That’s right…research is showing that doctors in America kill roughly 225,000 people every year. This makes doctors the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. In the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health provides some startling numbers:
12,000 people are killed through unnecessary surgery
7,000 are killed as a result of hospital medication errors
20,000 are killed as a result of other hospital errors
80,000 are killed by hospital-acquired infections
106,000 are killed by drugs prescribed to them
Significantly, these numbers do not include individuals who suffer non-lethal injuries or other negative effects of medical treatment.
As Americans, we also pay the highest costs in the world for our health care. At these prices, shouldn’t we expect the world’s best health care? But we are not getting it.
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 US 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
The numbers are appalling, and need to be addressed immediately. If an American jumbo jet crashed every single day, killing every passenger on board day after day, year after year, the country would be up in arms. This issue should be no different. Medical professionals who injure or kill patients through negligence need to be held responsible for the harms they cause.