250,000 Deaths Per Year May Be Due To Iatrogenic Causes

September 11, 2000

(SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS)A commentary by Dr. Barbara Starfield of Johns Hopkins in the July 26, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol 284) states that the health of the US population is not as good as in many other countries, and deaths within the healthcare system itself may account for the third leading cause of death in the US, only behind heart disease and cancer. The article states that 250,000 deaths per year are due to iatrogenic causes-unfavorable responses to medical or surgical treatments. Some examples of these causes include unnecessary medication and surgery, infections in hospitals, and negative effects of drugs. For more information, visit www.jama.com.