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Here are 11 tips for surviving your U.S. hospital stay, with number 12 and perhaps the most important thrown in for good measure:
“Stay away from the hospital unless you have no other option and you absolutely must go.” Why, because medical errors are still the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S.
I am not joking.
If you value your life and the life of your loved one, do these things:
- Empower someone you trust and who loves you to be your patient advocate.
- Each day, especially Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, at the beginning of every shift, your patient advocate must meet and be confident in your assigned nurse. Follow this practice until you leave the hospital.
- Move to a room, as close to the nurses’ station as you can be. If the room is semi-private, ask for the bed closest to the entry door.
- Make sure your patient advocate understands which medications your doctor has ordered for you as well as how much of each medication you are to receive.
- Make absolutely certain that your patient advocate ensures that your nurse correctly administers your medications as your doctor has ordered.
- Do not submit to any procedure unless you understand that your doctor has ordered it for you and you have agreed to have it done.
- Closely observe the nursing team and make certain that they wash their hands and use clean gloves; do not use suction tubes which have fallen onto the floor or onto your bed; and maintain sterile technique when required, e.g. when changing a PICC line (peripherally inserted central catheter) dressing.
- Question everything and ask your questions in three different ways.
- Ask what are the known side effects of every medication and procedure.
- Research everything until you feel comfortable that you understand.
- Just never give up, no matter who says you can’t make it, because you can!
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I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor - 1978