June 2000 Bulletin


Write to The Editor, AAOS Bulletin, 6300 North River Road, Rosemont, Ill. 60018-4262

Medical errors

I was disturbed to see statistics from the Institute of Medicine’s report being quoted in the Bulletin (February 2000) as though they were facts. I heard the initial report from IOM and was impressed far more by the hype than any proof.

When headlines start that "between 40,000 and 98,000 people die each year from medical errors", it seems that someone would bother to verify the studies on which these comments were made. It can’t be both 40,000 and 98,000. If someone at the AAOS yearly meeting gave a paper stating that either the complication rate was 10 percent or 40 percent, there would be serious criticism of the paper and the selection process. I am concerned that the medical leaders in this country are accepting this report as fact and moving on to make statements of their own about how formation of a center for patient safety is a grand idea.

I am all for eliminating as many errors in medicine as we can. I am not in favor of another liberal, federally controlled organization attempting to use the back door to take over health care in America.

Stephen F. Emery, MD

Cody, Wyo

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