The Number Harmed in Hospitals Rises

The last thing I wanted to write about was about was dreary statistics on healthcare. But, as every writer out there can attest to, sometimes the subject “chooses you.”

This weekend I was editing my book. I mean–20 hours’ worth of editing and rewriting the last section of BreakFree Medicine! I don’t really like editing. I’d rather write. Still, I was steadfast in my appreciation to get the word out on the new revolution and viewpoint in medicine.

..Okay, to be honest, by hour ten I was a bit of a “grumpy pants.” The good news is that it’s actually in the cute little hands of my publishing coordinator and the fun part of design, setting up the website, and getting the word out begins.

As I was taking a little editing break, I was catching up on some newsletters, journal articles, etc. and placing some top headlines in my “June Top Reads” file.

What struck me was the number of excerpts I encountered on the inefficiency of our current level of healthcare.

This is not new to you or me. I remember discussing this subject four years ago in Uh-oh, Money Can’t Buy Love OR Healthcare. The sad statistics of Gary Null’s Death By Medicine report conclusion was, “Our estimated 10-year total of 7.8 million iatrogenic deaths is more than all the casualties from all the wars fought by the US throughout its entire history.”

Yikes! This means that the result of seeing a doctor resulted to close to 8 million deaths. Furthermore, in one of the most developed nations, yet least inclusive of alternative and integrative methods, the United States is rating behind most nations.

A June 2010 report by the Commonwealth Fund, a private organization that supports independent research on health care issues and grants to improve health care quality, access, and an international program in health policy issued a 34 page report that read:

Among the seven nations studied–Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States–the U.S. ranks last overall, as it did in the 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions of Mirror, Mirror. Most troubling, the U.S. fails to achieve better health outcomes than the other countries, and as shown in the earlier editions, the U.S. is last on dimensions of access, patient safety, coordination, efficiency, and equity.

Unfortunately, the updated 2014 report, expanding to 11 nations only ended with the U.S. now ranking number 11 out of 11 verses 7 out of 7. Man, that’s not a good batting average!

They report (my emphasis in bold):

The U.S. ranks last of 11 nations overall. Findings in this report confirm many of those in the earlier four editions of Mirror, Mirror, with the U.S. still ranking last on indicators of efficiency, equity, and outcomes. (1)


Updated Stats

PageLines- forms-icon.png1. The September 2013 issue of the Journal of Patient Safety attempted to update the number of Americans that die each year from medical errors alone. The numbers rose from 98,000 in 1984, based on reviews from the Institute of Medicine to a lower limit of 210,000 to an upper limit of 400,000. This was based on a limited literature review of 4 studies.

The authors of the article stated:

Serious harm seems to be 10- to 20-fold more common than lethal harm….

The epidemic of patient harm in hospitals must be taken more seriously if it is to be curtailed. Fully engaging patients and their advocates during hospital care, systematically seeking the patients’ voice in identifying harms, transparent accountability for harm, and intentional correction of root causes of harm will be necessary to accomplish this goal. (2)

2. The Elderly at Risk of Death by “Patient Care”

In a recent study of more than 12,500 Medicare patients, it was found that 1 in 5 elderly individuals were harmed by adverse effects of “patient care” and not their original condition. Dr. Mercola reported on this:

  • Those who had experienced a medical injury had a death rate nearly double those who had not, along with greater use of medical services and increased health care costs in the year following the injury
  • Two-thirds of the injuries occurred during outpatient care (such as doctor’s offices) rather than in hospitals (3)


According to the original study abstract (AME=adverse medical event):

Nearly 19% of participants experienced at least one AME, with 62% from outpatient claims. The risk of AMEs is greater among participants in poorer health, and increases with comorbidity and with impairment in performing activities of daily living or instrumental activities of daily living. (4)


3. The Big Scale Keeps Rising

Bloomerang reports how our country is not only getting sicker, but also wider. Here the U.S. takes first place, accounting for 13% of the WORLD’s obese people:

About 2.1 billion people, or almost one-third of the world’s population, were obese or overweight last year, researchers estimated after examining data from 183 countries.

The estimated number of overweight or obese people almost tripled from 857 million in 1980, according to the analysis published today in The Lancet. The heaviest country was the U.S., accounting for about 13 percent of the world’s obese people, followed by China and India, which together represent 15 percent, according to the study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.(5)


Why Such Sad Stats?

Unfortunately, the current healthcare reform isn’t predicted to remedy these statistics. It will only provide access to the same disease-relief system.

In order to not spread sadness by the above news, it is my job to empower you with some contributors to the problem and why we have the power to keep ourselves well.


The Toxicity of our World


We live in a toxic world.

And it’s not just affecting our health, but our environment. I was saddened to learn that my hometown is swimming in mercury, literally:

1. Our Environment: Mercury in My Home Town

Mercury has been found in fish for decades in heavily polluted Onondaga Lake, but newly released studies show that the neurotoxin has also poisoned birds and bats.

Levels of mercury were so high in some shore birds that an estimated 20 percent of chicks would not survive, one study found. More than half of bats studied had mercury levels high enough to cause “adverse effects.” ( (6, 7)


2. Our Food Supply

MSG and Fatty Liver

A recent rodent study reported that part of our obesity epidemic may relate to our SAD (Standard American Diet) food supply. In this study, the additive monosodium glutamate (MSG), was linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH) and obesity. The researchers reported that restricting calories (or MSG laden foods) could reverse the negative effects. (8,9)

3 other major foods that trump health and waist lines include:

These are among the major contributors to illnesses as well.


3. Our Food Supply with Toxins

Pesticides/Herbicides Accumulating Toxic Effects

A recent study indicated that the toxicity of pesticides may be more than we thought. This is because testing has only considered one pesticide vs. its total toxic effects with all its metabolites being accounted or the additive effects of more than one chemical. (Roustan A, Aye M, De Meo M, Di Giorgio, C.Genotoxicity of mixtures of glyphosate and atrazine and their environmental transformation products before and after photoactivation. Chemosphere. 2014 Aug;108:93-100. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.02.079. Epub 2014 Apr 12.)

You can read more about Our Poor Sad Food Supply here.


4. Individual Depletion of Nutrients

Tylenol and Autism/Asthma Linked

This weekend I read a disheartening yet well-done research review connecting early use of acetaminophen in children to autism and asthma.

It appears that the marked increase in the rate of autism, asthma, and attention deficit with hyperactivity throughout much of the world may be largely caused by the marked increase in the use of acetaminophen in genetically and/or metabolically susceptible children, and the use of acetaminophen by pregnant women. Toxicity of acetaminophen may cause autism by overloading the defective sulfation pathway catalyzed by phenolsulfotransferase, which is deficient in autism, leading to overproduction of the toxic metabolite N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI)…

The characteristic loss of Purkinje cells in the brains of people with autism is consistent with depletion of brain glutathione due to excess acetaminophen usage, which leads to premature brain Purkinje cell death. (10)


This brings to mind the importance of individualized wellness protocols which considers the genetics, environment, nutritional status, and health status when choosing any supplement or medication. You can read more about this here.


5. Our Isolated Society

Could it be that our society is exchanging tweets for true friendship and Facebook posts for family bonding?

Isolation is the number one risk for cardiovascular mortality, and studies show a calm mind and less stress increases vitality.

According to Dr. Dean Ornish’s book, Love and Survival: The Scientific Basis for the Healing Power of Intimacy:

  • Those who lacked social and community ties were 1.9 to 3.1 times more likely to die during a nine year follow-up period independent of age, gender, race, SES (socioeconomic status), smoking, alcoholic beverage consumption, overeating, physical activity and utilization of preventative health services.
  • Those who lived longest had close social ties and healthful behaviors
  • In an additional 8 year follow-up, those who were socially isolated or who just felt isolated had higher risk of dying of cancer.

Below is a video on one of the missing links to longevity and health-community and a sense of belonging:



The Turn Around to Brightness

A Cloudy Day







So, if we can’t get the answer to better U.S. health statistics by more doctor visits or cutting calories by eating processed chemicals, what is the answer?

Read about how moms may save mother earth, how plants are medicine, and how lifestyle choices can lead to a truly healthy body and nation, one person and one piece of kale at a time.


water drop






 Essential Oils Have Phenyl-What?

According to Dr. Stewart, “Phenylpropanoids are compounds of carbon-ring molecules incorporating one isoprene unit. They are found in Clove (90%), Cassia (80%), Basil (75%), Cinnamon (73%), Oregano (60%), Anise (50%), and Peppermint (25%). While they can create conditions where unfriendly viruses and bacteria cannot live, the most important function performed by phenylpropanoids is that they clean the receptor sites on the cells..”

This is why I suggest that all my clients use essential oils and to keep Thieves on hand. Clove and cinnamon are in Thieves essential oil. I think a natural antimicrobial in our toolkit is a good preventative measure. This study explains how phenylpropanoids are being studied for use in drugs, due to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, UV protection (natural anti-aging ladies!), and immune protection. Well, we have them in our oils.
If you haven’t tried thieves or any of these fabulous oils, now is a great time to empower yourself. After all, with all the resistant superbugs, isn’t it nice to know we have natural alternatives?

To read more about therapeutic essential oils and to order your own wellness kit, visit my site here.

Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic, Grade A essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been AFNOR and ISO standardized. There is no quality control in the United States and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.


Sources and References

(1) K. Davis, K. Stremikis, C. Schoen, and D. Squires, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, 2014 Update: How the U.S. Health Care System Compares Internationally, The Commonwealth Fund, June 2014.

(2) James, John T. A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care. Review Article. Journal of Patient Safety. September 2013 (9):3; 122-128. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0b013e3182948a69

(3) Mercola, J. 1 in 5 Elderly US Patients Injured by Medical Care. June 11, 2014.

(4) Carter MW, Zhu M, Xiang J3, Porell FW. Investigating the long-term consequences of adverse medical events among older adults. Inj Prev. 2014 May 28. pii: injuryprev-2013-041043. doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2013-041043.

(5) Ostrow, N. Obese or Overweight People Top 2.1 Billion Worldwide. Bloomberg News. May 28, 2014.

(6) Blume, D. High levels of toxic mercury found in Onondaga Lake birds, bats; studies show web of contamination. May 14, 2014.

(7) Mercola, J. Environmental Mercury Tied to Increasing Songbird Losses. June 10, 2014.

(8) M Fujimoto, K Tsuneyama, Y Nakanishi, TL Salunga, K Nomoto, Y Sasaki, S Iizuka, M Nagata, W Suzuki, T Shimada, M Aburada, Y Shimada, ME Gershwin, C Selmi: A dietary restriction influences the progression but not the initiation of MSG-induced non alcoholic steatohepatitis. J Med Food 2014;17:374–383.)

(9) ParthasarathySampath. How Safe is Monosodium Glutamate? Exploring the Link to Obesity, Metabolic Disorders, and Inflammatory Disease. Journal of Medicinal Food. Online-ahead of print. April 8, 2014. doi:10.1089/jmf.2014.1705.ed.

(10) Shaw, W. Increased Acetaminophen use Major Cause Autism, Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity, and Asthma. Journal of Restorative Medicine, Volume 2, Number 1, October 2013, pp. 14-29(16).

 Images courtesy of istockphotos: