As a self professed news junkie, I can be found patrolling a variety of news sites multiple times a day. And I also love to read the newspaper in person (I actually prefer it). Not only do I love to know things, I also love to be the first one to know things.
I found this article on Msn.com that made me wish I would not have read. It was titled “10 things your hospital won’t tell you.” Well, that is a chilling thought. I am one of those who blindly follows those with a medical degree. I do not have one so I assume that those who do will know what is best for me. And with my life in their hands, (sometimes figuratively and literally) I want to trust that they will not have secrets. Or make mistakes. But mistakes do happen. Here are some things I learned from the article.
- Hospital mix ups do happen. Worst case scenario: taking out the wrong kidney or giving you the wrong prescription. The article states that 1.5 million patients are harmed, injured, etc. by a hospital mix-up. Yikes. While it is unlikely you will have a kidney mishap, it has been a big problem for those taking prescriptions. Many hospitals are upgrading their beds to those with a digitalized foot board that allows nurses and doctors to put important chart information like allergies and previously prescribed medications. This has been a big step to avoid mix ups.
- You might go into the hospital for one disease, but you are more likely to die from another that you have contracted while in the hospital. I have seen this in my job. I work with seniors who are getting older. When one of them falls and has to stay in the hospital, the chances are they are coming home gets slimmer. And the chances they will be battling another disease unrelated to the fall are getting higher. Pneumonia is one of those diseases that is quickly spread through a hospital. How do you save yourself? While it is not realistic to avoid hospitals all together, especially if you need the lifesaving help that only a doctor can give. Sanitize as often as you can while you are in the hospital and avoid those who are sick.
- There is not a clear chain of command. You know when you are angry with customer service and you ask to speak to a manager? Usually this resolves your issue. But in hospitals the chain of command is not always clear and your doctor is not the “manager” of the situation. With the nurses and doctors reporting to different people and other medical professionals, it is not clear who has an overall say about your care. If you notice a problem, be persistent. If necessary, be noisy. My momma always said, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.”
- Put your negotiating hat on. If you don’t have a health insurance plan, don’t fret. Hospital bills can be negotiated for almost half the cost, especially if you are low income.