How about that headline?
It appeared on RT.com, "the first Russian 24/7 English-language news channel which brings the Russian view on global news."
The story, which originally ran in November of 2013, was resurrected again on Twitter yesterday. It's subject was a paper that claimed as many as 440,000 patients die from medical errors in the United States every year.
Back in September, I criticized the study because it assumed that every death was both preventable and caused by a medical error. Neither assumption is correct. It also extrapolated the doomsday figures from only four other papers describing just 38 deaths.
In that post I said, "Inflating the incidence of these problems does nothing but further erode the already shaky confidence of the public in the medical profession. And creating the impression that such events are totally preventable leads to unrealistic expectations and unachievable goals."
So why am I bringing this up again?
Take a look at a few of the comments from the RT.com story [printed verbatim]:
Old news, as many as a million die each year cause of doctor errors. Thats why their malpractice insurance is so high. Legal unintentional homicide.
It's convenient to claim such deaths are errors but a great many are deliberate. They know such incidents will not be investigated as crimes. It's very easy to conceal a murder if no one is looking. The medical system is completely corrupt.
if they'd stop getting high in med school and pay more attention maybe this wouldnt happen. then there is their attitudes. Heaven forbid anyone needs medical care, that's for sure.
According to CDC, medical errors is not even a category of death, but they published research that indicates drunk drivers kill about 10,000 yearly. If that is correct, then doctors kill almost twice that many every hour of every day -. MADD should be mad about DEADLY DOCTORS. You are 40 times more likely to be killed by a deadly doc than you are by a drunk driver. And yet - where is the "funding" for this deadly phenomena?
I know those who comment on the Internet usually do not represent the views of rational individuals, but it infuriates the hell out of me that the 440,000 deaths from medical errors estimate, which is clearly wrong, is repeatedly trumpeted all over the place and so readily believed.
By the way, the paper appeared in the Journal of Patient Safety, which recently underwent an editorial change due to a kickback scandal involving former editor Dr. Charles Denham. That's another story (here).
Do doctors and hospitals make mistakes? Yes. Can we improve? Yes. Does it help to exaggerate the magnitude of the problem? Emphatically, no.