Faith in Medicine: the 3rd Leading Cause of Death

Faith in Medicine: the 3rd Leading Cause of Death

The Legislature is being pressured by out of state vaccine advocate Paul Offit and local organizations with the intent is to create a law that would prosecute parents who choose alternative methods of treatment for their sick children. Health Freedom Idaho is grateful that our Legislators have said, year after year, that laws are already in place under Child Protective Services and mandated reporting are adequate to protect children from abuse. November 17, 2017 KIVI news reported that this topic will again be brought up again in the 2018 Legislative session. 

Health Freedom Idaho will be there again to address this topic. The legislation that has been brought to date, and voted down, proposed increased mandated reporting by Doctors and healthcare workers, increased CPS supervision of families, and a decrease in parental choice in health care options.  <see Faith Healing Exemption> 

There are concerns by many citizens of Idaho that the Legislature will put in a place a statute that will increase false allegations of “abuse” and erode parental authority in the health choice of their children.  Legislators have been reminded that receiving medical treatment at a doctor’s office or hospital does not ensure health or healing. It does not guarantee longevity or of lack of suffering. Millions of other parents hold faith in modern medicine, yet are not punished when a treatment fails and their child is subsequently injured or killed.

This leads to three important points: 

  • A study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers points to medical error as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. 1
  • Looking to malpractice figures in Idaho, we see hundreds of doctors and nurses have erred in providing care to patients resulting in license suspension and revocation. Other research has revealed that, medical error by pediatric hospital staff is as high as 67%. 2
  • Idaho has no program in place to report adverse events and medical errors. Without the tracking of these vital statistics, Idaho doctors and hospitals can shield their fatal lapses in care, diagnostic mistakes, and dosage errors from public scrutiny. Some of these errors are FATAL.

When a child died after being given the wrong dosage of medicine by St. Lukes Hospital in Idaho, the nurse was NOT prosecuted because his intent was not to kill the child. 

Why would the State want to hold parents to a different standard when parents choose alternative means of care (including prayer) when treating their child’s illness? 

Third Leading Cause of Death MEDICAL ERROR

A study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine says medical errors should rank as the third leading cause of death in the United States — and highlights how shortcomings in tracking vital statistics may hinder research and keep the problem out of the public eye.

The authors, led by Johns Hopkins surgeon Dr. Martin Makary, call for changes in death certificates to better tabulate fatal lapses in care. In an open letter, they urge the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to immediately add medical errors to its annual list reporting the top causes of death.

Johns Hopkins study conservatively estimates that more than 251,000 Americans die each year from medical errors. On the CDC’s official list, that would rank just behind heart disease and cancer and in front of respiratory disease.

Medical mistakes that can lead to death range from surgical complications that go unrecognized to mix-ups with the doses or types of medications patients receive. But no one knows the exact toll taken by medical errors. In significant part, that’s because the coding system used by CDC to record death certificate data doesn’t capture things like communication breakdowns, diagnostic errors and poor judgment that cost lives, the study says.

How does this affect Idaho? 

Idaho doesn’t track medical errors. In fact, it took a special task force called by the Governor to track the causes of death in infants and children in the past several years. Medical errors can be easily covered and ignored by hospital administration, staff and left hidden from the public. 

Occasionally a heart breaking story is revealed that leaves one to question our society’s unwavering ‘faith’ in modern medicine. 4

St. Luke’s: Nurse’s Medication Error Resulted in Child Fatality 

One week after confirming an infant died at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center after receiving the wrong medication, hospital officials said Oct. 2 the 7-month-old died when he received a dose of saline solution infused with potassium phosphate intended for an adult patient.

A family attorney revealed the child’s name as August Elliot.

“One of our nurses prepared the adult patient’s medication solution at the nurse’s station,” the hospital said in the statement. “Sometime later, another nurse mistook that prepared bag as the one to be used for the child, took it into August’s room and administered it. Approximately 10 minutes later, August went into cardiac arrest and we began resuscitation efforts. Thirteen minutes into that effort, another nurse read the label on the bag and realized August was receiving the wrong medication.”

Hospital officials wrote in a statement: “We missed at least one part of the standard procedure of administering medication,” and they were tightening their internal processes to minimize any chance of human error in the future.

DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE FATAL DOSE WAS GIVEN IN ERROR – The nurse wasn’t charged with a criminal act. (Which brings into question the legislative need to criminalize the behavior of parents who do not intend on doing harm to their children when they choose alternative course of treatment (including prayer) for their children’s illness.

The Twin Falls Times-News reports the findings from the hospital’s investigation have been forwarded to the nation’s top hospital accreditation board and the Twin Falls County Coroner.

1. 3rd Leading Cause of Death Medical Error

Pediatric Staff admits errors as much as 67%
from the Nursing Certification review Manual Continuing Education Resource Clinical Practice Resource

2. Stratton, Biegen, Pepper and Vaughn 2004 conducted a descriptive study that surveyed a convenience sample of 57 pediatric-care and 227 adult care hospital nurses regarding medication errors reported on their units, examining why medication error occur, and why medication errors are not always reported. This study primarily focused on pediatric data with a comparison of adult acute care nurses. Pediatric nurse indicated that a higher proportion of errors were reported compared with adult care. 67% pediatric care errors compared to 56% adult care.)


This information is a followup of the Institute of Medicine report the data was hard to reference as it was not in peer-reviewed journal. Now it is published in JAMA which is the most widely circulated medical periodical in the world.

The author or the originally reference studies Dr. Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health and she describes how the US health care system may contribute to poor health.



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