Death By Medicine - by Paula Black

Did you know that avoidable medical errors are the THIRD leading cause of death in America? Most of us already knew that the leading cause of death in America is Heart Disease. This is followed closely by the “Big C” (cancer). But most are shocked to learn the third leading cause of death…. Hospital Error.

When you enter a hospital, you’re looking for help and expect to be safe, right? What you may not know is that you are literally putting your trust into a system that is broken.  Tragically thousands of people die every day from the “care” they receive … rather than from the emergency, disease or medical need which brought them to the hospital in the first place.

A new study by patient safety researchers clearly indicates how common medical errors actually are. Death by Medicine has become the third leading cause of death in the U.S.  This information is strategically pushed “under the rug” and not openly discussed. Of course hospitals don’t want the public to know how statistically risky their hospital or healthcare facility may be. But you have a right to know, don’t you?

This new study shows that “medical errors” in hospitals and other health-care facilities are incredibly common and claim about 251,000 lives every year. Other reports show this number to more than double. It all depends on how the numbers are recorded.

Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the research, said in an interview that the category includes everything from bad doctors to more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.

“It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care,” Makary said.

Makary’s research involves a more comprehensive analysis of four large studies, including ones by the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of the Inspector General and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which took place between 2000 to 2008. His calculation of 251,000 deaths equates to nearly 700 deaths a day — about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States.

As shocking as it seems, there is a higher degree of tolerance for variability in medical practice than you would see in the public aviation industry. When you get on an airplane to fly to visit Aunt Mary, you expect to arrive at your destination safely, isn’t that right?

When there is an airplane crash and passengers are killed, there is a thorough investigation and, if need be, new laws are passed to help prevent the same problem from occurring in the future. The medical system is completely different. Hospitals habitually hide their “accidents” and the patient’s families don’t know where to turn for help.

In the aviation community professional pilots throughout the world learn from the thorough investigations and the determining results which are passed on. In this way all pilots can learn and therefore fly more safely. When a plane crashes, we don’t say it is confidential proprietary information owned by the particular airline. Yet that’s exactly how hospitals view “accidents” that happen within their walls.

Death by medicine, as the third leading cause of death, is bad enough but we haven’t even discussed those who are severely injured or permanently maimed due to medical error. Some estimates would put this number at 40 times higher than the death rate.

Do your homework. Remember YOU are responsible for your heath and healthcare, NOT a doctor, a hospital or a broken system. Check out the hospital you are going to use in great detail before you enter. Communicate clearly to every healthcare worker who has something to do with your care. Don’t hesitate to ask questions… your life depends on it. Find out what drugs and procedures they are giving you and how much. Be informed. Get educated. Be armed to survive. When it comes to going into the hospital keep this image in your mind “ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK”. Take authority over your situation. Pray and ask God to guide and direct all those involved in your care. Whenever possible: Stay out of the hospital. Remember… the people can be friendly and kind. It’s the system that is broken.  


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Paula Black Ministries, Paula Black's Cancer Cure Awareness and the Cancer Coaching Ministry is an arm of Dale Black Ministries a/k/a Eagle International Ministries, P.O. Box 175, Temecula, CA  92593

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