Sanjay Gupta, writing an opinion piece in the New York Times, suggests reasons why so many medical mistakes are said to occur in the nation. Gupta cites an estimate of roughly 200,000 patient deaths from medical mistakes every year, which would make it one of the leading causes of death.
Gupta suggests mistakes of “ignorance” and “recklessness,” among others, which can lead a physician to make a grievous error that ultimately kills a patient. When it comes to prescription drugs like Pradaxa, a drug which is not well understood by the health care community at large, ignorance is the type of medical mistake that could lead to a patient’s death.
While the FDA does not recommend that you stop taking Pradaxa if it’s been prescribed to you by a doctor, as that could increase the risk of stroke, the adverse consequences from mismanaging the dose can be severe. This is why a doctor’s ignorance could prove so damaging to a patient.
“Since 1996,” Gupta writes, “the percentage of doctor visits leading to at least five drugs being prescribed has nearly tripled…”
With all these drugs being prescribed, and pharmaceutical sales reps eager to make their commissions, and the drug companies themselves promoting their drugs with abandon (sometimes even crossing the line into criminal promotion), it’s no wonder why there are 200,000 estimated deaths from medical mistakes every year.
As the title of Gupta’s opinion piece goes: “More treatment, more mistakes.”