By Dr. Mercola
Hospitals are typically thought of as places where lives are saved, but statistics show they’re actually one of the most dangerous places you could possibly enter.1,2 Each day, more than 40,000 harmful and/or lethal medical errors occur, placing the patient in a worse situation than what they came in with.3
According to a 2013 study,4,5 preventable medical errors kill around 440,000 patients each year — more than 10 times the number of deaths caused by motor vehicle crashes. A 2016 study6 calculated the annual death toll to be around 250,000.
Either way, medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and have been since at least 2000, when the late Dr. Barbara Starfield published her shocking conclusion that doctors kill 225,000 patients each year. Her findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.7 Ironically, Starfield ended up a statistic herself.
She died suddenly in June 2011, a death her husband attributed to the adverse effects of the blood thinner Plavix taken in combination with aspirin.8 Her death certificate, however, makes no mention of this possibility. Indeed, 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.
While there are codes that capture iatrogenic causes of death, published mortality statistics do not take them into account. They only look at the condition that led the individual to seek medical treatment in the first place. As a result, even if a doctor lists medical errors in the death certificate, they are not included in the CDC’s mortality statistics, and without that data, medical mistakes remain a largely hidden…