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July 16, 1955


JAMA. 1955;158(11):905-907. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02960110011003

Accidents are the third cause of death and, as such, deserve more attention from the medical profession than they have hitherto received. While heart disease is the leading cause, and cancer takes second place, the role of accidents can no longer be ignored in our consideration of the present-day health problems. This is particularly true if we present the problem statistically in life years lost rather than the usual crude death rate or standard death rate. In a recent year (1952) in British Columbia, it is noted that, although heart disease was the leading cause ofdeath and accounted for 36.2% of all deaths, heart disease was only responsible for 12% of life years lost from all causes of death. Cancer, the second cause, accounted for 15.7% of all deaths, but cancer was responsible for only 10% of life years lost from all causes. On the other hand, accidents, although accounting