Accidental Deaths: Doctors vs. Gun Owners

There are approximately 700,000 physicians in the US who cause approximately 100,000 adverse drug reaction (ADR) deaths and 200,000 deaths annually. Some reports estimate more than 800,000 preventable deaths annually. But if we accept a conservative estimate of 120,000 preventable deaths annually, the accidental death rate per physician would be 0.171.

Conversely, there are 80 million gun owners in the US who cause approximately 1,500 accidental deaths annually. This means that the rate of accidental death per gun owner is .000188.

This means that, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more likely to accidentally kill someone than gun owners.

While not everyone owns a gun, almost everyone has at least one doctor.

Remember, “Guns don’t kill people, doctors do.”

5 Responses to “Accidental Deaths: Doctors vs. Gun Owners”

  1. 1 Eric N. Grosch, MD says

    I see no authority referenced for the figures cited. The Harvard Medical Practice Study, for example, lumped all errors under two categories, medical and surgical. “Preventable” surgical errors caused more deaths than did “preventable” medical errors, according to that study, so the distribution of deaths, among various “providers” is inhomogeneous. Under each category, errors by physicians and errors by nurses, perhaps also by other “providers,” such as physicians’ assistants, respiratory therapists, lab technicians, etc., were lumped together, not differentiated, so not all “preventable” deaths are attributable to physicians. Indeed, a minority of “preventable” deaths may be attributable to physicians. The methods of the Harvard Medical Practice Study were opaque, i.e., no reader could verify any of the conclusions for himself. The underlying message was, “We’re from Harvard; trust us.” I, for one, do not trust any opaque study, irrespective of its origin. Unless I can verify the figures by reproducing them myself, using the methods cited, the figures are simply not trustworthy.

    The qualitative nature of the quantitative estimates cited is troubling. Who determined those figures? Using what methods? What is the definition of ADR? Does wrong dose, given by nurse, under order for a different dose count? Does wrong drug, given by a nurse, in response to a physician’s order for another drug count? Were the deaths weighted for severity of clinical conditions? For example, does the “preventable” death of a frail, 99-year-old, with disseminated lung-cancer, cardiac failure and renal failure, on hemodialysis, count as much as the “preventable” death of a robust, 20-year-old athlete, whose only malady was gonococcal septic arthritis of the knee? For those and other reasons, the term, “preventable” is a loaded term. Who decided whether a death was preventable and by what means? It is not clear in the Harvard Medical Practice Study, nor is it clear in any of the other similar studies I’ve seen, that claimed to apply similar methods and that were likewise opaque. Patients in hospitals are generally sick, therefore, under threat of death from any number of causes. Doct0rs don’t kill people; diseases do. Comparing airline-passengers or victims of gun-shooters with hospitalized patients is therefore an inherently specious exercise and dividing the number of “preventable deaths” by the number of physicians is therefore a specious method of estimating number of preventable deaths per physician.

  2. 2 Grotti, MD, FCCP says

    This is too ignorant to even warrant an intelligent argument.

  3. 3 admin says

    This was originally posted as depreciating humor. Nevertheless, the hyperlinks speak for themselves.

  4. 4 JayZee says

    Here’s eight words you never want to hear…

    “The infectious disease Doctor will see you now.”



  5. 5 Bob Farrell says

    What do they call the last class ranked memebr in a medical class to graduate?

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