Archive for September 28, 2010

Who Kills More: Doctors or Convicted Murderers?

September 28, 2010 27 comments

OK, here is a question?

Who is responsible for more preventable deaths: An average doctor or a median convicted murderer?

Important: I am not counting deaths due to physician errors, oversight, unclear disease presentations, problems with diagnosing uncommon diseases, lab test errors, hospital administrative errors, equipment malfunction etc.

I am restricting my definition of preventable deaths caused by physicians to the following categories:

1] Physicians who prescribe drugs known to increase net mortality without any therapeutic effect on the disease/ condition being treated (Example- COX-2 Inhibitors for Inflammation, Atypical anti-psychotics for senile dementias or “difficult kids” etc).

2] Physicians who give information that has been shown to have no basis in reality, and is actually harmful. (Putting Type-2 Diabetics on a low-fat/ high-carb diet, advising against moderate alcohol consumption for patients who have survived a MI- heart attack)

3] Physicians who knowingly prescribe drugs/therapies that do not increase survival to any worthwhile extent but are very expensive and have serious side effects (anti-cancer “therapies” for most metastatic cancers)

4] Physicians who direct or mislead patients into surgeries or therapies that are expensive, result in a much poorer quality of life when less expensive/ invasive options are available (most cases of prostate cancer in the post-65 age group can be managed with drugs/targeted local irradiation as opposed to surgery which is expensive, causes tons of problems and has a very marginal effect on survival).

What do you think?


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