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Physician Perspective — 2 Comments

  1. To reinforce the point — other sources confirm even higher estimates. If the goal is to reduce risk and make society safer, here are two benchmarks:
    1) Lethal medical mistakes — an estimated 210,000 to 440,000 persons unexpectedly die every year in U.S. hospitals. In other words, these folks go into hospitals for routine procedures, not life-saving surgery, but they do not get out alive.
    Reference link: Journal of Patient Safety — http://patientsafetyamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/A_New_Evidence_based_Estimate_of_Patient_Harms.2.pdf

    2) Prescription Drug Painkillers — DEA reports, “In 2013, more than 46,000 people in the US died from drug overdose & more than half of those were caused by prescription drug painkillers and heroin.” Lest someone think the bulk of those deaths are from heroin, the DEA states that for more than a decade (since 2002), prescription drug deaths outpace cocaine & heroin deaths combined.
    Reference link: http://www.dea.gov/divisions/hq/2015/hq110415.shtml

    If society wants to target significant public health risks, the combined estimate of deaths due to lethal medical mistakes and overdosing on prescription drugs is as high as one-half million per year — 16 times greater than the combined deaths due to homicide and suicide by firearms (30,000 in round numbers).

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