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Medical Errors Are Number 3 Cause of US Deaths, Researchers Say (npr.org) 247

An anonymous reader quotes a report from NPR: A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third-leading cause of death in the United States -- and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye. The authors, led by Johns Hopkins surgeon Dr. Martin Makary, call for changes in death certificates to better tabulate fatal lapses in care. In an open letter, they urge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to immediately add medical errors to its annual list reporting the top causes of death. Based on an analysis of prior research, the Johns Hopkins study estimates that more than 250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. On the CDC's official list, that would rank just behind heart disease and cancer, which each took about 600,000 lives in 2014, and in front of respiratory disease, which caused about 150,000 deaths. Medical mistakes that can lead to death range from surgical complications that go unrecognized to mix-ups with the doses or types of medications patients receive. The study was published Tuesday in The BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal.
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Medical Errors Are Number 3 Cause of US Deaths, Researchers Say

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  • by amiga3D ( 567632 ) on Tuesday May 03, 2016 @11:36PM (#52041771)

    We spend so much money for so little.

    • by WarJolt ( 990309 )

      We have so much faith in our medical system, but not every doctor is great and our health care system gives little incentive for meaningful results. The best medical results I hear about are from docs who take responsibility for their own care.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Trax ( 93121 )
      A major portion of the money that is spent in the United States healthcare system is for end of life care. No one wants their elderly mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, etc. to die and wants "everything to be done" despite our recommendations that these interventions will not prolong their life. See http://khn.org/morning-breakou... [khn.org]. The emergency department is most likely the most efficient part of our health care system. See http://newsroom.acep.org/fact_... [acep.org]
      • by Imrik ( 148191 )

        The emergency department is efficient because that's where people without insurance get their care.

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        Lots of people like to point to the numbers instead of actually looking at the reasons and being honest. The medical professionals are also more willing to try riskier and newer things than they are in other countries. We also report our medical data differently than other countries.

        That is not to say that it is good, that it is better, or that it is ideal but it is to say that it's a bit disingenuous to ignore the reality and just point to the numbers as if they alone are significant. Juxtaposition is also

        • Yes, I really really wish more people would be honest and actually try to look at the numbers (I mean, at least try).
    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      And why? Because of greedy pharma, hospitals and lawyers. This monopoly needs to be busted.

      • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @07:48AM (#52043387)

        You missed the cause of all of this: no nationalized healthcare.

        A single-buyer can negotiate prices from Big Pharma and limit their meddling with doctors and practices. Government-run hospitals don't have to spend money on marketing and all sorts of things traditionally associated with car dealerships rather than treating people. Government-run healthcare can include a reasonable arbitration system for dealing with claims of medical malpractice, etc. Plus if people aren't paying out of pocket for treatment, there are far fewer financial issues relating to needing extra/different treatment. No more government picking up the massively-inflated bill for someone who wandered in to an ER with holes in them.

        This is hardly esoteric - just look at the other developed countries with comparable/better healthcare systems, and see how much they actually cost. This experiment has been running for decades, and the outcome is staggering.

        • You missed the cause of all of this: no nationalized healthcare

          There is that - I agree wholeheartedly. There is also some incompetency involved. Some years back my mother in law had a TIA - a mini stroke. At the hospital she noted that she was peeing a lot. While talking with the doctor, the doctor expressed concern that my MIL's potassium level was low. I noted that they probably administered a powerful diuretic, because she was urinating a lot, and that was likely the cause of the low potassium level. The number of expressions that flew across the doctor's face were

        • by harrkev ( 623093 )

          You missed the cause of all of this: no nationalized healthcare.

          So, you want to bring the best parts of the DMV and the IRS to health care. That should turn out great.

          Instead of having to choose between Android and Apple, maybe we need a nationalized smart phone designed by a committee.

          • by larkost ( 79011 )

            No, he wants to bring the best part of Medicaid to the rest of healthcare. You know, the most efficiently run insurance system in the country (seriously, they are head-and-shoulders above any private organization by any metric). This is not about replacing who controls hospitals, or makes the drugs. It is about who pays, and thus negotiates, for these things. If you look just at drug pricing, comparing the U.S. prices to anywhere else in the world (Canada is an easy example, and hard to argue that it is a m

        • Well said, and you are entirely correct.

          Single-payer has advantages that private, for-profit hospitals cannot compete with. No marketing, tremendous bargaining power, and more standardized care make a huge difference. Other countries have been doing it successfully for decades, and the VA here shows it can be done.

          Some things should NOT be run for profit, including health care, education, and prisons.

    • by Shadow99_1 ( 86250 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .99wodahseht.> on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @06:56AM (#52043167)

      My grandmother (on my mother's side) passed away about a decade ago after 'routine' heart surgery (no double or triple bipass). However it wasn't the heart surgery that got her, it was the infection after. The doctor's however had been 'confused' by her lack of progress and didn't believe she had an infection. At the same time I picked up on her having an infection after one visit and with no tests. She was never treated for an infection, though the autopsy proved that was the cause of death in the end. After that I truly understood why the US has such a high malpractice rate. The Doctor's had continued to rely on tests which told them the wrong answers and had so little time to actually see a patient that she was never treated properly.

      In my own personal experience I had a diseased gall bladder since I was a teenager, however it went misdiagnosed for a decade and a half as IBS. However it finally got so bad that I couldn't function normally and for about the fifth time in my life I returned to the hospital to finally get a real explanation of what was wrong with me. When they removed my gal bladder the doctor who had performed the surgery had said it was the most diseased gal bladder he'd ever seen in a living patient.

      All that money we pay for medical care seems utterly wasted between the insurance companies and the hospitals.

    • And the government wants us to buy more!

    • I have to admit, the credentials of the researchers notwithstanding, I find the notion that medical errors are the "third-leading cause of death" in the US is hard to swallow.

      Alcohol, car accidents, heart disease, smoking, stroke, cancer....all those things kill millions. The idea that improper diagnosis and/or treatment outweighs those things just seems unrealistic to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 03, 2016 @11:39PM (#52041777)

    Is the worst in the world. Cuba is the best, by far.

  • Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 03, 2016 @11:42PM (#52041791)

    "250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors"

    Fuck fighting terrorism. This deserves more attention.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      and yet doctors sneer at you when you tell them you looked something up on the internet.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Trax ( 93121 )
        I don't sneer at my patients in the ED (emergency department) when they say they've looked up their symptoms on the internet. Most of the time they have been looking them up in WebMD or other non-clinical websites that ultimately tells them that they are either having a heart attack, cancer, or our about to die. I hear them out and see what their worries are and attempt to assuage them of their fears. I'm hearing to teach them about their symptoms and get them involved in their care. There's nothing wrong w
        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          I just give mine a fist-full of antibiotics and enough opiates to make them settle down and not worry about anything.

          Yes, yes I really am a doctor.

          No, I'm not a medical doctor. I prescribe four quadratic equations and tell 'em to call me in the morning.

          • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @10:23AM (#52044355)

            A friend's wife is senior management with a hospital system and we were talking about some of the impossible challenges of medical care and cost.

            I kind of wondered if more opiates, doled out in small doses & quantities, wasn't actually partly the answer.

            1) Pacifies the hypochondriacs and people with vague and poorly defined "symptoms" who end up getting a bunch of expensive tests to rule out rare conditions they don't have. They go home, feel better from the opiates and maybe find something else to be distracted about because they feel better. Eliminates a lot of doctor time, lab time and expensive time on limited access equipment like MRIs.

            2) Masks symptoms in people who have chronic conditions and have no actual cure. These people may have expensive and marginally effective therapies for what actually ails them, but quite often these are expensive drugs, demanding physical therapies or other treatments that don't much improve their actual condition or how they feel and won't cure them anyway. A lot of the time is strikes me that these people are on expensive medications with weird side effects and marginal primary effects whose principal value seems to be they aren't opiates.

            OK, there would be downsides, some of these people would develop low-level habits, but that's where the small doses and quantities part comes in. Given opiates under managed conditions, most would not spiral into raging junkies and many may actually experience an improved quality of life because they *feel* better. Even if they did have low-level, maintenance habits they could be on opiates for years without any significant side effects, and as drugs they are dirt cheap.

            The up side is that a lot of people who clog the medical system with non-problems and conditions that mainly need to be managed to keep them living functional lives, probably saving a bunch of money and resources for people with treatable or more life-threatening conditions.

            In a way, it's kind of a rationing of medical resources but with potential state-of-mind improvement for those rationed out of the system.

        • Re:Perspective (Score:5, Interesting)

          by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @09:16AM (#52043839)

          Not to judge, but when I was having an appendicitis and thinking it was food poison searching on the internet gave me better control of the situation than the ED Doctor. He was so excited after the CAT Scan that it actually was an appendicitis and I was going to need surgery, rather than discharging me.

          Point being we all have access to different information. As a patient, I didn't know how to filter relevant from non-relevant information. My pain was somewhat asymptomatic due to another problem that I didn't fit neatly into the right box.

          I have know three other people who were discharged from the ED, only to be back an hour or three later when their appendix bursts. As a patient, you need to be your own advocate. The "guess what's wrong with me"game just doesn't work.

        • Yeah, last time I went to the doctor, she listened carefully to my self-diagnosis, and what symptoms I had that led me to that diagnosis. Then she gave me warnings about other things to watch for. She was actually great.
      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        and yet doctors sneer at you when you tell them you looked something up on the internet.

        Because the vast majority will do a simple Google search, and not do any serious homework. That doesn't mean that others won't do some significant reading, but the likelihood of you picking up more knowledge with your internet search than someone who does this fulltime with a medical degree is slim. And either way, they shouldn't sneer.

        • and yet doctors sneer at you when you tell them you looked something up on the internet.

          Because the vast majority will do a simple Google search, and not do any serious homework. That doesn't mean that others won't do some significant reading

          Are you talking about doctors or patients here?

      • It is interesting that as a male and a scientist, whenever I make small talk with a doctor they are always thrilled to hear I am a microbiologist and switch gears to discussing things with me as a peer. My wife has the same education but gets this response less frequently from what she's told me. When I was in school I started pre-vet, and working with a veterinarian he said that in that field, anyhow, you generally just treat symptoms and see if they get better since diagnostics are so expensive. For me
    • by sir1963nz ( 4560389 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @01:03AM (#52042125)
      Next thing we will find is that they are training doctors and sending them to America because it is a more effective way to kill more americans.
    • To be fair, many of the people dying from these medical errors are really sick, and would have soon died from something else anyway. Also, killing off old people helps keep Social Security and Medicare from going bankrupt. I am not saying killing them is a good thing, just that it is not all bad.

      Some hospitals have dramatically cut medical errors using a very simple tool: Checklists [amazon.com].

      • They have introduced checklists here as well recently, and they were oh so proud of coming up with this wonderful "new" tool that pilots have been using for about 80 years. What took doctors so long to follow suit?

        One magazine (might have been the Economist) called medical care the "least innovative industry" a few years ago. Not medical technology or medicine, both of which are making tremendous strides, but the way we organize and administer that care.
        • Re:Perspective (Score:4, Insightful)

          by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @07:10AM (#52043219)

          What took doctors so long to follow suit?

          Same reason it took pilots a long time to adopt them : Ego.

          • Also the the realization that people are not built to nor adhere here the engineering specifications of an airplane. Every patient's anatomy, symptoms, disease processes etc..are relatively unique to them. There are several thing that work for checklists, but they aren't going to save the day.

            Also, in some ways we are spoiled by modern medicine - what exactly is "routine" heart surgery. You have 1 pump in a system that has no backup or redundancy. How is altering that or taking it offline for repairs ever r

          • Re:Perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

            by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @07:47AM (#52043379)

            What took doctors so long to follow suit?

            Same reason it took pilots a long time to adopt them : Ego.

            Most pilots I know put their ego aside when it comes to flying.
            Unlike doctors, they put their own life on the line and self-conservation instincts keep them in check.

      • Unfortunately, the errors often drive up costs rather than down, forcing more time in an ICU etc.

    • "250,000 Americans die each year from medical errors"

      Fuck fighting terrorism. This deserves more attention.

      In the sense that people should be aware of it, yes. Every trip to the doctor is a risk. Prevention is much better than any kind of medical intervention.

      In the sense that these errors are avoidable, no. Medicine is intrinsically inexact and difficult.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Saw a documentary on the BBC a few years ago where they addressed this (the rest from memory)
      One of the issues was that the operating surgeon is the big boss and all others are his minions. It is his theater. It is his show. Many of them will not want to be corrected. So if a nurse or an anastesist sees something or has an idea how to handle an emergency, they are afraid to speak up. Because that could make the surgeon look stupid.
      Solution: give them the power to do so and do not reprimand them when they sp

  • by BoRegardless ( 721219 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @12:24AM (#52041955)

    When you look up the rates for problems, you see huge % of the staff have problems.

    The non-stop pressure from management to work faster coupled with major decisions being made with often not enough diagnostics or time means burnout is high and part of that is the recognition they make mistakes.

    A friend who works the ED noted he had an inconclusive diagnosis of a new patient and took extra time to get other tests done. He got the results and the patient was moved into the hospital and he was on to his next patient when a 'bean counter' shows up and says "We noticed you took an extra 20 minutes on your last patient. You are slowing down. etc. etc."

    Then to counter the stress and sometimes double shifts, they start taking drugs.

    • by Trax ( 93121 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @02:27AM (#52042425)
      I am an ER doctor and I can say that this occurs throughout hospitals throughout the United States every day. I have friends who work in emergency departments (ED) who have such bean counters tell them to see more patients and admit or discharge patients too soon. I work in an emergency department that does not have these bean counters yet but we do have "patient satisfaction" scores based on Press Ganey surveys. We are graded on how well we kept patient informed, spent time with patient, our friendliness, our skill, etc. Patients can score us from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) in 7-8 different categories. Most give us 1s or 5s and those that give us low numbers go on to state in the comments that "I didn't get a blanket, water, pain medication, etc" fast enough or "doctor didn't care about my condition". Mind you, most of these folks should not be in the ED in the first place and are at most urgent care patients. No one cares that you were tied up in the back with 4-5 critical patients who are trying to die on us and that we were busy for the past 2 hours to get them up into the ICU with the appropriate interventions made so that they will have a successful outcome. Instead, people are pissed off that you didn't take care of them right away for their symptom(s) or condition(s) and don't care that you (I) was busy elsewhere.

      This is the reality of medicine in the United States these days. A doctor who must appease every patient (paying or non-paying thanks to EMTALA) as a waiter must his or her tables so that our patient satisfaction scores do not drop appreciably or else the bean counters will not be happy. if the bean counters are not happy, then you will be looking for another job.

      If you want to be treated as a real patient, you better start looking for direct primary care physicians who take your money on a monthly or annual basis. In exchange they will give you their undivided attention in the form of hour long visits, communication via email, and your ability to reach them 24/7 as needed.

      http://epmonthly.com/article/2... [epmonthly.com]
      • I am a physician who practices in the U.S. as well, and I mirror your sentiment.

        Things have really gone from bad to worse in the last five years. The number of patients we each have to see has dramatically increased, and the level of staffing is either the same as or worse than five years ago. Certainly staffing is worse than ten years ago.

        I'm hoping that more money gets put into the system for physician extenders and that society as a whole realizes that the extenders are 'good enough' for the vast major

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @12:30AM (#52041983)
    People vastly overestimate how infallible people are (especially themselves). The rate at which humans make errors [hawaii.edu] is about 0.5%. Which if you think about all the things you do in the course of a day, is a really big number.

    About 7.3% of the population [cdc.gov] were hospitalized overnight or longer (23 million people).

    If 250,000 of them died, then fatality rate due to medical errors is about 1.1%. Which is in line with the average error rate compounded over multiple ways in which errors could kill a hospital patient.

    If you want to reduce the fatality rate, you either need to get people out of the system (e.g. autonomous cars - but they make people uncomfortable even though they're statistically safer), or implement automated checks to supplement people's work. We're already doing the latter with prescriptions - computers now automatically check for dangerous interactions between medications prescribed to the same person. More operating rooms scan all equipment used during surgery, and re-scans at the end to make sure it's all accounted for, and nothing has accidentally been left inside the patient. And some hospitals are starting to use barcode and RFID scanners to double-check that the medication being administered is the proper one for that particular patient.
    • by symes ( 835608 )

      Assistive tech in the medical setting is something that really can have a positive impact. And there are so many opportunities going forward. My slight concern is that we end up pitching a clinician's opinion against some algorithm.

  • by Sir Holo ( 531007 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @12:51AM (#52042061)

    I was almost one of these statistics.

    A 'pain physician' providing after-care for a skull fracture prescribed me 80 mg of straight oxycodone every three to four hours, as needed. That is over HALF A GRAM of oxycodone per day! Talk about a pain roller-coaster... My fiancee would spend the entire day watching me, just to make sure that my chest was moving. It was a deadly dose.

    I went back to this bad MD, once, and she tried to place all the blame on me. "You follow what's on the label". I replied, "YOU wrote the scrip, which determined what was on the label!" This idiot was blaming me for her near-deadly error, trying to escape the risk of losing her medical license. Well, she soon got fired from a third institution within a year...

    I immediately found an actual Pain Management Physician. He prescribed a 24-hour time-release oxycodone, plus a few on the side for pain-spikes. I got off of that crap in less than three months with no withdrawal issues at all.

    This is just an example of how physician errors kill people.

    • Oh, I forgot to mention that she was lecturing me like a school-child.

      So, I had to remind her several times of my PhD in Chemistry & Physics. I also corrected her a couple of times on points of chemistry, after she lied to my face regarding basic chemistry that every physician should know---She did not enjoy that. But I did.

      I told her to just write a scrip for a bucket of oxycodone -- to hold me over until I found the Real Pain Management Physician, or I would talk to her supervisor immediately. She

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        Oh, I forgot to mention that she was lecturing me like a school-child

        Indeed. One book you may be interested in is "A leg to stand on" by the recently late Dr Oliver Sachs. He was a world leader in his field of medicine and even had a movie made about his achievements (with Robin Williams playing his role) but when he was in hospital with a broken leg he was lectured like a school-child. The bits where he got to see the doctor-patient relationship from the other side and how ridiculous it can be sometimes

      • by dave420 ( 699308 )

        You asked her to write you a provisional certificate of money subscribed to a bank or company, entitling the holder to a formal certificate and dividends? No wonder she was confused!

    • That is over HALF A GRAM of oxycodone per day! Talk about a pain roller-coaster... My fiancee would spend the entire day watching me, just to make sure that my chest was moving. It was a deadly dose.

      OK, so you knew that the subscription was for a ridiculously huge amount and that it would almost certainly kill you if you took that much, and yet you took it anyways? Ya, I am with the doctor on this one. The pharmacist should of caught that, and if they did not, you should have. If you found a razor blade in a candy bard would you just assume that the candy bar makers know what they are doing, and swallow it?

  • When you are near death a mistake that would be trivial if you are healthy is enough to kill you. That's not excusing the mistakes just explaining some of the statistics.
  • Facing facts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kiuas ( 1084567 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @03:25AM (#52042623)

    I work for the single payer health care system of Finland on the administrative side (IT & stats related) and partly because of that, health care has always been one of my favorite subjects to discuss. However something I've noticed when talking with Americans about it is a certain type of illusion/fallacy that many seem to be under, which is that because you pay so much for it, it must be the best system out there.

    Just yesterday I had a lengthy conversation on fb about the problems with a purely insurance based model, and even though I tried linking a couple of studies as to the amount of deaths caused by lack of access due to costs, I was labeled a liar because apparently 'everyone in the US now has the opportunity to get health insurance" (a direct quote from him) despite the fact that it's known that there are people who do not meet the criteria under the ACA to qualify for the cheaper/low income insurances whilist also not being able to afford a private one AND that there are also still issues with insurances not covering certain operations. Don't get me wrong, the ACA was a small step in a better direction but the gutting of the public option for all sort of killed the best potential about it. Yet my counterpart in said discussion was adamantly of the opinion that anyone who dies in the US for not getting treatment dies purely because he/she didn't bother to get insurance and hence the system is not to blame.

    You've plenty of things where you lead the world, and the medical R & D and high level expertise in the US is unparalleled. However I do wish that more Americans would realize how much you're paying for simple base level health care. I've seen hospital invoices from the states where simple over the counter ibuprofen pills are billed at several dollars a piece. That's a a margin of several thousand percentages. The fact that this is allowed is unfathomable to me. Even if one is of the opinion that a life-saving basic service should be allowed to remain a profit-driven business, having no controls on pricing combined with the insurance lobby has created a gigantic price bubble. This is why the US spends combined (private and tax spending) the most money on the planet per capita on health care, and still the results are far from the top. (Source [wikipedia.org] (wiki))

    The profit motive needs to be either removed or curtailed heavily, so that more of the money that's spent can actually be used to improve the level of care and oversight, instead of just increasing the profits of the insurance giants and private hospitals.

    We get comparable treatment results and universal coverage (at about 3500 dollars a year per capita) than the US does when it comes to life expectancy, cancer survival rates (in fact, with certain types of cancers we're ahead of the US even) and so on. You spend more than DOUBLE that (8700 dollars according to OECD when totaling private and public spending, though interestingly, the CDC [cdc.gov] puts this figure even higher at 9500) and the massive increase in spending doesn't get you the kind of results that such an investment should.

    You could and should easily be able to arrange for the hands down best universal health care system without spending a dime more than you already are. Don't spend more, spend smarter.

    Just my 2 cents, feel free to mod me down for being a socialist scum now.

    • Re:Facing facts (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday May 04, 2016 @03:34AM (#52042651) Homepage

      America doesn't understand that certain things everyone has to pay for, and then everyone benefits from.

      Police and other emergency services
      Street lighting and road maintenance.

      Why anyone would want to involve a third-party insurance company into their payment of such things, or be able to "opt-out" of any of those, I can't fathom. You can't just say "Oh, I'll save a few dollars and the police won't be available to me". That's ridiculous and dangerous and burdensome.

      Same with healthcare. Provide basic healthcare for everyone. If you want, provide "above-and-beyond" healthcare that can be insured for. Like almost every other first-world country that provide "state" and "private" healthcare side by side.

      But if you need to pay into a fund just to ensure that if you accidentally break your leg you're not going to be put out on the streets because you can't work and/or pay the medical bills, then that fund needs to be centralised, non-profit and available to all. Not some private stash.

      You honestly might as well not have any healthcare at all, and just pay for the operations YOU need. It's honestly how it works out, but with a 50% profit for the insurers thrown in for good measure. At least without the insurers the poor would still die, the sick would still have to fund an unfair proportion according to how sick they are, but the insurers wouldn't be taking their cut.

      The biggest problem with America is that it doesn't see outside its own borders. The next is that, because of that, it thinks it's the best at everything. Sure, you're the best. If you never look at anyone else, ever. But the second you start to compare, it all falls apart.

      Maybe that's why they never do that comparison.

    • by Malc ( 1751 )

      There was an article in the New England Journal of Medicine back in 2003 that showed that the difference in spending between Canada and the US came down basically to the additional admin costs in the US:
      http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/1... [nejm.org]

      In fact it's unbelievable how much the admin costs are. It's interesting looking at those numbers and the ones you quoted, which if accurate surely show costs are increasing far faster than the rate of inflation.

  • And hey, they're right, but they're not infallible.

    Neither are computers, but they're closer.

    Right now, expert systems are ALREADY better than doctors at making diagnoses. The only part they can't handle is doing the actual inspection and questioning of the patient, and that part is coming fast.

    What will prevent us from using them? The AMA. They lobby to make it harder to become a doctor, in order to keep down the supply of health care professionals. The AMA is evil, and must be destroyed.

    • And hey, they're right, but they're not infallible.

      Yes and no. I've dated two doctors and a PA. One doctor was a surgeon and the other handled critical care at an ICU. About half of the doctors I met during that time were idiots - I would feel more comfortable making my own medical choices over having them make any. I'd let the nurse make decisions over some of those doctors. The PA knew her shit better than a lot of the doctors I met during the time I dated those three women. All of her doctor friends were geniuses. In my experience there are a lot

  • Medical errors leading to death is just another line item to our insurance industry. Being as it doesn't cost the industry anything for you to die (in fact they come out even further ahead at that point), there is no reason for them to do anything to prevent it. The insurance industry, far more than anyone else, dictates how much work a hospital or clinic needs to do in order to keep the lights on; they could bring down medical errors by lowering that threshold. Doing so would of course eat in to profits
  • So your are roughly 20 times more likely to be killed by a medical professional than by a firearm.
  • If medicine could treat any condition (including anything age-related), then the only thing people would die from are medical errors.
  • So statistically speaking, I'm safer around guns than doctors?

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.