Doctors vs Gun Owners

(A) The number of physicians in the United States is 700,000.
(B) Accidental deaths caused by physicians per year are 120,000.
(C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.

Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health Human Services.

Now think about this:

(A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000. (80 million)
(B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, in all age groups is 1,500.
(C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.

Statistics courtesy of FBI


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

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


Please alert your friends to this alarming threat!! We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!

9 replies on “Doctors vs Gun Owners”

🙂 How about putting this in a mail and then saying “Please forward it to 10 people or you will be mistreated by the next gun u see, or the next doctor you get get operated on your private parts!”


Only that people who appear at the vicinity of doctors already have a high probability of losing it out compared to the people who piss the gun keepers off. Poor doctors, they have to (often) fight for a losing cause.

Assumption : The doctors in America aren’t like govt. doctors here !!!!

Statistically men who pass out of IIMs have 2.2 children and women who pass out have 1.8 children. Hence men deliver more children than women.

I have no stake in the gun ownership debate, I merely want to point out that this is not the way to analyze the issue. First of all, the populations are different. The only group of people who are likely to die of a doctor-related accident are those who are ill enough to require a procedure where an accidental death is a possible outcome of doctor intervention.

As a proportion of these people are likely to have multiple visits due to their illness, one would have to calculate the fatal accident rate per doctor visit or, per operation/intervention in the U.S. There may be 700,000 physicians in the U.S., but the number of hospital/doctor visits is, wait for it… 1.2 billion per year, according to latest figures from the NCHS, which gives us a fatal accident rate of .0001 per hospital/doctor visit. It would be better to calculate this number relative to a range of procedures where fatality is a possibility, but this is not an essay I’m writing here.

The point is, simply dividing the number of physicians in the U.S. by the number of accidental deaths tells us nothing about the likelihood of an accidental death due to medical intervention.

And do note that one has to balance this against the likely death rate if all those people went untreated. You would then be able to calculate the risk of going to a doctor versus the risk of not going to a doctor. That would require a lot more detail.

Comparing this to gun ownership is tricky because even the NRA hasn’t accurate figures as to the number of gun owners in the U.S. Between the department of justice and the NRA, the figure is estimated at 35 to 50 percent of households. If you take the upper range, this turns into 56 million households with guns based on current census data (approx 112 million households in the U.S. as of 2008). Obviously this is a broad measure of a household – single women with children are unlikely to be gun owners, so the number of adults owning guns will be lower – much lower than the figures claimed here.

According to the NRA, guns account for 0.6 percent of accidental deaths nationally, while medical mistakes account for 0.8 percent. Obviously this isn’t an equal comparison as, if there were no guns, there could be no accidental gun deaths, while if there was no medicine, the death rate from illness would be huge.

So think of it this way: In 2005, there were 477,000 reported victims of violent crime involving guns; there were, roughly, 12,000 homicide fatalities. This gives a 0.25 rate of fatal homicide for every violent crime involving a gun, which is to say, the likelihood of dying in a violent crime involving guns is many, many times greater than dying from a physician accident during a hospital/doctor visit.

These are back of the cuff calculations, they could be refined considerably by a statistician, but they illustrate why this internet factoid is bunk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *