Medical Malpractice on Guns
Medical errors account for hundreds of thousands of deaths annually. Guns don't.
According to CDC statistics, heart disease took the lives of 611,000 people in the U.S. in 2013, making it the country’s number one cause of death. Number two on the list is cancer, which killed 585,000. But the third most common cause of death in all likelihood is something that doesn’t appear in the CDC’s rankings. According to a new analysis by Martin A. Makary and Michael Daniel of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, medical mistakes account for the deaths of 251,454 Americans every year.
Makary and Daniel stress that, in their opinion, this figure probably “understates the true incidence of death due to medical error because the studies cited rely on errors extractable in documented health records and include only inpatient deaths.” So it’s possible the true number is much higher. Regardless, they write, “Comparing our estimate to CDC rankings suggests that medical error is the third most common cause of death in the U.S.”
This news caught the attention of Dan Zimmerman, who made this damning observation: “And yet leading lights like the Surgeon General claim ‘gun violence,’ which results in only a fraction of that number of deaths, is the critical public health crisis of our time.” In October 2012, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy tweeted, “Tired of politicians playing politics w/guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue.” He reaffirmed that position last year. Perhaps the CDC should revise its list to account for what always has and always will be our greatest threat — government officials who wrongly think they know what’s best for you.