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Deaths due to medical errors and from firearms

Russell D. Stephan’s Dec. 2 letter “Body count” criticized doctors for raising the issue of gun deaths when medical services cause more deaths than guns. In rebuttal, S.D. Phan’s Dec. 19 letter argued doctors were correct to speak out against gun violence, citing the damage of gun injuries and the work of health-care professionals in trying to save lives.

No criticism is valid when it comes to the marvelous work done by the majority of health care professionals. But when it comes to cause of death, guns are not in the same league as medical mistakes. An eight-year study by Johns Hopkins University found there are 250,000 medical malpractice deaths in the U.S. annually. Only deaths from heart disease and cancer were higher.

Whether it’s death by firearms or due to medical mistakes, there’s far too many of both. We can do better.

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