Medicine: Cures That Kill

A caution on drugs and surgery

Patients have long been aware that doctors sometimes kill as well as cure. Doctors have long insisted that medically caused mishaps do not occur in significant numbers. Now two medical research teams in Boston have challenged that assumption. One team, led by Geriatrics Specialist Knight Steel, found that out of 815 patients admitted during five months of 1979 to a hospital at the Boston University Medical Center, 290 suffered almost 500 medical mishaps. More than 200 of these complications were due to drugs. An additional 175 resulted from other treatments or diagnostic tests. These mishaps contributed...

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