Did you know that hospitals are some of the most dangerous places in America?
You’ve probably heard about people that go into the hospital for a relatively benign procedure – sometimes an elective procedure – but are wheeled out of it in a hearse, because they contracted a deadly staph infection. You’ve probably heard about cases in which the wrong limb was amputated. You’ve probably heard about the shortage of qualified nurses…and the shortage of qualified candidates in nursing schools. You’ve probably heard about the sometimes-lax sanitary procedures.
But here’s one thing you may not have heard: MORE THAN 100,000 PEOPLE DIE – EVERY YEAR – BECAUSE OF MEDICAL MISTAKES IN AMERICAN HOSPITALS!
In fact, “Consumer Reports” says that, despite having mandatory checklists to lower the incidence of infection, a frightening number of hospitals don’t really use the checklists.
One of my staff, in fact, tells the story of being wheeled into the operating room, some years back, for sinus surgery. And the last thing he heard before he fell asleep was one nurse asking another, “I don’t even have his chart. Any idea where it is?” And – just as he lost consciousness – my staffer managed to get out, “It’s on my bed!”
Can you imagine how frightening that must have been, for someone about to “go under?”
Plainly speaking…it’s a jungle in there!
So you’d better know how to be your own “best friend,” when it comes to knowing how to take care of yourself in a hospital. And you’d better know how to be your own advocate, as well.
There’s a lot you can do to be an educated – and assertive – patient…
- First of all, don’t take the attitude that “it’s no big deal.” If you’re going to the hospital, and you’re being cut open – no matter if it’s a medical crisis or if it’s elective – it’s a big deal! You should know, ahead of time, exactly what’s going to be done to you. How it’s going to be done. Who’s going to do it. And what the possible complications and risks are.
- Take advantage of our wired world. Peruse the Web for information and reviews on your hospital and your doctor. (Yelp is a good website for this.)
- Who would know about bad doctors and hospitals better than a local malpractice attorney? Contact one. And don’t be shy. It’s your life we’re talking about, here!
- Take your computer (or your iPad or your smart phone) with you to the hospital…so you can do more research if you need to. But don’t take only your computer or iPad or smart phone – take a human being, too! A friend or relative is your best way of having an advocate on-site, and to help you keep accurate records of conversations with doctors, etc. (And to grab the doctor as he/she is rushing past your room in the hallway!
If you’re uneasy about going to the hospital, please feel free to give us a call. We’re here to help! We guide people through this process every day. And we’re just a phone call away!
And, lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions! You have rights! As a patient. As a human being. And as the signee of the check that the hospital or doctor is going to cash.