Prescriptions Drugs Remain the Leading Cause of Death from Medical Error

The term “quackery” originated with the use of quicksilver (mercury) to treat patients. Along with blood letting, this was a common practice at one time. Both mercury and blood letting reduced the symptoms that the patient experienced by making the immune system so weak it could not respond. George Washington alleged died of this after being treated for catching a cold.

The dentists who continue to use mercury are the modern day “quacks” but what about physicians who use drugs that kill the patient rather than saving them.

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the largest component of medical error is drugs administered to patients in hospitals. Most people are not aware of this or of the autopsy research that shows about 1/3 of patients that die in a hospital in the U.S. and the U.K. die of a cause that is not diagnosed and they are not being treated for.

Perhaps we could excuse the physicians who have a tough job if they were trying to do better. However, there has been no noticeable improvement in the medical error problem since I participated in the government investigation into this issue 13 years ago.

Jon Rappaport comments on his recent interview with Barbara Starfield who published epidemiological data on this problem in JAMA many years ago. Starfield’s work was reviewed over a decade ago on this blog.


OCTOBER 31, 2010.  In the summer of the year 2000, it was a bolt out of the blue.  The revelation.  I come back to it for various reasons—this time because I’ve been reading doctors’ attacks on the nutritional industry:  “fraudulent claims, quackery, unproven science, theft.”
You’ve heard all the accusations.
It’s interesting that these doctors don’t bother to examine their own profession.  If they did, they would fall through the deep hole, and they might never find their way back to the top.
On July 26, 2000, Dr. Barbara Starfield published her landmark study, “Is US Health Really the Best in the World?” in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  At the time, Starfield was working at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.  She still is.
She is, as you can see, an insider.  You don’t have your papers published in JAMA if you’re not. 
Among her findings?  The annual figure for deaths caused by medical drugs in the US is 106,000.
All those drugs were, according to her report, correctly prescribed and, of course, approved by the FDA.  No drug makes its way into the American market unless the FDA certifies it as safe and effective.  Both.
In a long, exclusive interview I conducted with Dr. Starfield earlier this year, she made it clear that, since the 2000 publication date, no federal agency had contacted her to consult on taking remedial actions, in the face of all these deaths.
It was also clear that the federal government had undertaken no massive campaign to cut down on the deaths caused by medical drugs.
And, of course, no mainstream news outlet has picked up the gauntlet and hammered on this ongoing mind-boggling tragedy. 
106,000 deaths a year.  That means, since 2000, roughly a million Americans have died as a result of ingesting medicines.  A million.
So when I see these little doctors attacking the viability and correctness and safety of vitamins and minerals, I wonder what foul planet they are living on.  I wonder what they think they’re doing.
You should try to remember this the next time a doctor or some self-styled expert tells you the nutritional approach to improving health is dangerous.
You should try to remember the enormity of the cover-up involved here—and also note that Dr. Starfield’s study, since its publication ten years ago, has gone virtually unchallenged. More …

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