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Medical Errors and Doctor Errors- Some Perspective

I found some interesting stats that put recent discussions in this area into some context:

This information was published in JAMA which is the most widely circulated medical periodical in the world.

The author is Dr. Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and she desribes how the US health care system may contribute to poor health.

DEATHS PER YEAR- 225,000 estimated

* 12,000 -- unnecessary surgery
* 7,000 -- medication errors in hospitals
* 20,000 -- other errors in hospitals
* 80,000 -- infections in hospitals
* 106,000 -- non-error, negative effects of drugs

Another analysis concluded that between 4% and 18% of consecutive patients experience negative effects in outpatient settings,with:

* 116 million extra physician visits
* 77 million extra prescriptions
* 17 million emergency department visits
* 8 million hospitalizations
* 3 million long-term admissions
* 199,000 additional deaths
* $77 billion in extra costs

Of 13 countries in a recent comparison, the United States ranks an average of 12th (second from the bottom) for 16 available health indicators. More specifically, the ranking of the US on several indicators was:

* 13th (last) for low-birth-weight percentages
* 13th for neonatal mortality and infant mortality overall
* 11th for postneonatal mortality
* 13th for years of potential life lost (excluding external causes)
* 11th for life expectancy at 1 year for females, 12th for males
* 10th for life expectancy at 15 years for females, 12th for males
* 10th for life expectancy at 40 years for females, 9th for males
* 7th for life expectancy at 65 years for females, 7th for males
* 3rd for life expectancy at 80 years for females, 3rd for males
* 10th for age-adjusted mortality

There is a perception that the American public "behaves badly" by smoking, drinking, and perpetrating violence." However the data does not support this assertion.

* The proportion of females who smoke ranges from 14% in Japan to 41% in Denmark; in the United States, it is 24% (fifth best). For males, the range is from 26% in Sweden to 61% in Japan; it is 28% in the United States (third best).
* The US ranks fifth best for alcoholic beverage consumption.
* The US has relatively low consumption of animal fats (fifth lowest in men aged 55-64 years in 20 industrialized countries) and the third lowest mean cholesterol concentrations among men aged 50 to 70 years among 13 industrialized countries.


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Wed. Nov 14, 9:49am

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