I saw this message yesterday on a patient safety related list serv and I thought it was so thought provoking that I had to pass it along.

Here’s what I read:

From: Robert Sinsheimer

Subject: Medical Safety V. Gun Safety: An email now in circulation

Doctors

(A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.

(B) Accidental deaths (medical error) caused by physicians per year are 120,000.

(C) Deaths due to medical error per physician is 0.171

Statistics courtesy of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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Now think about this:

Guns

(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. (Yes, that’s 80 million)

(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all age groups, is 1,500.

(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is  .000188.

Statistics courtesy of FBI

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So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

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Remember, ‘Guns don’t kill people, doctors do.’

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FACT:   NOT EVERYONE HAS A GUN, BUT ALMOST EVERYONE HAS AT LEAST ONE DOCTOR.

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Please alert your friends to this alarming threat.

We must seek to impose doctor control before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!

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This e-mail was obviously a tongue-in-cheek joke. But when you start seeing e-mails like this, you know that the time has come for more drastic action to improve patient safety.

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