Doctors are the Third Leading Cause of Death in the US, Causing 250,000 Deaths Every Year




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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
- Thomas Edison

Cancer is a political problem more than it is a medical problem.

The University of Toronto did a study and found that roughly 2,216,000 patients in U.S. hospitals per year experienced a serious adverse drug reaction. Of these, 106,000 died each year from an adverse drug reaction during their hospital stay. Based on these figures, adverse drug reactions are now the fourth leading cause of death in this country. (JAMA 98;279(15): 1200-5) To put this in perspective, the number of people dying in U.S. hospitals every month from adverse drug reactions would be the same as having three World Trade Center collapses each and every month. - Dr. David Williams

Modern health care system is the leading cause of death. New review of statistics. Over a ten year period, doctors kill more people than "all the casualties from wars that America has fought in its entire history."



From: "Michael Wilson"
To: "Agostino, Doreen"
Subject: Fw: Doctors Are The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US, Causing 250,000 Deaths Every Year
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 23:01:55 -0400

----- Original Message -----

From: Larry Decter
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Sent: Friday, April 06, 2001 3:39 PM
Subject: Fw: Doctors Are The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US, Causing 250,000 Deaths Every Year

Doctors Are The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US, Causing 250,000 Deaths Every Year

Journal American Medical Association Vol 284 July 26, 2000

This article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is the best article I have ever seen written in the published literature documenting the tragedy of the traditional medical paradigm.

This information is a follow-up of the Institute of Medicine report which hit the papers in December of last year, but the data was hard to reference as it was not in peer-reviewed journal. Now it is 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 describes how the US health care system may contribute to poor health.


a. 12,000 -----unnecessary surgery 8

b. 7,000 -----medication errors in hospitals 9

c. 20,000 ----other errors in hospitals 10

d. 80,000 ----infections in hospitals 10

e. 106,000 ---non-error, negative effects of drugs 2

These total to 250,000 deaths per year from iatrogenic causes!!

What does the word iatrogenic mean? This term is defined as induced in a patient by a physician's activity, manner, or therapy. Used especially of a complication of treatment.

Dr. Starfield offers several warnings in interpreting these numbers:

a. First, most of the data are derived from studies in hospitalized patients.

b. Second, these estimates are for deaths only and do not include negative effects that are associated with disability or discomfort.

c. Third, the estimates of death due to error are lower than those in the IOM report.1

If the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000. In any case, 225,000 deaths per year constitutes the third leading cause of death in the United States, after deaths from heart disease and cancer. Even if these figures are overestimated, there is a wide margin between these numbers of deaths and the next leading cause of death (cerebrovascular disease).

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

a. 116 million extra physician visits

b. 77 million extra prescriptions

c. 17 million emergency department visits

d. 8 million hospitalizations

e. 3 million long-term admissions

f. 199,000 additional deaths

g. $77 billion in extra costs

The high cost of the health care system is considered to be a deficit, but seems to be tolerated under the assumption that better health results from more expensive care.

However, evidence from a few studies indicates that as many as 20% to 30% of patients receive inappropriate care.

An estimated 44,000 to 98,000 among them die each year as a result of medical errors.2

This might be tolerated if it resulted in better health, but does it? Of 13 countries in a recent comparison,3,4 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:

a. 13th (last) for low-birth-weight percentages

b. 13th for neonatal mortality and infant mortality overall 14

c. 11th for post neonatal mortality

d. 13th for years of potential life lost (excluding external causes)

e. 11th for life expectancy at 1 year for females, 12th for males

f. 10th for life expectancy at 15 years for females, 12th for males

g. 10th for life expectancy at 40 years for females, 9th for males

h. 7th for life expectancy at 65 years for females, 7th for males

i. 3rd for life expectancy at 80 years for females, 3rd for males

j. 10th for age-adjusted mortality

The poor performance of the US was recently confirmed by a World Health Organization study, which used different data and ranked the United States as 15th among 25 industrialized countries.

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.

a. 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.

These estimates of death due to error are lower than those in a recent Institutes of Medicine report, and if the higher estimates are used, the deaths due to iatrogenic causes would range from 230,000 to 284,000.

Even at the lower estimate of 225,000 deaths per year, this constitutes the third leading cause of death in the US, following heart disease and cancer.

Lack of technology is certainly not a contributing factor to the US's low ranking.

a. Among 29 countries, the United States is second only to Japan in the availability of magnetic resonance imaging units and computed tomography scanners per million population. 17

b. Japan, however, ranks highest on health, whereas the US ranks among the lowest.

c. It is possible that the high use of technology in Japan is limited to diagnostic technology not matched by high rates of treatment, whereas in the US, high use of diagnostic technology may be linked to more treatment.

d. Supporting this possibility are data showing that the number of employees per bed (full-time equivalents) in the United States is highest among the countries ranked, whereas they are very low in Japan, far lower than can be accounted for by the common practice of having family members rather than hospital staff provide the amenities of hospital care.

Journal American Medical Association Vol 284 July 26, 2000

COMMENT: Folks, this is what they call a "Landmark Article". Only several ones like this are published every year. One of the major reasons it is so huge as that it is published in JAMA which is the largest and one of the most respected medical journals in the entire world. I did find it most curious that the best wire service in the world, Reuter's, did not pick up this article. I have no idea why they let it slip by.

I would encourage you to bookmark this article and review it several times so you can use the statistics to counter the arguments of your friends and relatives who are so enthralled with the traditional medical paradigm. These statistics prove very clearly that the system is just not working. It is broken and is in desperate need of repair.

I was previously fond of saying that drugs are the fourth leading cause of death in this country. However, this article makes it quite clear that the more powerful number is that doctors are the third leading cause of death in this country killing nearly a quarter million people a year. The only more common causes are cancer and heart disease. This statistic is likely to be seriously underestimated as much of the coding only describes the cause of organ failure and does not address iatrogenic causes at all.

Japan seems to have benefited from recognizing that technology is wonderful, but just because you diagnose something with it, one should not be committed to undergoing treatment in the traditional paradigm. Their health statistics reflect this aspect of their philosophy as much of their treatment is not treatment at all, but loving care rendered in the home.

Care, not treatment, is the answer. Drugs, surgery and hospitals are rarely the answer to chronic health problems. Facilitating the God-given healing capacity that all of us have is the key. Improving the diet, exercise, and lifestyle are basic. Effective interventions for the underlying emotional and spiritual wounding behind most chronic illness are also important clues to maximizing health and reducing disease.

Related Articles: Author/Article Information

Author Affiliation: Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Md. Corresponding Author and Reprints: Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, 624 N Broadway, Room 452, Baltimore, MD 21205-1996 (e-mail:


1. Schuster M, McGlynn E, Brook R. How good is the quality of health care in the United States? Milbank Q. 1998;76:517-563.

2. Kohn L, ed, Corrigan J, ed, Donaldson M, ed. To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1999.

3. Starfield B. Primary Care: Balancing Health Needs, Services, and Technology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 1998.

4. World Health Report 2000. Available at: Accessed June 28, 2000.

5. Kunst A. Cross-national Comparisons of Socioeconomic Differences in Mortality. Rotterdam, the Netherlands: Erasmus University; 1997.

6. Law M, Wald N. Why heart disease mortality is low in France: the time lag explanation. BMJ. 1999;313:1471-1480.

7. Starfield B. Evaluating the State Children's Health Insurance Program: critical considerations. Annu Rev Public Health. 2000;21:569-585.

8. Leape L. Unnecessary surgery. Annu Rev Public Health. 1992;13:363-383.

9. Phillips D, Christenfeld N, Glynn L. Increase in US medication-error deaths between 1983 and 1993. Lancet. 1998;351:643-644.

10. Lazarou J, Pomeranz B, Corey P. Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients. JAMA. 1998;279:1200-1205.

11. Weingart SN, Wilson RM, Gibberd RW, Harrison B. Epidemiology and medical error. BMJ. 2000;320:774-777.

12. Wilkinson R. Unhealthy Societies: The Afflictions of Inequality. London, England: Routledge; 1996.

13. Evans R, Roos N. What is right about the Canadian health system? Milbank Q. 1999;77:393-399.

14. Guyer B, Hoyert D, Martin J, Ventura S, MacDorman M, Strobino D. Annual summary of vital statistics1998. Pediatrics. 1999;104:1229-1246.

15. Harrold LR, Field TS, Gurwitz JH. Knowledge, patterns of care, and outcomes of care for generalists and specialists. J Gen Intern Med. 1999;14:499-511.

16. Donahoe MT. Comparing generalist and specialty care: discrepancies, deficiencies, and excesses. Arch Intern Med. 1998;158:1596-1607.

17. Anderson G, Poullier J-P. Health Spending, Access, and Outcomes: Trends in Industrialized Countries. New York, NY: The Commonwealth Fund; 1999.

18. Mold J, Stein H. The cascade effect in the clinical care of patients. N Engl J Med. 1986;314:512-514.

19. Shi L, Starfield B. Income inequality, primary care, and health indicators. J Fam Pract.1999;48:275-284.

Credit for this page goes to Dr. Mercola

Dear Madam or Sir:
     I am writing to complain about this article because it is factually incorrect. The leading cause of death in the United States is both surgical and contraceptive abortion, which cause over one million deaths every year. Who is it that prescribes contraceptives like the birth control pill that cause early abortions? Who are the abortionists? Doctors, that's who!
      Do I need to remind you that surgical abortions cost the lives of over 1 million Americans a year, and that they are known to cause breast cancer to the mothers who abort their children?     Chris Kahlenborn, M.D., has written an article on this phenomena, and you can read it at:
I am very disappointed not to see this information on your site. Whose side are you on, cancer victims or abortionists?
Sincerely, Miss CM Ross

Editors Note: From a global political point of view, the overriding issue seems to be population control. From this point of view, the unnecessary cancer epidemic, a million abortions per year in the US alone, a medical system that does nothing to prevent disease, plus toxic drugs and unnecessary surgeries, devitalized food, contaminated vaccinations, international weapons sales and a host of other evils may be seen as part of an intentional grand design by those who govern.


The American Medical System is Broken...

Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

Everybody knows that the US MEDICARE System will go belly-up in the year 2011.  It's going to be, at that point, so costly that the United States simply won't be able to afford it anymore. Foreign owned "Big Pharma" is bleeding us to death.

American corporations, right this moment, are cutting back their health care offerings.  No one can afford the skyrocketing costs.  Foreign owned "Big Pharma" is bleeding us to death.

Health Insurance companies are desperately trying to reduce provider expenditure - and because of that, Americans are being offered a poorer, and poorer, quality of health care.  Everything NEW is being banned.  Foreign owned "Big Pharma" is bleeding us to death.

But, more shocking, is that the system itself is a deadly rip-off of gigantic proportion.  A new study, a compilation of most recent studies, called "Death by Medicine," says: 

"It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown ... is 783,936. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251.". 

The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million. Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.

The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million."

And that's only the "deaths."  The Lazarou study on Hospital ADR also showed that, besides the 106,000 "deaths," twenty times that number of people had health problems caused by that same hospital Adverse Drug Reaction.  There were an additional 2,200,000 health problems caused by Adverse Drug Reaction to drugs in hospitals.  It would be reasonable to assume, then, that that factor of twenty times the number of deaths could be applied to all of the death statistics - meaning that in addition to the total 783,936 deaths there were 15,678,720 serious health problems caused by the American Medical System.

Shocked?  It gets worse...  Wait until you read who slovenly our system actually operates.

The top three causes of Unnecessary Deaths in the United States are related to our health care system...

The number one cause of unnecessary death in the United States, called Iatrogenic deaths  (783,986) is shown in the table below, re-printed by permission of the authors:

Condition Deaths Cost Author
Hospital ADR 106,000 $12 billion Lazarou1 Suh49
Medical error 98,000   $2 billion   IOM
Bedsores 115,000 $55 billion  Xakellis7 Barczak8
Infection 88,000 $5 billion Weinstein9 MMWR10
Malnutrition 108,800 --------  Nurses Coalition11
Outpatient ADR 199,000 $77 billion Starfield12 Weingart112
Unnecessary Procedures 37,136  $122 billion HCUP3,13
Surgery-Related  32,000 $9 billion AHRQ85


783,936 $282 billion  

The number two cause of unnecessary death in the United States is Heart Disease. Statistics show "The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697."

The number three cause of unnecessary death in the United States is Cancer.  Statistics show "the annual cancer death rate, 553,251."

The total number of known unnecessary deaths, per year, directly due to the American Medical System is 2,036,884.

The government regulatory systems "we the people" put into place to make sure this didn't happen have been compromised...

Does anybody, for a minute, believe that the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is working for "we the people?"  Don't be absurd.  The FDA is managed, completely, by "Big Pharma."  Doubt that?   Then you aren't watching the drug pricing scam, where prescriptions drugs are marketed in the United States from 2 to 20 times their cost in other countries - and the FDA, literally, is with guns-drawn, raiding companies attempting to import those SAME prescriptions from Canada, Mexico, etc.

Does anybody, for a minute, believe that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is working for "we the people?"  Don't be absurd.  The FTC is manipulated, completely, by "Big Pharma."  Doubt that?  Then why has the FTC manufactured a different standard for "health claims" for supplements, herbals, electro-medicine devices, etc - those things that compete with drugs in the health market?  And, how is it that the covert FTC "Operation Cure-All" exists at all?  Congress never authorized the FTC to run covert operations - only the CIA, and other "intelligence" groups can do that.  So, how is it that "Operation Cure-All," which I believe is actually run out of a New York ad agency, and has no offices, phone numbers, directors, employees, accountability, etc., is allowed to use the FTC name?

State Licensing Boards have been given the responsibility for regulating health care in America, State by State.  Do they do anything to solve the problems listed above?  NO, they do not.  There is NOT ONE STATE in the United States that has a program to do something about the problems described as the number one killer of Americans - Iatrogenic deaths  (783,986).  Not one State has a program to put a stop to, or even look at, the problems of Hospital Adverse Drug Reactions (106,000 deaths), medical errors (98,000 deaths), bedsores (105,000 deaths), infections (88,000 deaths), malnutrition (108,800 deaths), outpatient Adverse Drug Reactions (199,000 deaths), unnecessary procedures (37,136 deaths), surgery related (32,000 deaths). 

And, what about those 15,678,720 serious health problems caused by the American Medical System?  Those numbers INCREASE every year because our State regulatory agencies ignore their responsibilities.

The "Support System" has been compromised...

What's the common thread that wends its way through the American Cancer Society, the AIDS network, the local "Run-For-Whatever?" 

Drug money.  All of those above are primarily funded, directly, or indirectly, by "Big Pharma."  So the so-called "War on Cancer," the "War on AIDS," the "War on whatever." is ONLY about promoting new expensive drugs - NOTHING ELSE.

But, Worst of All...

Worst of all is that the American Medical System KNOWS it's broken, and is taking steps, not to fix its problems, but to destroy those trying to make changes for the better, those trying to make, and keep, people healthy, those focusing on finding cures for Cancer, AIDS, heart disease, etc..  It is trying to maintain the status quo.

Not only have the agencies "we the people" put in place intentionally ignored the problems in health care, but they have been carefully re-focused to attack solutions that compete with the drugs-surgery paradigm.

There is a real war, with large stakes, going on in North America.  It's way bigger than the "war on terrorism." I call it "the war between health and medicine."  The FDA, the FTC, some of the State Regulatory Agencies, and a large part of the "Support System" have knowingly, or unknowingly, joined ranks against solutions to the problems. 

The FDA, as we know, raids supplement manufacturers, electro-medicine installations, using battering rams, automatic weapons, asset seizure - all the tricks to stop competition against their "big pharma" masters.  The FTC runs the covert "Operation Cure-All," targeting American citizen's attempts to communicate new ideas in health care.

But, that isn't all.   There's more.  For instance, the "Quackbusters," we know, are a subversive organization formed, and funded by twenty-six drug companies, after the American Medical Association (AMA) was ordered by the Federal Court to cease its covert operation against the Chiropractic profession.  Their job is to harass market competitors to the drug treatment paradigm.  I believe they are run out of a New York ad agency.

The "bible" for the quackbusters, the place where all the "quackbusters" send their unsuspecting victims for allegedly "good information," is the website "," run by a de-licensed, failed MD out of his basement in Allentown. Pennsylvania. 

The quackbuster "flagship," the so-called National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) is currently being run out of the office of its current president, a hair removal and ear-piercing specialist in Braintree, Massachusetts.

The biggest "quackbuster" success was in 1996 when they took over the Federation of Medical Board (FSMB)'s conference in Chicago, and used that meeting to re-focus all of the State Medical Boards away from the Federal Government's definition of "health fraud,"  (overbilling, un-bundling, etc.).  There, they were able to to insert their own definition - that "alternatives" to the drug/surgery paradigm was "health fraud." 

The FSMB, for all of it's high sounding goals, has NEVER addressed the issue of its individual State members coming down hard on the number one cause of deaths (783,986) - Iatrogenic deaths - in the United States.  In fact - they have NEVER brought up the issue at all - and obviously have no intention of doing so. Certainly, they have NO INTENTION of suggesting that their members DO SOMETHING about the problem.

The State of Wisconsin, where I'm working on a problem with the State's Department of Regulation & Licensing (DRL), for instance, has a population of  5,461,710.  Extrapolating that to the US population of 284,000,000 we find that Wisconsin has 1/52 of the US population.  Dividing 52 into the total number of deaths (2,036,884), and the 15,678,513 health problems, shows that Wisconsin's share was 39,170 total deaths, and 301,513 health problems.  And, Wisconsin's DRL prosecutors, I've found, won't prosecute anything BUT alternative practitioners.  The over-druggers, the bad surgeons, the bedsore ignorers, the malnutrition deliverers, etc. are perfectly safe in the cheese State.

Foreign owned "Big Pharma" is bleeding us to death.

Can We Do Something About It?

Of course we can.  And, we are...

Stay tuned...

Tim Bolen - Consumer Advocate



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