Of Mortals and Rates

Much has been made of the fact that US mortality rates are not as good as country X, Y, or Z. Of course, it would help if everyone used the same criteria to define “mortality,” wouldn’t it? Via the Token Conservative, we have this enlightening information:

Having said that, I should make it clear that the United States has one of the highest [infant mortality] rates of the industrialized world only because it counts all dead infants, including premature babies, which is where most of the fatalities occur.

Most countries do not count premature-infant deaths. Some don’t count any deaths that occur in the first 72 hours. Some countries don’t even count any deaths from the first two weeks of life. In Cuba, which boasts a very low infant-mortality rate, infants are only registered when they are several months old, thereby leaving out of the official statistics all infant deaths that take place within the first several months of life.

The article, written by Russian who lived and worked under the Soviet health care system, is lengthy but worth reading in its entirety. Once again, there is much history that we ignore at our peril.