How many time have you sat glued to your television weeping over the loss of a major tragic event? The media flashes pictures of men, women and children on the screen, all lives lost. While these events are massive tragedies that severely break our hearts, so are the over 250,000 lives that are lost each year in North America due to medical mistakes.
This is equivalent to several hundred of these tragedies. Yet, most people probably don’t even realize that this is happening.
Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2000 showed that causes of death broke down as follows: 106,000 from the negative effects of prescribed drugs, 12,000 from unnecessary surgery, 7,000 from drugs administered by error, 20,000 from other errors and 80,000 from infections caught while in the hospital.
In 2003, there were 181,000 serious injuries that were attributed to medical negligence.
One in three Americans say that they or a family member has experienced a medical error. Recent U.S. studies show that medical error is the third leading cause of death in the United States. More people die each year than those from car accidents, breast cancer or AIDS.
Although great advances have been made in medical technology and application, (modern medicine has substantially improved infant mortality rates; our trauma units are second to none when it comes to life-threatening accidents) these are serious statistics that obviously indicate a fracture in the system somewhere.
While we sometimes never question the norm and what has been the standard for many years, Sally Beare, author of 50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People, notes that drugs and surgery are not always the best solution for chronic degenerative diseases.
This includes heart disease, digestive disease and cancer. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 90% of patients who visit the doctor have conditions that will improve on their own or are out of modern medicine’s ability to solve.
Thinking About Prevention
Our modern medical system is not based on a preventative framework but is, rather, symptom-based. Moving towards preventative thought and action could save hundreds of thousands of lives each year.
On an individual basis, statistics such as these should encourage us all to make changes in our lives to propel us towards better health and a higher quality of life. Lifestyle choices are paramount. A healthy diet, exercise and stress management, top the list as far as those actions that can keep disease and early death at bay.
We are, in the end, responsible for our own health. Accidents happen, and we may need the attention of skilled doctors to help fix broken parts. However, we should not expect to live our life with wanton disrespect for what the body needs to be healthy and expect that a physician or even modern medicine will be able to fix us!
If we know that a healthy lifestyle greatly reduces our chances of chronic disease, illness and impairment, why don’t more of us take care of our bodies when we are well? Why do we wait until our health declines? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below…
– The Alternative Daily