Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

A study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on May 3, 2016 found that Medical error is the third leading cause of death representing at least 251,000 deaths per year in the United States. The study by Dr Martin Makery and Dr Michael Daniel from the John's Hopkins Department of Surgery is more comprehensive than previous studies.

The Washington Post reported that:

Makary's research involves a more comprehensive analysis of four large studies, including ones by the Health and Human Services Department's Office of the Inspector General and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that took place between 2000 to 2008. His calculation of 251,000 deaths equates to nearly 700 deaths a day -- about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States.

The Washington Post reported Mackery as stating:

"When a plane crashes, we don’t say this is confidential proprietary information the airline company owns. We consider this part of public safety. Hospitals should be held to the same standards,"

Medical error is the third leading cause of death in the US. Very few doctors face serious repercussions for their errors. People have the right to have greater protection in medical facilities. The lives of patients and patient safety must be the priority in medicine. 

This study does not indicate how many injuries or long-term health issues are caused by medical error.

Legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide is not safe because it enables doctors to cover-up their medical errors by approving death for patients who are unnecessarily suffering.

Nancy Elliott testifies against assisted suicide in Rhode Island

Nancy Elliott

Nancy Elliott

This is the testimony by Nancy Elliott, a former three term state representative from New Hampshire and a member of the EPC- International team. Nancy was given two minutes to testify in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island debates assisted suicide.

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Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia opens a huge avenue for elder abuse, from gentle coercion from medical personal to things much more sinister, particularly when the senior has money. It also discriminates against people with disabilities as most people that would qualify for this act are at that time disabled. Healthy people are protected from suicide while disabled people are steered to it. (Link to an article about some of the abuses in Washington and Oregon). It also encourages suicide in the general population. If grandma and grandpa kill themselves, when life gets hard, so will their children and grandchildren. It is a bad public policy. 

When suicide is a "treatment" for certain illnesses, it creates a lower standard in our overall healthcare. When doctors end the life of their patients for having certain diseases, that discourages looking for new cures or treatments. This encourages the mentality to just give up and die. This bill as with the others I have read, is not about people that are necessarily dying. A young person with insulin dependent diabetes would qualify. 

There are financial winners with Assisted Suicide. Where this is legal, state insurance has denied treatment to some patients, while offering to pay for their suicide. We all know someone that got an incorrect diagnosis from their doctor. With assisted suicide on the table, that diagnosis can lead to a deadly mistake, having the patient throw away their lives. At a recent Massachusetts hearing a doctor that was for assisted suicide was talking about what a good doctor was. He said that doctors need to "guide people to the right choice." As he is a proponent for assisted suicide is there any doubt what he or other doctors like him will steer their patients toward. For these reasons and many more we in the New Hampshire house have rejected assisted suicide/euthanasia. The last time was in 2014 where it was defeated on the floor of the House by 219 to 66. Liberals, Conservatives and Libertarians joined together to protect our citizens from this form of exploitation. I urge the Rhode Island House of Representatives to reject it too.

Nancy Elliott
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition - International - US