Iatrogenesis, or an iatrogenic artifact “originating from a physician” is an inadvertent adverse effect or complication resulting from medical treatment or advice.

In the United States an estimated 225,000 deaths per year have iatrogenic causes, with only heart disease and cancer causing more deaths.

Some iatrogenic artifacts are clearly defined and easily recognized, such as a complication following a surgical procedure. Some less obvious ones can require significant investigation to identify, such as complex drug interactions Furthermore, some conditions have been described for which it is unknown, unproven, or even controversial whether they are iatrogenic or not; this has been encountered in particular with regard to various psychological and chronic-pain conditions. Research in these areas continues.

Causes of iatrogenesis include negative effects of drugs, chance, medical error, or negligence.

The term iatrogenic can also be used without negative connotation to describe the results of treatment; for example, scars created by surgery are said to be iatrogenic even though they do not represent improper care and may not be problematic. Lymphedema, secondary to any breast cancer surgery, is a perfect example of a condition directly caused solely by the surgery itself.

The term iatrogenesis means brought forth by a healer; as such, in its earlier forms, it could refer to good or bad effects.

With the development of scientific medicine in the 20th century, it could be expected that iatrogenic illness or death would be more easily avoided. This has not been the case.

Iatrogenesis drives health care costs Part 2

Iatrogenesis means induction of disease by medical treatment. Two processes accounts for it: 1. Medicine treats harmless aberrations, and 2. It ignores the t…