More Than 700,000 People Die Annually From Medical Procedures

Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD

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Drs. Gary Null, Carolyn Dean, Martin Feldman, Debora Rasio and Dorothy Smith, authors of “Death by Medicine” report in their groundbreaking research that 783,936 people die every year in the United States from conventional medicine mistakes. This is the equivalent of six jumbo jet crashes a day for a year.

Of the 783,936 annual deaths due to conventional medical procedures, about 106,000 are from prescription drugs, according to Death by Medicine. That is a conservative number, because of underreported cases of adverse drug reactions some experts estimate that approximately 200,000 deaths occur annually.

This staggering number is a significant increase in the number of deaths reported by The Journal of the American Medical Association Vol. 284 July 26, 2000, documenting the tragedy of Traditional Western Medicine (TWM) paradigm. The author, Dr. Barbara Starfield of Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health describes how the U. S. health care system may contribute to poor health. Doctors, she stated, are the third leading cause of death in the U. S. , causing 250,000 deaths every year.

Where is the media attention to this tragedy? Where is the government demand to stop these medical mistakes? Money is the main reason:

  • Dr. John Abramson reported in his book, Overdosed in America, that over $3 billion was spent on pharmaceutical advertising in 2003—therefore, the media is loath to report the truth about one of what may well be their most lucrative advertisers.

  • The medical and pharmaceutical industry is allowed to run unabated, because the pharmaceutical and health products industry spent more than $800 million in federal lobbying and campaign donations at the federal and state levels, a Center for Public Integrity investigation reported. Its lobbying operation, on which it reports spending more than $675 million, is the biggest in the nation. No other industry has spent more money to sway public policy in the same period. Representing 48 pharmaceutical companies, PhRMA has 20 registered lobbyists on staff and has contracted with dozens of lobby and PR firms.

    Pharmaceuticals are a $1 trillion industry. It's an amazing statistic. Some of the largest corporations in the United States are drug companies. The top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the United States earn more money than the remaining 490 Fortune 500 companies.

    Prescribing more drugs and recommending more surgeries means more profits for the pharmaceutical companies and physicians. Getting more drugs approved by the FDA, regardless of their safety, means more money for the pharmaceutical and physician industry. Physicians and pharmaceutical companies seem to believe they are entitled to huge profits, even if a few hundred thousand people lose their lives in the process.

    Even in cases of drug recall, everyone involved has a scapegoat: Pharmaceutical companies blame the FDA for approving the product and the doctors for over-prescribing it, and doctors can blame the patients for wanting it and not properly weighing the risks.

    A 1995 U. S. iatrogenic report revealed, “Over a million patients are injured in U. S. hospitals each year, and approximately 280,000 die annually as a result of these injuries. ” The iatrogenic death rate dwarfs the annual automobile accident mortality rate of 45,000 and accounts for more deaths than all other accidents combined. " This report, issued 10 years ago, when America had 34 million fewer citizens and drug company scandals, like the Vioxx recall were yet to occur. Health care comprises 15.5 percent of the United States’ gross national product, with spending reaching $1.4 trillion in 2004.

    Approximately 2.2 million US hospital patients experience adverse drug reactions (ADRs) to prescribed medications each year. In 1995, Dr. Richard Besser of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections to be 20 million; in 2003, Dr. Besser believes tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics are prescribed annually. Approximately 7.5 million unnecessary medical and surgical procedures are performed annually in the US, while approximately 8.9 million Americans are hospitalized unnecessarily.

    The majority of Americans have bought into the pharmaceutical clever ads that every medical issue has a quick fix. Pharmaceutical companies make a pill for every conceivable ailment–real or not – there are pricey prescription drugs to “treat" it. When I remind people that every prescription drug has a plethora of serious side effects worse than what ails them, they are insulted. The ads, for the drug was subliminally worded to psychologically indoctrinate the listener to believe in its magical powers and to buy it. The belief becomes, ‘anything is better than nothing’—albeit there are side effects.

    Americans go to the doctor's office oblivious of the danger they're walking into. People know that medical errors occur, unfortunately due to little reporting they assume that errors are unusual, isolated events. Unfortunately, by accepting conventional medicine, people voluntarily continue to walk into what could be the cause of their own death. “The surgery was a success—the patient died. "

    What to do? Become informed. Read, Read, Read. Stop listening to pharmaceutical ads. Pharmaceutical ads are created with one goal in mind—convince you to buy the product so the company can make money. You, the consumer, are secondary to their goal of making money. Of course, ads are cleverly worded to make you believe your needs are primary. Don't be fooled by these profit making enterprises.

    The following are excellent resources to make the transition from conventional medicine to preventative and healing health care.
    http://www.scnm. edu/physician_referral/index.php

    Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, author, motivational speaker and inspirational leader specializes in: Mind, Body, Spirit healing and Physical/Sexual Abuse Prevention and Recovery. Dr. Neddermeyer empowers people to view life's challenges as an opportunity for Personal/Professional Growth and Spiritual Awakening.

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