Death by Medicine - 3
Gary Null PhD, Carolyn Dean MD ND, Martin Feldman MD
Debora Rasio MD, Dorothy Smith PhD
October 2003

Note: The information on this website is not a substitute for diagnosis and treatment by a qualified, licensed professional.


Never before have the complete statistics on the multiple causes of iatrogenesis been combined in one paper. Medical science amasses tens of thousands of papers annually - each one a tiny fragment of the whole picture. To look at only one piece and try to understand the benefits and risks is to stand one inch away from an elephant and describe everything about it. You have to pull back to reveal the complete picture, such as we have done here. Each specialty, each division of medicine, keeps their own records and data on morbidity and mortality like pieces of a puzzle. But the numbers and statistics were always hiding in plain sight. We have now completed the painstaking work of reviewing thousands and thousands of studies. Finally putting the puzzle together we came up with some disturbing answers.

Is American Medicine Working?

At 14% of the Gross National Product, healthcare spending reached $1.6 trillion in 2003.15 Considering this enormous expenditure, we should have the best medicine in the world. We should be reversing disease, preventing disease, and doing minimal harm. However, careful and objective review shows the opposite. Because of the extraordinary narrow context of medical technology through which contemporary medicine examines the human condition, we are completely missing the full picture. Medicine is not taking into consideration the following monumentally important aspects of a healthy human organism: (a) stress and how it adversely affects the immune system and life processes; (b) insufficient exercise; (c) excessive caloric intake; (d) highly-processed and denatured foods grown in denatured and chemically-damaged soil; and (e) exposure to tens of thousands of environmental toxins. Instead of minimizing these disease-causing factors, we actually cause more illness through medical technology, diagnostic testing, overuse of medical and surgical procedures, and overuse of pharmaceutical drugs. The huge disservice of this therapeutic strategy is the result of little effort or money being appropriated for preventing disease.

Under-reporting of Iatrogenic Events

As few as 5% and only up to 20% of iatrogenic acts are ever reported.16,24,25,33,34 This implies that if medical errors were completely and accurately reported, we would have a much higher annual iatrogenic death rate than 783,936. Dr. Leape, in 1994, said his figure of 180,000 medical mistakes annually was equivalent to three jumbo-jet crashes every two days.16 Our report shows that 6 jumbo jets are falling out of the sky each and every day.

Correcting a Compromised System

What we must deduce from this report is that medicine is in need of complete and total reform: from the curriculum in medical schools to protecting patients from excessive medical intervention. It is quite obvious that we can