition like diabetes or cancer. It is an iatrogenic action that could result in a multitude of diseases and conditions that would be small in number when listed individually but makes for a pretty hefty number in the aggregate. So let's say that the CDC has a long list of 100 causes of death, including Infection X and Accident Y.. Some of Infection X is caused by medical error, some of Accident Y, etc.

The CDC isn't covering up medical error; it's simply something that CDC officials weren't investigating. It took another US government agency, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to explore that question.

In 2000, IOM produced a watershed report entitled "To Err Is Human," which details the widespread phenomenon of medical error. (Sorry, you'll have to google it, but it's readily available online). The report estimates that 44,000 to 98,000 of annual deaths can be attributed to medical error. A congressional committee investigated the matter and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) began an aggressive campaign to reduce instances of medical error.

Those numbers have hopefully gone down in the past decade as awareness of this issue--and oversight of the problem-- increases. I looked forward to reading Marty Makary's new book, Unaccountable, to see where he's getting his information.

Nonetheless, the IOM report focuses solely on errors in hospitals--not clinics, pharmacies, outpatient surgery centers, etc. I hate to think how much larger those numbers would be if we factored in all of those other vulnerable patients!

Moreover, while I have no idea where Mercola is getting his third-leading-cause figure, if you plug the now-out-of-date numbers from the 2000 report into your chart above, medical error in hospitals would rank between 6th-9th place for cause of death in the US...hardly a ringing endorsement warranting patient trust. Those numbers will have to improve dramatically for me to regain any sense of confidence in the health care delivery system.

So if we return to the question of why healthcare consumers don't trust at face value what their doctors tell them--regarding vaccines or anything else--add this factor to the long list of reasons. Yes, I'm one of those people who states that doctors aren't gods. But a lower rate of medical error is hardly a godlike expectation.

In God we trust; all others must show data. selectivevax.gifsurf.gifteapot2.GIFintactivist.gif
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Old 12-18-2012, 09:18 PM
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I've removed a post in this thread due to lack of response to the moderator's edit request. 

 

While some comments may be generally rude but acceptable for a debate, being personally pointed with rude personal remarks just to take stabs at each other are not. Keep the discussion on track. If it evolves into a personal tit for tat of rude exchanges it may lead to your removal from discussions.


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