Posts Tagged ‘death’

How Americans die on the job

Friday, September 19th, 2014

in her post How Americans die on the job, in 5 charts, Danielle Kurtzleben of Vox media analyzes and summarizes data from the Labor’ Department’s most recent preliminary Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, 2013 The charts offer a quick look at of some of the most deadly jobs, activities and demographics.
The good news is that fatalities continue trending down, as can be seen in the chart below. In 2013, 4,405 fatal work injuries were recorded in the United States, lower than the 4,628 recorded work fatalities in 2012. The numbers could adjust – final 2013 data isn’t released until the late spring of 2015. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that, “Over the last 5 years, net increases to the preliminary count have averaged 165 cases, ranging from a low of 84 in 2011 to a high of 245 in 2012.”

How Doctors Die: It’s Not Like the Rest of Us, But It Should Be

Monday, January 9th, 2012

We’ve bringing you something a bit peripheral to our normal topics today, but it deals with the business of medicine. Plus, it is excellent.
How Doctors Die by Ken Murray, MD talks about how doctors face end of life issues. Many might assume that when faced with a terminal condition, physicians would leverage their expertise and access to the max, harnessing all the latest treatments and technologies. But the picture that Murry paints is a very different one. Armed with the knowledge of just how grueling and terrible the “do everything possible” model can be, many doctors choose to forgo chemo, radiation, surgery, and other life-prolonging treatments entirely.

“What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. But they go gently.”

Some physicians who have participated in or witnessed extraordinary and extreme measures to prolong life – what Murray calls “futile care” – wear “No Code” medallions or tattoos.
Why, if they don’t want this treatment themselves, do they inflict it on patients? Murray explores the many often human reasons why family members and physicians make these choices and points to a system that encourages and rewards excessive treatment and unrealistic expectations about what medicine can do. Plus, as a society, we have a cultural bias against accepting death. Perhaps it was ever so – no one want to die. But advertising, a stay-young-forever culture, pharmacology, and the miracles of technology all conspire to make us think we perhaps can live forever. When someone facing a terminal illness chooses acceptance of the natural order, they are often pressured by family and friends for not being a fighter.
The comments in the article are also well worth reading. Other people — doctors, medical professionals, and “civilians”– offer their thoughts, opinions, and touching real life experiences with family members, friends, and even their own terminal circumstances.

Ask yourself: Do you feel lucky today?

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Today, we thought we’d focus on risk in the larger sense rather than just in the workplace. This is prompted by our having chanced upon an interesting article by John Goekler, who poses the question, The Most Dangerous Person in the World? Not to offer a spoiler, but he answers this question at the outset of the article, and the answer isn’t particularly surprising: “…unless you’re serving in a war zone, the most dangerous person you’re ever likely to encounter – by several orders of magnitude – is the one you see in the mirror every morning.”
Goeckler lists various mortality statistics, offering some perspective on an individual’s risk. The so-called “lifestyle diseases” top the list of killers, but there are other interesting and surprising factoids about microbial agents and toxic substances. Death by occupational trauma is in his top ten, just after mortality by overdosing on non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and slightly edging out death by foodborne agents. (See also: odds ratio versus relative risk)
His essay is an interesting read and his larger point worth noting: “The things we fear most may be least likely to occur, which means the time, trauma and treasure we invest in them is a complete waste.” He offers this in the context of fear of terrorism, but it could be whatever bugaboo the mass media is hyping at the moment. One of our favorite annual scare stories is shark attacks – the Florida Museum of Natural History offers a helpful guide to The Relative Risk of Shark Attacks to Humans, as compared to other risks.
You’re probably safe from a shark attack, but what about the likelihood of a cardiac event? Use the cardiac risk calculator to estimate your chance of having a cardiac event, dying from heart disease, and your overall chance of dying in the next decade. It’s a handy little tool, and it might be worth sharing with your work force to get their attention on the so-called lifestyle issues that are taking such a toll on us all. Goekler’s article is a good reminder that if you want to keep your workplace safe, focusing on employee wellness may be worth the investment and the effort. Just don’t relax on other areas of safety – we’d like to see that occupational trauma statistic dropping further and further down the list.