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Updated -- 5 April 2004

Iatrogenic is defined as disease caused by medical examination or treatment.  This includes disease, illness, or death from Drug Reactions, Vaccines, irresponsibly prescribed drugs such as Ritalin, et al, turning a blind eye to the dangers of such approved (and deadly) chemicals as Aspartame, ignoring many societal caused maladies (everything from EMF Dangers to Computer Game Problems), disregarding negative effects of Mental Health on individual’s general welfare, and mistakes, errors, omissions, and blunders by hospitals, medical doctors, nurses, and other individuals in the mainstream medical establishment.  

Which is a bunch of stuff!  

An additional, indirect avenue of iatrogenic problems may be due to the prohibition and/or banning of those Inexpensive Remedies (such as Homeopathy or Essiac) and alternative medical treatments which are demonstrably beneficial in healing everything from cancer to cold sores.  The lack of research funding and attention to these alternatives is inexcusable, and can be explained only by the greed for money, status, and power of corporations, governments, associations, and influential (or influenced) individuals.  

Iatrogenic deaths -- if Drug Reactions alone are considered -- are easily the third leading cause of death in the United States.  Iatrogenic deaths might easily be the leading cause of death, if deaths attributed to other causes were, in fact, due to unrecognized iatrogenic means.  For example, elderly patients can be killed by mistake, even when they are suffering from diseases, illnesses, or general deterioration which might eventually result in their death.  In one case, a 92 year old woman with congestive heart failure (who was otherwise active and feeling fine) had a breast cancer biopsy, which sapped her strength to the extent she fell and broke her hip, and eventually died a month later from the complications of no longer being able to move from her bed.   

If we add the general discouragement and/or prohibition of alternative healing techniques to the mix -- along with the refusal to acknowledge (and therefore attempt to alleviate) the unhealthy practices of our society -- then it is entirely possible the medical establishment is by far the leading cause of death, pain and suffering in the United States.  

This is not to say that most medical doctors, nurses, and other members of the medical establishment are oblivious to the pain, suffering, and death of individuals under their care.  On the contrary, many are dedicated to healing, and are not motivated purely by financial and/or other gain.  But their medical training is dismal (if not criminal), they are bound to old Paradigms which assume something must be proven before it can exist, and they are often hamstrung by onerous rules and regulations which are intended for the primary purpose of enriching Medical Organizations, and indirectly their officers, directors, shareholders, those members of Congress and legislatures under their pay, and the various research, medical schools, and promotional associations which they fund and of which they demand complete obedience in return.  

It is noteworthy, for example, that:  

            There are more people making a good living in research or treatment of cancer than there are individuals suffering from the disease in its various manifestations.   

            There is more money spent by Medicare for treatment of individuals in their last two months of life than for all of the rest of Medicare expenses in total.   

            There is now a concerted effort on the part of drug corporations -- with the aid and comfort of governments and medical associations -- to invent out of thin air, new “diseases and ailments” for which a particular corporation(s) just happens to have a cure -- but which, unfortunately, turns out to be a very expensive cure -- one which is also very beneficial to the bottom line of the corporate profit statement!


An enormously important report concerning iatrogenics is Death by Medicine. This report is essential reading for anyone thinking or concerned about their health or the health of someone -- anyone -- they care about. A few of the choice tidbits -- i.e. shock and awe facts -- from the report include:

Over a ten year period, statistics show 7.8 million iatrogenic deaths, a number which is more than all the casualties from wars that the United States has fought in its entire history -- just to put the problem into some sort of perspective.

Over the same ten year period, figures show that a total of 164 million people, approximately 56% of the population of the United States , have been treated unnecessarily by the medical industry – nearly 50,000 people per day.

Incredibly, only about 5 to 20% of iatrogenic incidents are even recorded. This would increase the ten year iatrogenic deaths to something on the order of 39 to 156 million deaths in the United States alone! Furthermore, outpatient iatrogenic statistics only include drug-related events and not surgical cases, diagnostic errors, or therapeutic mishaps.

90% of upper respiratory infections, including children's ear infections, are viral, and antibiotics don't treat viral infection. More than 40% of about 50 million prescriptions for antibiotics each year in physicians' offices were inappropriate. And using antibiotics, when not needed, can lead to the development of deadly strains of bacteria that are resistant to drugs and cause more than 88,000 deaths due to hospital-acquired infections. In essence, antibiotics are anti-life.

The United States ' water supply is saturated with prescription drugs, with every body of water tested containing measurable drug residues. Antibiotics used in animal farming run off into the water table and surrounding bodies of water. Flushed down toilets are tons of drugs and drug metabolites that also find their way into our water supply. The long-term consequences of ingesting a mixture of drugs and drug-breakdown products on people's health is unknown. This is another level of iatrogenic disease that is difficult to completely measure.

According to one report, t here is no direct evidence that chemotherapy prolongs survival in patients with advanced carcinoma. In small-cell lung cancer and perhaps ovarian cancer the therapeutic benefit is only slight. “Many oncologists take it for granted that response to therapy prolongs survival, an opinion which is based on a fallacy and which is not supported by clinical studies."

In 1974, the Congressional Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce found that 17.6% of recommendations for surgery were not confirmed by a second opinion. Roughly 30% of controversial surgeries were unnecessary. [Controversial surgeries include Cesarean section, tonsillectomy, appendectomy, hysterectomy, gastrectomy for obesity, breast implants, and elective breast implants.] Extrapolations of these results suggest that as of 2001, there were 7.5 million unnecessary surgical procedures resulting in 37,136 deaths at a cost of $122 billion (using 1974 dollars).

For example, in 2001, Cesarean section is still the most common OB/GYN surgical procedure. Approximately 4 million births occur annually, with a 24% C-Section rate, i.e., 960,000 operations. In the Netherlands only 8% of babies are delivered by Cesarean section. Assuming human babies are similar in the U.S. and in the Netherlands, we are performing 640,000 unnecessary C-Sections in the U.S. with its three to four times higher mortality and 20 times greater morbidity than vaginal delivery.

"When the number one killer in a society is the healthcare system, then, that system has no excuse except to address its own urgent shortcomings. It's a failed system in need of immediate attention. What we have outlined in this paper are insupportable aspects of our contemporary medical system that need to be changed - beginning at its very foundations."


It is worth noting that the February 2004 issue of the Idaho Observer referenced the Death by Medicine report, and noted that "The Nutritional Institute of America (NIA) recently announced its research findings that iatrogenic (doctor-induced) disease has replaced heart disease as the #1 killer of Americans." The Idaho Observer went on to note that "The report indicated that the numbers could be much worse. A study of two hospitals found that nurses intercepted 86 percent of medication errors before they reached patients.   The observer then provided a link to the complete report: http://www.nutritioninstituteofamerica.org/research/DeathByMedicine which a few months later had disappeared from the net. Clearly Corporate Politics was not enjoying the expose and Pharmacidal had struck yet another blow against the people.

The only conclusion worth drawing is that individuals must ultimately be responsible for their own health.  As noted in Health and Responsibility, every individual is the creator of their own destiny, and that includes their physical health, as well as their Mental Health.  The latter, of course, enormously influences the former, and it can be said (on a more positive note): 

I think well; therefore I am well.


Health and Responsibility         Drug Pushers

Or forward to:

Drug Reactions         Vaccines         Ritalin, et al         Drug Enforcers 

Medical Organizations         Inexpensive Remedies         Mental Health



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