The findings by Barbara Starfield, MD, of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health,
12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries;
7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals;
20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals;
80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals;
106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines.
The total estimated number of deaths caused by medical treatment in the US every year is 225,000.
Thus, the US medical system is the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.
The findings are not disputed. Indeed, subsequent studies found the number of preventable deaths due to medical intervention to be higher.
"US children are particularly disadvantaged, whereas elderly persons are much less so. Judging from the data on life expectancy at different ages, the US population becomes less disadvantaged as it ages, but even the relatively advantaged position of elderly personsin the United States is slipping. The US relative position for life expectancy in the oldest age group was better in the 1980s than in the 1990s.13 The long-existing poor ranking of the United States with regard to infant mortality14 has been a cause for concern; it is not a result of the high percentages o f low birth weight and infant mortality among the black population, because the international ranking hardly changes when data for the white population only are used."
"The nature and operation of the health care system. In the United States, in contrast to many other countries, the extent to which receipt of services from primary care physicians vs specialists affects overall health and survival has not been considered."
"Recognition of the harmful effects of health care interventions, and the likely possibility that they account for a substantial proportion of the excess deaths in the United States compared with other comparably industrialized nations, sheds new light on imperatives for research and health policy."
Since 2000 when Dr. Starfield’s analysis was published the death toll from hazardous prescription drugs alone has been far greater:
A sample includes the following:
Drug Year Approved Year Withdrawn
Pemoline 1975 2005
Darvon 1976 2010
Permax 1988 2007
Propulsid (cisapride) 1993 2000
Orlaam (levomethadyl acetate) 1993 2001—EU; 2003 US
Aprotinin (Trasylol) 1993 2007
Serelect (Sertindole) 1995 1998
Redux (dexfenfluramine) 1996 1997
Duract (bromfenac) 1997 1998
Raxar (grepafloxin) 1997 1999
Posicor (mibefradil) 1997 1998
Baycol (cerivastatin) 1997 2001
Sibutramine (Reductil/Meridia) 1997 2010
Trovan (Trovaloxacin) 1997 1999—EU; 2002–Pfizer stops mfg.
Avandia (Rosiglitazone) 1999 2010–EU
Rezulin (troglitazone) 1999 2000
Raplon (rapacuronium) 1999 2001
Vioxx (Rofecoxib) 1999 2004
Tequin (gatifloxacin) 1999 2006
Lotronex (alosetron) 2000 2000
Mylotarg (Gemtuzumab ozogamicin) 2000 2010
Xigris (Drotrecogin alfa) 2002 2011
Raptiva (Efalizumab) 2003 2009
Bextra (Valdecoxib) 2004 2005
Tysbari (Natalizumab) 2004 2005
Technetium fanolesomab 2004 2005
Palladone (hydromorphone) 2004 2005
Zelnorm (tegaserod maleate) 2004 2007
Exubera (Inhaled insulin) 2006 2007
See. list of drugs removed from the market for safety reasons at: https://www.ahrp.org/cms/content/view/861/9/