Unreliable Anti-Vaccination Websites:
Mercola
(http://www.mercola.com)


"Doctors Are The Third Leading Cause of Death in the US, Causing 250,000 Deaths Every Year"


This is one of many pages on the Mercola site that I find misleading. You can see the page here . This page appears to blame all doctors in an attempt to discredit the entire profession. Here is a quote used to describe this kind of tactic: "Ridicule and invective are used when one canít attack someone any other way other than to attempt to make them look venal, stupid or cruel."

For some, it's simply not enough to disagree or refute findings or information, but there seems a need to make generalizations and attempt to discredit an entire group or profession based on anecdotal information. This page takes its information from a JAMA article by Dr. Barbara Starfield entitled "Is US Health Really the Best in the World?". For some reason, the direct link to the actual article by Starfield is not provided - it can be read here .

In the traditional sense, lay people equate iatrogenic with "CAUSED BY" physician but there are iatrogenic events that, of course, have (1) nothing to do with physicians; and (2) are not due to an error. In the article, the author states: "For example, US estimates of the combined effect of errors and adverse effects that occur because of iatrogenic damage not associated with recognizable error include...".

There are adverse outcomes with no recognizable error - all lumped into the category of iatrogenic. It's hardly fair to assign all iatrogenic problems to doctors. This is why the phrase "doctors are the 3rd leading cause..." is completely inaccurate and is not what the article in JAMA even implies. Although the title is catchy, the conclusions are unsubstantiated.


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