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The hospital: Worst place to be, especially if you're sick

#12
Re: Don't drink the water.

I thought this thread was meant to be humerous. Seems pretty serious stuff.

We have just had two big outbreaks of gastro, one in a old folks home (sorry I meant residential care facility) the other in a hospital.

The hospital one was so bad they were asking relatives and friends to stay away.

I have done a few ISO9001 programs in healthcare but the biggest problem with that sector is that they believe they are different from all other industries and therefore stuff that we as quality practitioners believe to be basic they won't do.

Our State Government (South Australia) has just issued yet another 4 year blueprint for improving quality and safety in Healthcare.

But there is no compliance requirement; "goodwill" and "corridor meetings" are amongst the words used to describe how the blueprint will be implemented.
Yep! I'm a member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (http://www.ihi.org/). A BIG issue is "ego" of healthcare professionals with a "god complex" thinking their education and training makes them far superior to mere mortals. Heck - we can't even get them to wash their hands before and after tending a patient to protect themselves, let alone the next patient, from evil virus and bacteria transmission.

I visit many healthcare facilities and rarely miss seeing some worker (especially doctors!) sneezing into a hand or wiping a dripping nose and proceeding without washing.

On the occasions when I am the patient, I am VERY obnoxious in demanding they wash or put on fresh gloves BEFORE tending me. If they don't, I literally scream the house down, making myself a target for a psychiatric bed! I once threw a plastic cup full of water at an intern for replying, "Don't be silly!" when I requested she wash her hands before examining me without gloves. My comment accompanying the water is unprintable, but it was LOUD!

I note a lot more use of a new change of protective gloves before tending patients in recent months - maybe the messages about hygiene are starting to sink in!
 

Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#13
Re: Don't drink the water.

Yep! I'm a member of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (http://www.ihi.org/). A BIG issue is "ego" of healthcare professionals with a "god complex" thinking their education and training makes them far superior to mere mortals. Heck - we can't even get them to wash their hands before and after tending a patient to protect themselves, let alone the next patient, from evil virus and bacteria transmission.

I visit many healthcare facilities and rarely miss seeing some worker (especially doctors!) sneezing into a hand or wiping a dripping nose and proceeding without washing.

On the occasions when I am the patient, I am VERY obnoxious in demanding they wash or put on fresh gloves BEFORE tending me. If they don't, I literally scream the house down, making myself a target for a psychiatric bed! I once threw a plastic cup full of water at an intern for replying, "Don't be silly!" when I requested she wash her hands before examining me without gloves. My comment accompanying the water is unprintable, but it was LOUD!

I note a lot more use of a new change of protective gloves before tending patients in recent months - maybe the messages about hygiene are starting to sink in!
Hi Wes,

Next time, when you visit a hospital, what is the chance that they will restrain you? :) :)
 
#14
Re: Don't drink the water.

Hi Wes,

Next time, when you visit a hospital, what is the chance that they will restrain you? :) :)
That's another thing - if you can possibly arrange it, ALWAYS try to have someone trustworthy available from family or friends circle and give him your medical power of attorney to carry out your wishes if unable to express yourself, ESPECIALLY if the medicos are going to restrain you.

One of the most unconscionable things hospitals do is transport a patient from his room to another section of hospital for tests or treatment and then park him in a hallway or waiting room with no one around to keep tabs on him because the "system" is running late. On my most recent stay, they had five of us patients lined up in a cold hallway waiting for xrays. At least I had my wife along to look out for me, but one young woman patient was too timid or too embarrassed to speak up and had a most unfortunate accident while sitting in her wheelchair. Worse, the nearest semi-public bathroom was over 100 yards away. It took my wife two or three minutes to find someone to even agree to come to the woman's aid and another five minutes before the aid came - I was at the point of pulling a fire alarm just to get someone's attention. Heck - you get faster service for a spill in a supermarket aisle.
 
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Colin

Quite Involved in Discussions
#15
Great article Jim, it made me smile and its good to hear that there are great similarities in the type of care we receive on each side of the Atlantic Ocean.

I too have just had to spend a week in hospital for a heart problem which required 'total bed rest' for a few days. How anyone could describe what I went through as total rest would be at best creative thinking and at worst, plain lies!

I have discovered that our hospitals have fetish about trolleys - any size, shape, colour or design will do as long as it has wheels by which to move things around and make noises. I swear I will take in a can of lubricant next time and conduct a service on each one of the damn things!

Still, like you, I had fantastic care from the nurses and support staff and I am genuinely grateful for their help.
 

Stijloor

Staff member
Super Moderator
#16
Re: Don't drink the water.

That's another thing - if you can possibly arrange it, ALWAYS try to have someone trustworthy available from family or friends circle and give him your medical power of attorney to carry out your wishes if unable to express yourself, ESPECIALLY if the medicos are going to restrain you.

One of the most unconscionable things hospitals do is transport a patent from his room to another section of hospital for tests or treatment and then park him in a hallway or waiting room with no one around to keep tabs on him because the "system" is running late. On my most recent stay, they had five of us patients lined up in a cold hallway waiting for xrays. At least I had my wife along to look out for me, but one young woman patient was too timid or too embarrassed to speak up and had a most unfortunate accident while sitting in her wheelchair. Worse, the nearest semi-public bathroom was over 100 yards away. It took my wife two or three minutes to find someone to even agree to come to the woman's aid and another five minutes before the aid came - I was at the point of pulling a fire alarm just to get someone's attention. Heck - you get faster service for a spill in a supermarket aisle.
The more I read the posts here, the more I believe that the health care (industry?) could benefit from excellent manufacturing practices and experiences.... I've heard stories from both sides; health care provider and patient, USA and Europe.
 
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Jim Wynne

Staff member
Admin
#17
Re: Don't drink the water.

That's another thing - if you can possibly arrange it, ALWAYS try to have someone trustworthy available from family or friends circle and give him your medical power of attorney to carry out your wishes if unable to express yourself, ESPECIALLY if the medicos are going to restrain you.
This is very good advice. I think that most hospitals are now recommending this to patients upon admission, and are providing the information necessary to get it done.

One of the best things that we can do is to be as well-informed as possible about our own condition, and this is facilitated greatly by information available on the Internet. We tend to accept what our doctors say as gospel, believing that they are always on top of the latest advances. Not so, I'm afraid, and my own experience has been that many physicians are woefully ignorant of the state of the art.

I have had the misfortune to be afflicted with a nasty disease called Wikipedia reference-linkHidradenitis Suppurativa, which is characterized by chronic and painful inflammation of apocrine (sweat) primarily in the armpits and groin. There is no cure outside of surgery, which has historically involved wide excision of the afflicted area and subsequent skin grafts. I'm not boasting when I say that I now know more about this disease than the majority of physicians. My first experience with it was in 1984, when I had an outbreak in my right armpit and the excision and skin grafting. There are two separate surgeries involved: the excision, which creates a huge gaping wound, as it entails removing almost all of the soft tissue in the afflicted area in order to remove all of the sweat glands, then a period of a week or so of isolation in the hospital, then the skin graft. The graft involves removal of skin from the anterior thigh with something resembling a cheese slicer, and grafting it onto the armpit. Needless to say, it's an extremely painful and protracted process, with much recuperation time.

Many general surgeons simply refuse to perform the surgery due to the risks of recurrence and the tendency of skin grafting not to "take," which requires additional grafting. In 2002, I experienced another outbreak in the other armpit, and searched unsuccessfully for weeks for a surgeon who was willing to take it on. In the interim, one is faced with either just living with the debilitating pain or taking pain medication in amounts that would be in themselves disabling. Finally I reached a surgeon who, while refusing to do the surgery himself, recommended that I go to a big teaching hospital in either Chicago or Milwaukee (they're roughly equidistant from my home), and contact the plastic surgery department, rather than general surgeons.

It so happens that there is such a hospital and connected medical college in suburban Milwaukee (Froedert Hospital and Medical College of Wisconsin) where I had the good fortune to hook up with the college's chief of plastic surgery, Dr. David Larson. I was amazed to learn that not only was he well familiar with the disease and willing to perform the surgery, he told me that the skin grafting part of it (the worst part, by far) wasn't necessary. And he was absolutely correct. Of the dozen or so surgeons I had previously contacted, none were aware that the procedure could be successfully performed without skin grafts. While the surgery and ensuing recuperation weren't easy by any stretch, the whole experience was better by far, without the risks of unsuccessful skin grafts. Part of the down side was that I had an unusually severe case of the disease, which in a teaching hospital means that you become a learning tool, and parades of physicians in training will visit you, take pictures, poke around, and ask questions. In effect you become a medical specimen and exemplar, but that was OK with me.

The moral to the story is be informed, and don't think for a minute that your doctor has taken the time to be familiar with the literature. Don't ever hesitate to question your doctors, and always be aware that there's an excellent chance that they don't know what they're talking about.

Added in edit: Another plus, if you want to call it that, is that because I've had all of the sweat glands in my armpits removed, I no longer have to use antiperspirants. :tg:
 
#18
Re: Don't drink the water. (Unless bottled)

Hi guys
Utmost repsect for all the skill of nurses and staff, but as my wife once said, "hospitals are the worse place when you're feeling ill!". Guess what, she's a senior nurse. :agree1:
Over here in the UK, I sometimes wonder how our NHS would get on if it had to make it's own way, like us mere mortals in the private sector?

Get well soon Jim

Paul
 

ScottK

Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
#19
D'Oh!

I wend through a lower GI issue about a month ago (diverticulitis was the diagnosis until I can get a GI doc to do the in *ahem* depth examination).
Luckily I wasn't hospitalized.
But I'm still recovering from the antibiotics.

I hope all is well now, Jim.
 
C

curryassassin

#20
Having just finished four days of hospitalization for an upper GI problem, I can once again testify to the fact that a hospital is no place for a sick person to be. I wrote about this last year in my local newspaper, and also posted the piece here. As I said in the comments under that post, I have boundless respect for nurses and the other people involved in taking care of hospitalized people, but the system as a whole seems to be directed at making patients as miserable as possible, which makes the plight of nurses even more difficult.
Don't agree. A couple of years ago, I suffered a heart attack (although it did not seem as bad as it sounds) and spent about a week in the Cardiac Care Ward of The John Radcliffe Hospital (Oxford - an NHS (not private) hospital) and the care I received was exemplary. The ward was a secure one (the door was locked to unauthorised visitors) and we even had a scheduled afternoon nap when the lights were dimmed and visitors were asked to leave. Apart from being in hospital, I did not want to be anywhere else.
 
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