Medical care is 3rd leading cause of death in U.S.

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  1. paresh’s avatar

    nice analysis.

  2. Chris’s avatar

    Thanks for your comment Paresh.

  3. Joe Touchole’s avatar

    Great article

    Today would have been my Dad’s 87 birthday, he passed 9/1/07. Many would say well that’s a nice long live and normally I would agree. However he was sent to his eternal reward as a result of the efforts of the drug companies that control the medical profession and the government turns a blind eye to . As long as the checks from the drug companies keep clearing in DC, this behavior will be allowed to continue. Tell me how this is allowed to happen ,

  4. Chris’s avatar

    Hi Joe,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m very sorry to hear of your loss.

    Our current situation is the entirely predictable result of for-profit health care, in my opinion. As publicly traded corporations, HMOs and pharmaceutical companies are required by law to maximize profit for shareholders.

    Any business owner can tell you that reducing costs and increasing sales is the way to maximize profits. In the healthcare industry, reducing costs means providing less service or providing cheaper services or both. Increasing sales means selling more drugs and technology-based elective procedures that generate income. It’s all rather simple when we look at it this way.

    I’m not confident that any of this will change significantly as long as we have a for-profit system.

  5. James’s avatar

    “106,000 deaths a year from nonerror, adverse effects of medications”

    Almost half of your affected patients. Can you go into a little more detail about this one?

    Why do these numbers seem skewed to me?

    It’s a fact that almost 90% of all statistics can be made to say anything at least 50% of the time. I think that’s what were seeing here.

  6. Chris’s avatar


    Thanks for your comment and welcome to the blog.

    I’m not exactly sure what you’re asking, but the “106,000 deaths a year from nonerror, adverse effects of medications” means that of the 225,000 people who die each year as a result of iatrogenic causes (causes related to medical care, that is), 106,000 of those deaths are due to side effects from medication that was “properly prescribed” (i.e. indicated for the particular illness or disease).

    This is different from the 7,000 deaths a year caused by medication errors (drugs improperly prescribed or contraindicated for the particular patient/condition).

    The fact that more than more than 100,000 people are dying each year from medications that are “properly prescribed” makes me think it’s time to reconsider the criteria for their prescription.

    Have you had a chance to read the full text of the study? I really recommend you do that before passing judgment on the validity of the statistics.

    What you say is certainly true about statistical measures in general; there is always the potential for bias and personal agendas distorting the numbers. But that does not mean that well-designed studies cannot produce relatively accurate statistics that are meaningful and relevant.

    As mentioned in the article, the World Health Organization did a separate analysis that arrived at many similar conclusions. If you have specific criticisms of the data analysis or methodology of the study, I’d like to hear them. To me the numbers appear to be very sound, especially because similar results have been obtained by other studies by author authors and organizations.

    I don’t see any reason to believe these statistics are skewed as you suggest. What is your reason?

  7. monik amelia’s avatar

    hi, i’m trying to make a health power point presentation and been looking a reference that says that medical care is the 3rd leading cause. is it mentioned anywhere in journals, or news? do you mind to share the reference with me?

  8. Chris’s avatar


    Here’s the abstract. Unfortunately, you may need an account with JAMA to read the entire paper. You can probably access it at a medical library at a local university as well.


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