Home » Health » Medicine

How To Avoid Illness During Your Hospital Stay

Nov 21, 2007
Kathy was scheduled for surgery at 9 a.m. As she was being wheeled into the operating room, the nurse smiled and assured her the surgeon would do a wonderful job with her hysterectomy.

Kathy shrieked and sat bolt upright. Hysterectomy?! She was scheduled for gall bladder surgery! The nurse showed her the paper work that called for a hysterectomy.

Kathy immediately dressed and fled. She found a new physician and a new hospital and had her gall bladder successfully removed two weeks later. Two years later, she gave birth to her third child.

While estimates vary, every year tens of thousands of people die or are harmed in hospitals due to preventable incidents. And while incorrect surgeries make the headlines, infections and drug interactions cause most problems. Here are some tips to protect yourself.

Prepare Yourself

* Look for a board certified doctor. The American Board of Medical Specialists' "Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists" is available at many libraries, or 866-ASK-ABMS, or visit their website.

* Be sure hospitalization is necessary, and you understand the diagnosis, options, and potential problems.

* Be direct when talking to a doctor. Don't minimize or trivialize your problems. Bring someone along on an important visit with a doctor.

* Read up on your disorder to become more knowledgeable. Write your questions in advance, and use a notepad or take a recorder.

* Get an opinion from a doctor with no connection to the first one.

* Learn as much as you can about your doctor, either informally, or through professional groups.

* Ask tough questions, such as how many of these surgeries he has performed, and his success rate. Will he do the operation, or an assistant? Call the hospital to verify the numbers.

* Get the hospital's success rate for the procedure you will receive, particularly for major surgery.

* Ask your surgeon about the optimal timing for surgeries and preventive antibiotics, and about options for transfusions and pain control.

* Plan your recovery, including home care you will need.

* For more help, get the booklet "Having Surgery? What You Need To Know" from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Call 800-358-9295, or visit their website for the e-mail address.

Monitor Your Medications

* Ask your doctor to help you compile a list of additional drugs you'll probably need including nonprescription drugs. Include the name, dosage instructions, color, number, and shape of pills.

* Discuss allergic reactions you have had well in advance.

* Bring the pill containers for all the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs.

* Give your medications to your anesthesiologist, along with your complete medical history.

* Be sure your medications are recorded on your medical chart.

* Make sure your name and any allergies are correct on your wristband. Nurses should check it each time before administering a drug.

* If a drug appears different, get an explanation from the doctor or pharmacist before taking the drug.

During Your Stay

* Be certain you understand forms you are asked to sign. Get copies before going to the hospital.

* Ask the surgeon to mark the surgery site while you are awake.

* Have someone stay with you the first 24 hours following surgery, and as much as possible afterwards.

* You should expect reasonable pain control. If you are not comfortable, notify your doctor.

* Request that doctors and medical personnel wash their hands before touching you.

* Only let a Registered Nurse (RN) perform the following procedures: inserting IVs, catheters or gastric tubes; changing sterile dressings or treating damaged skin; giving shots; or caring for a tracheotomy or giving tube feedings.

* Discuss your treatment plan in advance, and question your doctor about unexpected treatments.

* Appeal your discharge if you don't feel you are ready to go home.

* Have a thorough review with your surgeon before you leave the hospital. Know what warning signs to look for during recovery and possible side effects from medications.
About the Author
John Myre is the author of the award-winning book, Live Safely in a Dangerous World, and the publisher of the Safety Times Reproducible Articles..
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 133
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources