The structures of medical propaganda are cracking.
The Washington Post (“Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States,” May 3) reports on a new Johns Hopkins study. I’ll give you the Post’s explosive quotes and then analyze them.
“…a new study by patient safety researchers provides some context…Their analysis, published in the BMJ on Tuesday [‘Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US,’ 03 May 2016], shows that ‘medical errors’ in hospitals and other health care facilities are incredibly common and may now be the third leading cause of death in the United States — claiming 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s.”
“Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the research, said in an interview that the category includes everything from bad doctors to more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.”
“’It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care,’” Makary said.
“His calculation of 251,000 deaths [per year] equates to nearly 700 deaths a day — about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States.”
“Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t require reporting of [medical] errors in the data it collects about deaths through billing codes, making it hard to see what’s going on at the national level.”
“Frederick van Pelt, a doctor who works for The Chartis Group, a health care consultancy, said another element of harm that is often overlooked is the number of severe patient injuries resulting from medical error.”
“’Some estimates would put this number at 40 times the death rate,’ van Pelt said.”
There you have it. Now let’s dig in.