n. A widespread disease or injury caused by the extensive use of an erroneous or harmful medical procedure.
Medical practice, too, experiences "surgical fads" and "iatroepidemics"—epidemics caused by fashions in treatment—like the iatro-epidemic of children’s tonsillectomies that swept the United States and parts of Europe in the mid-20th century.
Injury from medical treatment in the U.S. accounts for more deaths than all other accidents combined. Detrimental effects have become so extensive as to prompt the use of the term "iatroepidemic".
"Iatroepidemic" is a term I have coined to denote an epidemic, or plague, caused by doctors. Like "iatrogenic" it derives from the Greek (iatros=doctor, epi=on, demos=people). Iatroepidemics develop because of systematic errors incorporated into medical practice. The application of these errors to masses of patients result in harm or death to large numbers. Unlike iatrogenic episodes, which are random and accidental, iatroepidemics are systematic and their causes are predictable — and therefore potentially preventable.