Someone sent me this piece from an obituary: “…His demise was probably iatrogenic.” Iatrogenic was not a word I knew.
It means: “induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures: an iatrogenic rash.”
The origin of the word comes from the Greek, iatros, meaning physician, plus the English suffix -genic. The word’s first known use was in 1924.
Some of the causes of iatrogenesis include side effects of a treatment and drug interactions, which may have been unanticipatable.
Also, “unlike an adverse event, an iatrogenic effect is not always harmful. For example, a scar created by surgery is said to be iatrogenic even though it does not represent improper care and may not be troublesome.”
Still, iatrogenic disease is the 3rd most fatal “disease” in the USA, with avoidable errors such as infection, and medication errors as leading causes of mortality.
Related: the dictum “first do no harm” doesn’t exactly come from the Hippocratic Oath, but it does come from the Hippocratic Corpus, at least in essence.
Sam Simon has died at the age of 59; it was not iatrogenic. He was the co-creator of the hit animated show, The Simpsons. There’s a lovely article about him in Vanity Fair.