In a recent study of Medicare patients who were hospitalized, there are disturbing revelations concerning the care they are given. Three of the most common mistakes are, infections from catheters, incorrect medication and bleeding after surgery are all preventable. What is most disturbing is that researches state that 180,000 deaths results from these mistakes. According to one recent article it states:

The country is in a patient safety crisis,” said David Arkush, the director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division in a statement. “The only workable solution to preventing unnecessary deaths and injuries is to combine much more patient-protective hospital protocols with much better scrutiny by hospitals of physicians and other health care providers, and to appropriately discipline those whose performance results in preventable patient harm.”

The American Hospital Association, which represents 5,000 hospitals in the United States, said it is committed to improvement.

“While hospitals have made great strides in improving care, this report highlights that there is more we can do,” Rich Umbdenstock, President and CEO of the American Hospital Association, told CNN in a statement. “Hospitals are already engaged in important projects designed to improve patient care in many of the areas mentioned in the report.  We are committed to taking additional needed steps to improve patient care.”

For patients concerned about harmful mistakes in the hospital, here’s a few tips to help you stay safe.

1. Bring someone with you to the hospital

Having an advocate at your side who can help insure that your concerns won’t go unheard during a hospital stay.

2. Know your medications

Get a daily list of all the medications you’re taking and their dosages. When the hospital staffer comes to give you your medicine, make sure what he’s giving you matches your list.

3. Be cautious of catheters

These can be the source of infections.  Ask whether you really need one.  Don’t let hospital personnel leave it in any longer than necessary.

Number 2 is a great idea. I know that is one recent stay at our local hospital, my wife caught the medication they were trying to administer, as being twice the amount she was actually taking. Though the overdose of the medication would have not caused death, one does need to be cautious when in the hospital and medications are given to you.

Having an advocate with you can also help in making sure you are treated properly. My wife and I have on file notices that each of us is the advocate for the other, in addition to the do not resuscitate order.

What have you done to protect you and your family when hospitalized?

Comments welcome.

Source – CNN