Medical Error stats

Joe's New Gmail jgraedon at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jul 6 15:58:42 UTC 2016


David,

We have been fascinated with the push back from the medical community. Shooting the messenger is a time-honored tradition. Admitting that there is a patient safety epidemic is a very hard thing to do. 

There is another way to assess health care harm. If one considers data that has been collected from other sources this is what you discover:

DEATHS ANNUALLY:

Healthcare-associated infections: 75,000 (CDC data)

Adverse drug reactions:
>100,000 (FDA) 

Misdiagnosis:
40,000 to 80,000 (Pronovost, et al)

C diff infections in nursing homes:
16,599 (CDC)

Excessive radiation CT scans:
29,500 (JAMA Int. Med.)

Unnecessary surgery:
12,000 (JAMA)

DVT/PE:
119,000 (Cleveland Clinic) mostly occur in healthcare settings

Surgical and post-op complications:
32,591 (JAMA)

There is some overlap, but when you consider most of these stats do not include the outpatient setting I would argue that Makary's estimate is low! Deaths from prescribed medications in the outpatient setting have been estimated to be as high as 200,000 but no one really tracks them. 

Bottom line, how do we begin to fix a problem that remains out of sight (not on the CDC mortality stats) and out of mind?

Joe Graedon



> On Jul 6, 2016, at 10:51 AM, David Katz <d.katz at MAIL.UTORONTO.CA> wrote:
> 
> Martine,
>  
> I disagree with your point. Nobody on this forum disagrees about the importance of diagnostic errors, however, this paper was all about the numbers. If an article about statistics  and numbers is published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, like BMJ, then the numbers are extremely important.
> I don’t disagree the issue is important regardless of the stats. As a physician I am mortified that one mistake could lead to a single patient death but the purpose of this paper was to comment on the stats and therefore they must be held to the rigorous expectations of a well-respected scientific journal.
>  
> David
>  
>  
> From: martineehrenclou <mge at martineehrenclou.com>
> Date: Wednesday, July 6, 2016 at 12:10 AM
> To: Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine <IMPROVEDX at LIST.IMPROVEDIAGNOSIS.ORG>, David Katz <d.katz at mail.utoronto.ca>
> Subject: Re: Medical Error stats
>  
> Worth the read but worth discarding as well.  Makery doesn't have to publish his own study to justify the number of medical errors that end in death.  It's certainly credible to cite other studies.  
> I don't doubt that certain clinicians need to doubt medical error as the third leading cause of death.  Even if it is the fifth, it's still too much.  There is no way to eradicate the damaging stats given workplace stress, short staffing, the unreliability of diagnosis, medication errors, and more.  
> All you have do is become a hospitalized patient yourself to realize the number of medical errors that occur every day.  Try becoming a caregiver for a patient with a serious illness or chronic medical condition, and you'll wake up to the number of diagnostic errors, medication errors, patient safety incidents in hospitals and ambulatory settings.  Until you've been there it's too easy to dismiss.  
>  
> Martine Ehrenclou, M.A
> Healthcare consultant
> Freelance journalist
> Award-winning author 
> 310-502-5244
> Martineehrenclou.com
>  
> 
> On Jul 5, 2016, at 8:06 PM, David Katz <d.katz at MAIL.UTORONTO.CA> wrote:
> 
> I am not sure if this has been circulated to the group yet but it is a rebuttal to the BMJ Paper that claims medical error is the 3rd leading cause of death. 
> Definitely worth a read. 
> http://www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2139/rr-54
>  
> David Katz
>  
> 
> 
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Moderator: David Meyers, Board Member, Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine


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