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Malpractice

Death of Casey Johnson: Rates of Death by Doctor Tragedies Increase

Tuesday, January 12, 2010 by: Marek Doyle
Tags: malpractice, celebrities, health news

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(NewsTarget) Los Angeles has again been rocked by another celebrity death, believed to be caused by a cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol. Casey Johnson, the 30-year-old whose family established the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical giant, was found dead in her home on Monday. Johnson was known to have addiction problems to an array of different drugs. The media is currently waiting for confirmation that she has become one of the millions of citizens killed by pharmaceutical drugs. The sad news follows hot on the heels of the death of Clueless actor Brittany Murphy, who died in similar circumstances.

At this point, it should be stated that the toxicology reports have not yet been returned in the case of either Ms Johnson or Ms Murphy. However, it is known that both, like Ledger, were taking a daily cocktail of prescription drugs at the time of their deaths. Both cases seem set to join the ever-increasing number of individuals whose death is caused by prescription drugs - 'death by doctor', as it has been dubbed.

Eleven years ago, a breakthrough research paper showed that over 2.2m Americans each year are injured by prescription drugs and 106,000 are killed. These figures relate purely to incidents where drugs were prescribed in 'good practise' at the correct dosage. To put these figures into context, only 45,000 were killed in motor vehicle accidents during the same period. Not only is 'death by doctor' now more than twice as likely as death on the road, these figures make it the fourth leading cause of death.

In the years since this research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the rate of adverse reactions appears to be rising sharply. The 1998 paper based their national figures on the rate of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR) and Fatal Adverse Drug Reactions (FADR), respectively measured in their study at 6.7% and 0.32%. However, this study measured only the treatment outcomes for hospitalised patients, not the population at whole, and commentators at the time speculated that the rate of death may be higher outside of a hospital environment, where emergency surgery is unavailable.

A 2008 study suggests that, when deaths within the population at large are studied, 3% of all deaths are caused by adverse drug reactions - that is ten times higher than previously thought. Although the researchers studied only 1,600 deaths, a similar rate of FADR in the American population suggests more than 720,000 Americans died last year as a result of drugs given to them by their doctor. This makes 'death by doctor' the leading cause of death in America, beating heart disease (650,000) and cancer (550,000) by some distance.

Whatever the actual figure, the unnecessary injuries doctors inflict on their patients across the Western world remains a real risk for anyone who places blind faith in the medical community. Whilst the media waits to determine the exact cause of death for Ms Johnson and Ms Murphy, the medical community seems set to stay silent on the unrelenting promotion of toxic drugs and equally quiet on the wide array of non-toxic, natural (but less profitable alternatives).

References:

Lazarou J et al (1998). Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalised patients: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Journal of the American Medical Association, 279(15): 1200-5.

Wester K et al (2008). Incidence of fatal adverse drug reactions: a population based study. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 65(4):573-9.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvs...


About the author

Marek Doyle is a London personal trainer, nutritionist and the pioneer of the Combined Allergy Test, with locations serving Kensington, Chelsea, West London and Basingstoke. Marek runs Blueprint Fitness, edits theAdrenal Fatigue Focus website and has been recognised as one of the top three trainers in the country and counts world champion athletes, models and TV celebrities amongst his clientele.
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