Most people believe that doctors save far more than they harm, and that any doctor-induced injuries are usually minor.  However, there is plenty of evidence that shows otherwise.  In the year 2000, doctors in Israel decided to go on strike; demanding increases in pay.  Before long, morticians began to notice a bizarre trend.

“The number of funerals we have performed has fallen drastically”.

Hananya Shahor, the veteran director of
Jerusalem's Kehilat Yerushalayim burial society.

The longer the doctors' strike continued, the more the death rate fell.  In some locations, the death rate dropped by an astounding 50%.  Unfortunately, the doctors eventually stopped their strike, and the mortality rates returned to normal again.  This same thing had happened in Israel previously, almost twenty years earlier.

“There definitely is a connection between the doctors' sanctions and fewer deaths.  We saw the same thing in 1983 [when the Israel Medical Association applied sanctions for four and a half months].”

Meir Adler, manager of the Shamgar Funeral Parlour

This would be easy to dismiss as sub-standard Israeli medicine if this phenomena were restricted to just that part of the world, but similar results were seen in 1976, in Los Angeles, when doctors went on strike for just one month.  The death rate quickly decreased by 18%.  These shocking statistics have since been studied, and it is official; doctors are killing people.

There are, of course, rationalizations for the reductions in mortality, but they are poor.  During the strikes, emergency care was always ongoing, whilst elective (unnecessary) surgeries ground to a halt.  This is one of the main explanations for the lowered mortality rates during doctor's strikes, and the lack of deaths by pharmaceuticals has been ignored.

A 2008 review published in the Social Science & Medicine journal analyzed five separate incidents in which doctor strikes led to decreased mortality.   They also attempted to blame the lack of elective surgeries, but in the end, they were forced to admit that "the literature suggests that reductions in mortality may result from these strikes".  So, the best way to reduce deaths in this country may be to fire the doctors.

 

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