Iatrogenesis is a common negative phenomenon in the modern medical industry, causing terrible consequences for millions of patients each year. Iatrogenic reactions are symptoms, diseases, disorders or complications brought on directly, or indirectly, through medical treatment. There is an old folk saying that goes: "If you want to stay healthy, stay away from doctors". In the case of iatrogenic conditions, this advice is a truthful warning which has a strong basis in fact, rather than folklore.
This crucial discussion provides medical consumers with stern warnings about the high rate of healthcare error in the modern medical system.
Iatrogenic conditions are health problems which occur due to various interactions with the medical treatment process. Iatrogenic conditions kill more patients every year than many diseases that warrant medical treatment to begin with.
There are 2 basic forms of iatrogenic condition: direct medical error and indirect circumstantial effects. When both of these scenarios are added together, it is easy to see that the medical system, despite its great achievements, has truly done as much harm as it has good.
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There are many factors which may be considered iatrogenic contributors to conditions of disease, illness, pain and injury:
Neglectful invalid care
Diagnostic nocebo effect
Dangerous drug interactions
Denial of psychogenic conditions
Unnecessary prescription of drugs
Infection due to medical negligence
Doctor insistence on Caesarian section
Drug testing using dangerous substances
Insufficient recognition of mental disorders
Forced immunization leading to complications
Psychological manipulation leading to lasting pain
A research study completed in 2003 estimated the number of American patient deaths, as a direct result of iatrogenic error, to be 7.8 million. This amounts to more casualties than America has suffered during all the wars it has ever fought, combined. Worldwide, the problem is likely to be far worse, since many under-developed nations feature medical infrastructures that lack any semblance of modern accomplishment or logic.
Only 5% to 20% of all iatrogenic errors are discovered and reported. When you calculate the vast numbers of affected patients who never receive any help for their treatment-induced problems, it is clear that this medical malignancy is an epidemic condition.
I am an outspoken supporter of the modern medical system. It is a marvel of man’s ingenuity and development. The overwhelming majority of healthcare workers are extremely conscientious, well trained and competent individuals. However, when you consider even a small percentage of healthcare practitioners to be negligent, or even unethical, it still amounts to a huge actual number of bad doctors, nurses, chiropractors and therapists. Besides these obvious bad apples, it is always possible for a good doctor to make a mistake, since no one is immune to human error.
Despite my support of the medical system, I recognize the vast problems experienced in the treatment of diseases and injuries. Iatrogenesis is a very real problem which kills millions and injures ten times that amount. I have personally seen the effects on the lives of so many patients who have lost everything due to some form of iatrogenic error.
Is there a solution?
For some aspects of the problem, there are certainly ways to make things better, but no single solution will ever truly make medical error a thing of the past. Just remember that medical negligence exists and may make finding a cure for your pain even harder than it already is.