When I wrote Death by Modern Medicine, I simply added up government death statistics on Hospital ADRs (adverse drug reactions), Medical Errors, Bedsores, Infections, Malnutrition, Outpatient ADRs, Unnecessary Procedures, and Surgery-Related Deaths to obtain a 1 million iatrogenic and premature annual death total. But I didn’t write about misdiagnosis, which is the topic of this Medscape article, “‘Big Three’ Diseases Account for Most Diagnostic Error Harm.”
Note: The original iatrogenic study was the National Academy of Medicine’s blockbuster in 1999 “To Err Is Human”, which estimated the number of preventable medical error deaths at around 44,000-98,000 per year. Since then several studies have been done to disprove this number but ended up accounting for even more deaths. The meme that iatrogenesis is the 3rd largest cause of death sticks in the craw of allopathic medicine and they choose not to believe it.
However, according to a new analysis of nearly 12,000 malpractice claims, published in Diagnosis, the top three are vascular events, infections, and cancers, accounting for 75% of diagnostic errors. Statistically, 64% of diagnostic errors lead to death or permanent disability. The average cost is $766,000 per highly severe case. The study identified 11,592 cases of diagnostic error for the years 2006–2015. The cases represent 28.7% of all US malpractice claims. Of those, 7379 resulted in permanent disability or death.
An interesting fact is that “malpractice claims represent just 1.5% of medically negligent care events, so the results of the study barely scratch the surface. The author estimated that the overall total societal cost is more than $100 billion annually. It’s almost unbelievable that only 1.5% of iatrogenic events end in malpractice claims and the $100 billion, which must be paid by us, the taxpayers.
The author says the study helped them “gain insights into how to move the ball forward to fix this problem, but only if we work together and commit seriously to making a difference in this area.” But I’m saying that the studies I referenced back in the first edition of Death by Modern Medicine in 2005, should have given us “insights” back then. Unfortunately the problems kept escalating. In the 2014 edition of Death by Modern Medicine the death count did not decrease as it should have, regrettably it increased by a few hundred thousand.
The Medscape article jumped back and forth trying to figure out what to do about this mess. Of course they didn’t come up with any actionable plan. They said it was a “systems issue” and they admitted that there was no funding for tackling the misdiagnosis problem; in 2016 only $7 million was allotted federally. They said that was less than the government spends each year on smallpox, which was eradicated half a century ago.
The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) is one body that’s looking at misdiagnosis. In 2015, SIDM launched the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis. This is how they describe themselves – a collaboration involving professional societies, healthcare management organizations, hospital/health systems, patient organizations, medical education and training programs, insurers, quality and safety groups, measurement-assessment boards, laboratory organizations, and federal liaisons. Medical specialty organizations involved in the coalition include the American Board of Internal Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American Association of Medical Colleges, and the Society of Hospital Medicine.
Sounds impressive doesn’t it – but to my mind, the whole operation is probably like herding cats; all the energy goes into organizing people and groups of people. It looks good on the surface; people say, “Oh, we have all these people on board”, but it’s all window dressing. I’ve never liked big groups or group meetings because everyone has their own agenda and every group has its head honcho who wants to run the meetings. It’s usually quite a mess.
I guess the SIDM realized they weren’t getting far so in 2018 they launched ACT for Better Diagnosis, an effort aimed at “identifying and spreading practical steps that everyone throughout the healthcare system — patients, physicians, nurses, health system leaders, laboratory scientists, and others — can take to improve diagnosis.”
The data in the Medscape article comes from a three-part study funded by SIDM. ACT for Better Diagnosis gives a detailed description of their call to action, which I will edit for brevity:
Diagnosis is complex. There are more than 10,000 known diseases and more than 5,000 laboratory tests in medicine today. Any one symptom may have many possible explanations.
Improving diagnosis requires the cooperation of many different groups and will not happen overnight… however, improved diagnosis is a “moral, professional, and public health imperative” and…we request and propose a strategy to enhance scientific research “to improve diagnosis in healthcare.”
Let me unpack these words in a more commonsense, practical way that can actually help solve the problem of misdiagnosis.
With more than 10,000 diseases and 5,000 lab tests, allopathic medicine has become their own worst enemy because they keep naming more and more diseases. Their conscious or subconscious reasoning for “naming disease” is to find a drug or surgery to treat that disease. They should also have mentioned that there are tens of thousands of drugs that doctors have to learn about in order to treat according to allopathic medicine’s rules.
My thesis is that many of these “new diseases” fall into the category of nutrient-deficiency diseases and/or yeast overgrowth. I expose the 65 major health conditions and symptoms that are really misdiagnosed magnesium deficiency conditions in my 2017 edition of The Magnesium Miracle.
Yeast overgrowth created by the overuse of antibiotics, steroids, and a high sugar diet, causes the build up of 178 yeast toxins an layers of subclinical infections with viruses and bacteria that can cause undiagnosable conditions and symptoms.
Identifying these two major causes of disease allows you to treat them by using stabilized ionic minerals, ReMag, ReMyte, and Pico Silver and going on a yeast detox protocol. In my experience this approach clears up the vast majority of problems, including Total Body Meltdown.
Symptoms that remain can then be explored and diagnosed by allopathic medicine and also may lend themselves to natural therapies including my Completement Formulas, Homeopathy, a Total Biology consultation, Egoscue body alignment, and other modalities described in my free Future Health Now Encyclopedia.
Here is a list of 65 conditions and symptoms that may be caused by magnesium deficiency and may not even occur if you are properly saturated with magnesium. Obviously it’s this information that should be studied and by researchers.
- Acid reflux
- Adrenal fatigue
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Blood clots
- Bowel disease –
- Brain dysfunction
- Bruxism or teeth grinding
- Cholesterol elevation
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Diabetes –
- Heart disease
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Kidney disease
- Kidney stones –
31. Muscle cramps
34. GI spasms
35. Tension headaches
36. Muscle spasms
37. Chronic neck and back pain
38. Jaw tension
Neuralgia, Neuritis, Neuropathy Burning pain
39. Burning Pain
40. Muscle weakness
43. Pins-and-needles sensations
44. Seizures and convulsions
45. Skin sensitivity
50. Ob/Gyne problems
51. Premenstrual syndrome
53. Premature contractions
54. Preeclampsia and eclampsia
55. Cerebral palsy
56. Sudden infant death syndrome
57. Male infertility
59. Parkinson’s disease
60. Raynaud’s syndrome
61. Sports injuries
62. Sports recovery
64. Tongue biting
65. Tooth decay
Instead of exploring alternatives to make people healthier; promoting the remineralization of organic farms for the improvement of the food supply; offering incentives to the public for improving lifestyle; and, in my world, getting people on the Completement Formulas – allopathic medicine wants to “propel research forward to improve diagnostic quality and safety.” Sheesh. Put the money to better use – stop subsidizing endless research that just concludes that they need more research!
And we have to stop pretending to try and solve problems by having endless meetings. It’s difficult to organize 2 people let along 50 organizations and hundreds of people. I tend to think that it’s all just smoke and mirrors to make the public think that something is actually being done.
Like I said, the practical, doable, effective steps are for patients to treat themselves for nutrients deficiencies and yeast overgrowth!
As I mentioned above, the report should have included the mistreatment of patients. The following review comes to a shocking conclusion that it’s “Time to Jettison Nearly 400 Medical Practices.”
The authors of this study, published in an online journal called eLife, reviewed 3017 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) conducted over the past 16 years. They focused on 3 well-recognized medical journals – The Lancet, JAMA, and NEJM.“The investigators identified 396 medical reversals or practices found through RCTs to be no better than a previous or lesser standard of care. reversal.”
We are led to believe that when a study is done and proves that a treatment is ineffective that result will be communicated to doctors so they won’t waste time, money, effort and patient’s well being on ineffective therapies. But that is unfortunately not the case.
Ineffective therapies were found in every specialty, with cardiovascular disease being the most common medical category (20%), followed by public health/preventive medicine (12%) and critical care (11%).In my previous blog “Magnesium or Biologics for Inflammation” I talked about a new anti-inflammatory drug that only had a 15% positive outcome for heart disease that was put before the FDA for approval – and thankfully it was rejected. Such is the state of cardiovascular medicine today, they are desperate for some breakthrough but they keep coming up against more brick walls because they don’t acknowledge the simple fact that magnesium deficiency plays a huge role.
What we would like to know is how many of these inappropriate treatment continue to be used. But this important information is not addressed in the study even though the authors admit that “low-value practices can erode trust in the medical system and means patients spend time and money on practices that are ineffective.”
The authors apologize for the excuses that doctors give for not being on top of their game. They say “it can be hard for physicians to keep up with the published literature because of time constraints. And it takes time to conduct a good randomized study, and sometimes there isn’t the luxury of time when you have a very sick patient with few good options (e.g., patients with cancer).”
I would add that doctors are kept from learning about nutrient deficiencies and treating complex health problems with simple solutions like magnesium. The FDA even prevents supplement companies from saying that their products might help you with an illness – a company can only cite structure and function claims. Supplement companies are not even allowed to educate doctors about the health benefits of dietary supplements. This makes it very difficult for patients to find alternatives to drugs.
The authors do admit the role drugs play in this picture. They say “drug prices alone surpassed the increase in aggregate healthcare spending, the identification and disuse of costly and ineffective (or possibly harmful) medications and practices are especially important.” They say “through this research, we hope that more develop critical eyes and demand well-done randomized trials before accepting treatments into their practice. While this may not directly affect systemic changes in companies and governmental agencies, it may influence future decisions and put pressure on these powers to come up with stronger evidence for new practices.”
With such a wishy washy conclusion to this important study it’s obvious that the authors don’t expect anything to be done with their research. It’s up to you to get involved with your own health care and wellness journey.
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Carolyn Dean MD ND
The Doctor of the Future®
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