In the market for a new hospital?
This last week I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching hospitals online. Why?
First, I recently posted about the book, Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care, which questions the safety standards of American hospitals. The author, Dr. Marty Makary, writes about the difficulties both patients and patient safety advocates have in choosing and evaluating hospitals when the necessary information is not made public.
Second, my family is in the process of choosing both a new insurance plan and a new hospital and doctors. Our… Continue reading
Medicine’s code of silence
I remember I was a very new and young nurse when I realized most patients haven’t a clue what goes on behind the privacy curtain of medical care in a hospital.
Working in the operating room, I quickly learned who were the best—and the worst—surgeons. The best had skill and good judgement, and I would enthusiastically refer my family and friends, if needed.
And the worst? “Why do these docs still get patient referrals?” I used to wonder. “Why doesn’t the hospital do something? How are patients supposed to know?”
I still ask myself these questions.… Continue reading
Too many CT scans ordered on children
This morning I read a post by a pediatric intensive care (PICU) doctor who admitted too many CT scans are still being given to children, despite recent evidence that radiation exposure from the scans carries a not insignificant future risk of cancer.
I posted about the results of this study a couple of months ago: Children are more “radiosensitive” than adults; CT scanners can vary dramatically in the amount of radiation exposure; and radiation exposure is cumulative–more CT scans relate to a higher risk.
This doctor focused on the overuse of … Continue reading
Even doctors are afraid of hospitals
One of my best friends is a physician, and we have an agreement: if either of us needs to go into the hospital for surgery, the other will be there to make sure everything is done right.
Hospitals are scary places, even for–especially for–health care professionals.
Dr. Laura Nathanson’s husband died as a result of incorrect diagnosis and delayed treatment due to poor communication between his doctors. To help inform and guide other families, she wrote a book, What You Don’t Know Can Kill You: A Physician’s Radical Guide to Conquering the Obstacles to … Continue reading
The classic black comedy of medical training
The emotional and physical traumas of interns are well documented (if hilariously exaggerated) in The House of God by Samuel Shem. The “best medical students” become “terns,” the lowest of the low in the hospital hierarchy, and yet are expected to save lives on a daily basis, usually with little sleep and little or no supervision.
Shem, the pen name of a Harvard-trained physician, published “The House of God” in 1978 to provoke the medical education establishment and speak out against “the brutality of medical training.”
July 1, the hospital New Year
This … Continue reading
CT scans increase a child’s risk of developing cancer
A year ago the British medical journal, The Lancet, published a study looking at the potential cancer risk to children from using CT scans.
CT scans use ionizing radiation, and children are considered more “radiosensitive” than adults.
The Lancet study concluded there was “… a positive association between radiation dose from CT scans and leukaemia” and recommended “…although clinical benefits should outweigh the small absolute risks, radiation doses from CT scans ought to be kept as low as possible and alternative procedures, which do not involve ionising radiation, should be … Continue reading
The FDA gets consumer friendly
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently launched the FDA Patient Network, its new patient-centric website. The website’s slogan, according to FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, is “Get Informed. Get Involved. Help FDA Help Patients Have a Bigger Voice.”
The website is a result of last year’s FDA Safety and Innovation Act mandate to increase patient participation in the medical product approval process. The twin goals for this website are to educate and engage the public, and after spending some time on the site I am impressed with what it offers.… Continue reading
Florida. The Sunshine State. I am here on vacation enjoying some much-needed warmth and sun. I’m also enjoying the abundance of fresh oranges and grapefruit.
Luckily for me, I don’t take any prescription medications. I remember all the dire warnings in the media last fall that grapefruit juice is more deadly than ever—beware!
Of course, grapefruit has not suddenly turned evil. The problem is that there are so many medications on the market, more every year, that interact badly—yes, even lethally—with that ruby red fruit.
Grapefruit, as well as limes, pomelos and Seville oranges, contain chemical compounds called furanocoumarins, … Continue reading
I mentioned in a previous post that three years ago my husband almost died from a series of medical, um, misjudgments, let’s say. I know sometimes things go wrong for no reason, but I also know his three-day ICU stay could have been prevented.
He never received a “mea culpa” from the doctors or hospital; all we got were the medical bills. Our insurance, a catastrophic/health savings account (HSA) plan, paid 100% of the costs after we met our deductible and out-of-pocket maximum ($10,000). At that point we stopped receiving bills, so I don’t know the exact total of … Continue reading
Three years ago, my husband nearly died because of a series of medical mistakes. Although no one was guilty of clear medical malpractice (grossly negligent care resulting in harm), the hospital’s attempts to cut costs, a physician’s careless instructions, and a firewall of inflexible receptionists who refused to let me speak with a doctor led to a 911 call, a trip to the ER, and a 3-day stay in the ICU.
Luckily, he survived. But the resulting medical bills, as you can imagine, were enormous. And completely preventable.
Would it shock you to know that in 1999 the Institute of … Continue reading