An astonishing new article from JAMA Internal Medicine reveals that at least 150,000 people per year may be needlessly killed, rendered disabled, or otherwise harmed due to misdiagnoses in doctors' offices. Johns Hopkins, whose researchers authored this study, have been documenting epidemic levels of preventable medical errors in all sorts of new venues lately. Last year, it found that surgeons leave behind foreign objects, operate on the wrong site or even the wrong patient at least 4,000 times a year. In another study, it found:
As many as 40,500 critically ill patients in the United States may die annually when clinicians fail to diagnose hidden life-threatening conditions such as heart attack and stroke. The unexpectedly high frequency of deadly misdiagnosis in hospital intensive care units or ICUs was "surprising and alarming," said Dr. Bradford Winters, the lead author of the study.
Does anyone really think the problem with health care quality today is that doctors are ordering -- and insurance companies are paying for -- too many tests? Yet incredibly, that's been the mantra of the medical lobbies for a number of number of years now. Their argument goes something like this: