Yoav Medan

Visiting Associate Professor, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology

This conversation is closed.

"100,000 Americans every year" = A fatal crash of an Airbus A380 every other day. Would you fly if that was the safety record of aviation?

Daniel Kraft has an idea how to approach it
http://www.tedmed.com/videos-info?name=Daniel_Kraft_at_TEDMED_2011&q=viewCount&year=2011

See also http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_harford.html on medical errors and the God complex

  • Feb 5 2012: Without clarification this is a misleading comparison, at the very least for the simple reason that not every American flies 24/7.
  • Feb 1 2012: The analogy is credible if you compare the aviation industry as a whole to the AMA/medical industry as a whole. The government, with public support, would and should quickly shut down the aviation industry if it's mistakes resulted in such extreme and avoidable loss of life. One might think that medicine should be more readily held accountable. Why are they not, both by the government and by the general public? I would submit it's related to money and marketing. Medicine (healthcare) is upwards of 20% of our gross national product. How could we possibly shut such an industry down? Next, reflect upon how Americans "railed" against the possibility that their doctor would be "taken away" from them by a national healthcare system. From Ben Casey to Marcus Welby to modern day medical shows, to 1 in 4 commercials promoting our "need" of medications 24/7...we have been brainwashed to believe in the white-coated gods, their magical potions and our own bodies utterly inept ability to be healthy, stay healthy and get healthy once reduced. It's "mother-culture" at it's worst. Think not? Look in your own medicine cabinet. Consider how often you quickly turn to an over-the-counter drug or a prescription. Reflect upon how much you have been "taught" to catastrophize your every little ache or pain via the marketing of "scare" care vs a true healthcare system.
  • Feb 8 2012: I will be very scared to use airplane.

    Is there any way to promote a safety of avion(airplanes)?
  • Feb 3 2012: The individual rewards of medicine far outweigh the individual rewards of aviation. So if I had to fly to receive life-saving medical attention - or if you want an example that doesn't necessarily include medicine, fly to escape seriously harmful radiation levels, you bet I would.
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      Feb 4 2012: Ryan this is true only in serious or life-threatening situations. However, most of medicine today is about tweaking stuff (think all the "pre" conditions that are treated in essentially healthy individuals with drugs and procedures that have adverse consequences) and screening for disease that may or may not impact us in the long run. We do not have a very good idea of how much harm is caused by all of these interventions that are either marginally necessary or outright unnecessary.
  • Jan 31 2012: Why would I fly in something like a "bus"?
    That sounds downright crazy. Would you fly in a bus?
    I for one will never, ever again believe anyone who stands up for any kind of corporation with sound bytes like,
    "An A380 is meticulously maintained, has multiple engines and other redundant systems,......"
    We are always told what they want us to.......hear? NO, what they want us to think! and I'm not saying Mr. Webber
    is a spokesperson for them, but any corporation is not as concerned with people's deaths as they are with profits.
    Yes, deaths can negatively affect their profits, but certainly not enough to stop them from cutting corners on their "meticulous maintenance" as we know and have witnessed. Hell, even NASA cut corners and continues to do so!

    Sorry, I just don't trust virtually any institution, corporation or politician anywhere, nor believe what they say.
  • Jan 30 2012: The comparison is fatally flawed. An A380 is meticulously maintained, has multiple engines and other redundant systems, things entirely foreign to humans. If an aorta is torn, there is no backup to route through while the primary is restored.

    If you wish to make a fair comparison, begin with a fleet of poorly maintained helicopters and attempt to repair them mid way into a crash, hoping auto-rotation is enough of a delay to effect proper repairs. Oh, and make these 6 billion poorly maintained helicopters fly 14 hours a day, 365 days a year and sometimes while burning bad fuel. Further balance the comparison by requiring the few available replacement parts, sometimes taking a year to find, made for a different model helicopter and limiting other repairs to welds, additives, duct tape, crazy glue and the occasional filter change.

    Now run the numbers.
  • Jan 29 2012: If the flight was necessary to saving my life, then yes, yes I would.