In a 2013 report produced by John T. James, Ph.D., the number of incidences of patient harm or death caused by modern hospital care in the US was estimated to be over 400,000. Overall, the report found that, between 2008 and 2011, it was found that
“…the true number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to patients was estimated at more than 400,000 per year”. Further, “[s]erious harm seems to be 10- to 20-fold more common than lethal harm.”
The report gained significant media attention, not least because it disparaged the medical profession.
Discussion & Tentative Conclusion
While allopathic medicine is deeply flawed, integrative medicine is not without serious defects
A study by John Hopkins and confirmed by the American Medical Institute showed that around 100,000 American are killed with properly administrered synthetic drugs, called medication. (Source) So we are not even considering the overdosed patients. However, for the other 300,000 Americans who die from hospital care, the causes can be causes that affect integrative medicine as well, since they range from negligence to recklessness.
A number of hospitals have been moving towards open reporting of events. This often includes events that are not life threatening.  It can be anything from a scale that is not well labeled leading to the possibility of dosage errors, medication errors in transcriptions caught by pharmacists, to serious safety events leading to harm or death. They use open evidence-based approaches to identify, find and correct the cause for future patients. Often publishing research and quality improvement that show positive results for other facilities to emulate in order to improve patient care.
All but one of the Predictable Adverse Events (PAEs) looked for are human errors. Equipment that was not sterilized properly. A surgeon’s carelessness. Miscommunication between doctor and nurse. Lack of patient compliance.
There are some studies in effect for naturopathic treatments which show the same types of human error. This includes improperly placed needles going deeper than intended, puncturing major organs that needed to be surgically removed, needles accidentally being left in patients, and infections caused by reusing needles without sterilizing them.
The problem here is that, unlike hospital deaths, which are increasingly well-reported, deaths from integrative medicine has effectively no reporting system.
But it can be assumed that integrative medicine has a better outcome because it tends to use fewer toxic drugs and procedure. For the Institute, the best is holistic medicine.
Text under construction
- James, John T. “A new, evidence-based estimate of patient harms associated with hospital care.” Journal of patient safety 9.3 (2013): 122-128.
- Beth Israel Medical Center — Eliminating Preventable Harm at BIDMC
- Medication errors: the impact of prescribing and transcribing errors on preventable harm in hospitalised patients
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23860193 A new, evidence-based estimate of patient harms associated with hospital care
- Acupuncture treatment is not as safe as advertised
- Dozens killed by incorrectly placed acupuncture needles: Professor of complementary medicine calls for adequate training for all acupuncture practitioners after survey reveals punctured hearts and lungs among causes of death over past 45 years by Ian Sample (Monday 18 October 2010 12.21 EDT) The Guardian
- An outbreak of post-acupuncture cutaneous infection due to Mycobacterium abscessus – 40 people affected
Medical errors and deaths: Is the problem getting worse? Skeptical Scalpel