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Editor's Choice

Premature deaths should be the priority for prevention

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c3946 (Published 22 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3946
  1. Fiona Godlee, editor, BMJ
  1. fgodlee{at}bmj.com

    “We must all die from something,” Iona Heath reminds us, lest we forget (doi:10.1136/bmj.c3883). Her point, beautifully made as always, is that we should focus not on reducing mortality, which will always be 100%, but on reducing premature mortality. And this means we must prioritise. “If we continue to fight all causes of mortality, particularly in extreme old age, we have no hope of success,” she writes. “And we will consume an ever increasing proportion of healthcare resources for ever diminishing returns.”

    This week’s BMJ features two important global causes of premature mortality: malaria and suicide. Now that TV celebrity Cheryl Cole is on the mend from her recent bout of malaria, it seems reasonable to …

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