Despite comparative evidence that US healthcare is very expensive and not particularly good by international standards, Americans seem to love it as evidenced by the debate on Obamacare and questions like this: Is the US Newborn Mortality Rate higher than 40 Countries? and this: Is more than 30% of US healthcare spending waste? .
A recent paper points out that, despite their extent, medical errors are not listed alongside other major causes of death in "top ten" tables of mortality. As the article summarises:
Medical error has been reliably identified as among America’s leading causes of death. Yet it never appears in “top ten causes of death” charts that periodically appear in the literature
Accounting for medical error as among the leading causes of death would require these data sets be integrated in a way that would force error to appear in causal compilations. Including fatal medical error in “top ten causes of death” charts and disclosing it during public end-of-life informational presentations would be an act of participatory medicine on several counts: for medicine, ownership, transparency, and disclosure; which would offer citizens the opportunity to factor error into our risk/benefit calculations as we ponder what we must do to increase our likelihood of dying in peace.
I have two interlinked questions, one direct and one implied by the article: Is the key claim correct in saying that medical error is rarely reported alongside other causes of death? and would including it alter the US perception that they have an excellent healthcare system?