Secrecy shields medical mishaps from public view

Americans know exactly how many people die from car accidents each year because lawmakers decided long ago that was a step toward preventing them. Motor vehicle deaths are the No. 1 cause of accidental death in the Unites States, with more than 43,600 deaths in 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The next three causes – poisoning, firearms and falls – account for 90,000 deaths, combined.

…All of the available research indicates that the death toll from preventable medical injuries and infections approaches 200,000 per year in the United States.

Today, both the AMA and the hospital association continue to oppose requiring public reports of hospital errors. AMA officials say they support voluntary reporting but still have the same concerns about mandatory reporting as they did a decade ago.

The Sickness Industry is about 40 years behind the times. When Ralph Nader was fighting the automobile industry to save tens of thousands of lives each year from carmakers who wanted to save money more than lives, he fought the same irrational arguments. The car people even played dirtier games:

In early March 1966, several media outlets, including The New Republic and the New York Times, alleged that GM had tried to discredit Nader, hiring private detectives to tap his phones and investigate his past, and hiring prostitutes to trap him in compromising situations.

The AMA and the American Hospital Association want to continue to allow 200,000 people to die every year of a preventable problem. Ten years ago they fought a threat of legislation. And today, the evidence is saying they have done nothing and the rate of medical errors is going up.

Literally, medical errors due to a lackadaisical attitude toward public health amongst the leaders of our healthcare system is the number one threat to your life as an American. It’s about time we pass the equivalent of the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. We need another Nader to force the government into acting. Because giving decade long free passes to a do-nothing industry simply won’t cut it. Especially if you are one of those 200,000.

Secrecy shields medical mishaps from public view