Friday, January 13, 2006

Choosing What We Fear

SAM SMITH, PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - Ask people to name the greatest domestic disaster in the past ten years and most would cite September 11. While this is true in terms of deaths - over twice as many as in second place Hurricane Katrina - the WTC tragedy is only the third most costly in dollars. Looked at another way, nine out of the ten worst disasters were due to nature with no little help - some would say - from climate change.

Yet after Katrina, did we form a new Department of Hurricane Security, did we move to radically change our environmental policy the way we changed our police policies following WTC? No, unless we lived in the affected region, we absorbed it into our lives and went about our business.

And here are a few things that are more deadly each year than either hurricanes or terrorists: heart disease, cancer, prescription drugs, accidents, guns, suicide, infant deaths... and workplace accidents.

We truly do choose what to fear.



At 3:32 PM, Anonymous adrienne said...

so true!

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Filibustera said...

are you telling that prescrition drugs are as deadly as cancer?? Can you explain it to me?? It is not that I think it is not true, it is just that it is so sorprising! Why are prescription drugs so toxic?

At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Luke ~ said...

It's not that prescription drugs are as deadly as cancer, but adverse reactions to prescribed medications are accountable for a significant number of deaths each year. It is unfortunate, but to be expected, that some individuals will have undesirable responses to certain medications, though such cases are much more the exception than the rule when it comes to the drugs which doctors prescribe to their patients.

(Average 1982-1998): According to Canadian researchers, approximately 32,000 hospitalized patients (and possibly as many as 106,000) in the USA die each year because of adverse reactions to their prescribed medications.

Source: Lazarou, J, Pomeranz, BH, Corey, PN, "Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients: a meta-analysis of prospective studies," Journal of the American Medical Association (Chicago, IL: American Medical Association, 1998), 1998;279:1200-1205, also letters column, "Adverse Drug Reactions in Hospitalized Patients," JAMA (Chicago, IL: AMA, 1998), Nov. 25, 1998, Vol. 280, No. 20, from the web at, last accessed Feb. 12, 2001.


Post a Comment

<< Home