Continuing the National Rifle Association's smear of surgeon general nominee Vivek Murthy as anti-gun, the NRA's media arm is now claiming that “doctors are a lot more dangerous than gun owners in this country” because of deaths caused by medical errors.
Even though Murthy holds views on firearms that are conventional within the medical community and supported by many Americans and has said that obesity, not gun safety, would be his top priority as surgeon general, the NRA has launched a smear campaign to portray him as a threat to the Second Amendment. Conservatives in media have taken the NRA's lead to attack Murthy as anti-gun and unqualified for the job.
NRA News host Cam Edwards furthered the NRA's attack, claiming that the “Institutes [sic] of Medicine” had issued a study finding that there are as many as 440,000 deaths per year due to preventable medical errors and commenting, "[m]aybe there's an issue for the Surgeon General to take up instead of your gun ownership and my gun ownership, because it sure that appears doctors are a lot more dangerous than gun owners are in this country."
In fact, the study Edwards cited was actually authored by a medical error-focused non-profit organization that asserts “we are patients looking after each other in a health care system that could easily kill us.” According to the Institute of Medicine's “widely accepted” finding, 98,000 people a year die due to hospital errors.
From the March 18 edition of NRA News' Cam & Company on The Sportsman Channel:
EDWARDS: If you want to treat guns as a public health issue, I don't know, maybe you could treat public health as a public health issue. Wouldn't that make sense if you're the Surgeon General? I'm trying to figure out why it is that Vivek Murthy wants to talk about gun control and wants to push gun control as a public health issue when in fact medical mistakes are responsible for far more deaths in this country than firearms.
The Institutes [sic] of Medicine came out with a study last year, late last year, in which they estimated as many as 440,000 deaths per year in the United States due to preventable medical errors. Things like leaving surgical equipment or even a sponge inside of a patient, wrong dosage of medicine, not washing your hands between patients and infecting patients, you go into the hospital expecting to be treated for one disease, instead you catch another and you don't leave the hospital alive.
Again, 440,000 Americans dying because of preventable medical mistakes every year. Maybe there's an issue for the Surgeon General to take up instead of your gun ownership and my gun ownership, because it sure appears that doctors are a lot more dangerous than gun owners are in this country.
On the March 20 edition of Cam & Company, Edwards said that he would issue a “slight correction” because he “erroneously reported” that an Institute of Medicine study found that as many as 440,000 people die each year from medical errors. Edwards went on to say that he was being snarky when he asserted doctors were more dangerous than gun owners and added, “In all honestly, I have to tell you, I don't think that doctors are more dangerous than guns.” He nonetheless defended comparing deaths due to medical mistakes to the smaller number of deaths due to gun violence, stating, “We should at least acknowledge those numbers.”