Table Of Iatrogenic Deaths In The United States
(Deaths induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures)

ConditionDeathsCostAuthor
Adverse Drug Reactions 106,000$12 billionLazarou (1) Suh (49)
Medical error98,000 $2 billion IOM (6)
Bedsores115,000$55 billion Xakellis (7) Barczak (8)
Infection88,000$5 billionWeinstein (9) MMWR (10)
Malnutrition 108,800 Nurses Coalition (11)
Outpatients199,000$77 billionStarfield ( 12) Weingart (1, 12)
Unnecessary Procedures37,136 $122 billionHCUP(3, 13)
Surgery-Related 32,000 $9 billionAHRQ(8,5)
TOTAL783,936$282 billion

We could have an even higher death rate by using Dr. Lucien Leape's 1997 medical and drug error rate of 3 million. (14) Multiplied by the fatality rate of 14 percent (that Leape used in 1994 (16) we arrive at an annual death rate of 420,000 for drug errors and medical errors combined. If we put this number in place of Lazorou's 106,000 drug errors and the Institute of Medicine's (IOM) 98,000 medical errors, we could add another 216,000 deaths making a total of 999,936 deaths annually.

ADR/med error 420,000$200 billion Leape 1997(14)
TOTAL 999,936

Annual Unnecessary Medical Events

Unnecessary Events People Affected Iatrogenic Events
Hospitalization8.9 million(4) 1.78 million(16)
Procedures 7.5 million(3) 1.3 million(40)
TOTAL 16.4 million3.08 million

The enumerating of unnecessary medical events is very important in our analysis. Any medical procedure that is invasive and not necessary must be considered as part of the larger iatrogenic picture. Unfortunately, cause and effect go unmonitored. The figures on unnecessary events represent people ("patients") who are thrust into a dangerous health care system. They are helpless victims. Each one of these 16.4 million lives is being affected in a way that could have a fatal consequence. Simply entering a hospital could result in the following (out of 16. 4 million people):

All the statistics above represent a one-year time span. Imagine the numbers over a 10-year period. Working with the most conservative figures from our statistics we project the following 10-year death rates.

Medical Intervention

Projected Ten-Year Death Rates
Condition10-Year Deaths
Adverse Drug Reaction 1.06 million
Medical error 0.98 million
Bedsores 1.15 million
Nosocomial Infection 0.88 million
Malnutrition 1.09 million
Outpatients 1.99 million
Unnecessary Procedures 371,360
Surgery-related 320,000
TOTAL 7,841,360 (7.8 million)

Our projected statistic of 7.8 million iatrogenic deaths is more than all the casualties from wars that America has fought in its entire history.

Our projected figures for unnecessary medical events occurring over a 10-year period are also dramatic.

Unnecessary Intervention

Projected Ten-Year Statistics
Unnecessary Events 10-Year NumberIatrogenic Events
Hospitalization89 million17 million
Procedures 75 million13 million
TOTAL 164 million30 million

These projected figures show that a total of 164 million people, approximately 56 percent of the population of the United States, have been treated unnecessarily by the medical industry—in other words, nearly 50,000 people per day.

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