Wednesday, March 14

"It depends on who is dead and from what"

Guest post by Brad Lena:
The reality of death in the modern era

It should come as a surprise to no one that death, along with much of modern life, has been politicized, monetized and utilized by both private and public sectors. In the before time it was taken for granted that death caused anguish, loss and suffering among the family, friends and acquaintances of the dead. Not anymore; if a death does not fall into one of appropriate categories its aftershocks are of little import to modern sensibilities

According to a 1999 Institute of Medicine estimate, approximately 98,000 people die annually in American hospitals due to incompetence and error. 
Then came a 2013 study published in the Journal of Patient Safety. From ProPublica's article on the study:

... between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death.
A 2016 study published in BMJ (formerly British Journal of Medicine) titled Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US, which built on the 2013 study, put the estimated total of hospital deaths annually from medical errors at 251,454 -- "surpassing the CDC’s stated third-leading cause of death, respiratory disease, which kills close to 150,000 people per year" as Stat's article on the 2016 study noted.

Much of the reason for the wide discrepancy in the estimates is due to how the cause of death is recorded. From Stat:
Currently, deaths are categorized based on insurance billing codes, which sometimes miss the true cause of death
The insurance code is based on the death certificate code. From the 2016 study:
... a major limitation of the death certificate is that it relies on assigning an International Classification of Disease (ICD) code to the cause of death.(1) As a result, causes of death not associated with an ICD code, such as human and system factors, are not captured. 
While the authors of the study are hopeful that improving methods of recording will mean more accurate counts of deaths due to medical errors (including incorrect medications, surgical mishaps, and wrong diagnoses), as it stands now annual deaths in America from medical errors are substantial, no matter which estimate is cited. However, it's not only the errors in themselves:
“There’s vast underrecognition, underpreparation, and underfunding of the problem of medical care gone awry, even though it has a significant impact on public health,” said Dr. Martin Makary, professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and lead author on the [2016] paper.
Dr Makary also noted, "People don’t just die of billing codes."

But they die in large numbers because of a medical industry that takes advantage of the limitations in billing codes to consistently obscure deaths from medical errors.

Where are the politicians and social justice warriors? Why aren't they protesting the outrage? 

The reality is that in their time of need innocent people turn to hospitals as sources of healing, rehabilitation and restoration and they die by the tens of thousands. They are blindsided, never expecting to be killed rather than given a chance at healing or life. 

And what of those maimed and crippled by medical errors? What are the numbers for them? What of the suffering, the loss and hardship?

If someone is killed by a gun, politicians and SJWs 
will come out of the woodwork to demand the slaughter cease. Death by guns totaled approximately 33,500 in 2015. But 60% or so of the gun deaths were from suicide

My guess is that the families and friends suffer just as much from the gunshot suicide of a loved one as those shot to death by a criminal or the mentally ill. 

Yet which cause of gun death is given greater prominence? Judging by the sparse public attention to the issue perhaps suicides are not as politically viable as gunshot murders. 

Is death the great equalizer? In the modern era? I would say it depends on who is dead and from what. 


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