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American Patient Safety Crusade Politics

August 14, 2016

Heartland Policy Advisors John Dale Dunn and Gerard Gianoli debunk a widely publicized report by alarmists claiming medical error is the third-leading cause of death in the United States.

Excerpt from their article at American Thinker:

On May 3, 2016, the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) renewed a patient safety and medical negligence scaremongering campaign by publishing an article authored by cancer surgeon Martin Makary, M.D. and Michael Daniel, a research fellow, both faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  In the article, the authors claim that 250,000 Americans die in hospitals every year due to neglectful and incompetent treatment by nurses and physicians.  Dr. Makary has, as an avocation, patient safety research and advocacy.

The title of the Makary article in the BMJ created a splash and coverage by the general media with widespread publicity, as intended.  For example, "Medical error – the third leading cause of death in the US."  However, it is our assertion that the authors' claim plays to publication bias and the propaganda of a patient safety crusade that repeatedly exaggerates and invents a scare about hospital care negligence.  Behind this is a crusade that promotes government control of health care.

Makary and Daniel wrote a ridiculously short and superficial essay for a major journal like the BMJ; put up their claim of negligence deaths, cobbling together references from studies that were 8-16 years old; and performed no original research here.

Continue reading at American Thinker:
John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D., is an emergency physician in Brownwood, Texas. He is board-certified in emergency medicine and legal medicine and has been an inactive attorney for 35 years.
Dr. Gerard J. Gianoli specializes in Neuro-otology and Skull Base Surgery and is a Policy Advisor to The Heartland Institute.