protecting yourself from hospital negligence ii

In the previous post, our blog discussed how it’s OK for people who find themselves hospitalized to feel somewhat anxious, but that they also need to remember that they are not at the mercy of potentially negligent staff members or questionable hospital procedures.

Specifically, the post explored how there are certain steps that hospital patients can take to protect themselves from otherwise-preventable medical mistakes and help ensure that their hospital stay is a safe one. In today’s post, we’ll continue to explore some of these simple yet effective steps.

Learn response times

One of the most valuable tools while in the hospital is a call button that enables patients to summon a nurse in the event they need something or, more importantly, if there is a medical emergency. However, experts warn hospital patients to be careful not to rely too heavily on their call buttons, as there is always the potential for them to go unanswered on particularly crowded floors.

Safety advocates advise hospital patients to learn when shift changes and meal times occur, as these are typically the busiest times on the floor, and to time any non-urgent requests accordingly.

More significantly, they urge hospital patients to learn how to summon a rapid response team in the event of a medical emergency — eliminating the possibility of an ignored call button — and not hesitating to take this step in the event they experience any change in vital signs or simply don’t feel right.

Ask your doctors and nurses to wash up

While you would think — and hope — that hospitals and the medical professionals who work there were somewhat fanatical about proper sterilization techniques, this isn’t always the case.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that one out of every 20 patients develops an infection that can be directly attributed to poor hospital hygiene, while a study in the medical journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology determined that 60 percent of the time hospital staff fails to follow proper hand-washing guidelines.

Safety advocates indicate that hospital patients can protect themselves from dangerous hospital-acquired infections by simply asking if the medical professionals examining them have washed their hands or used hand sanitizer. While this may seem somewhat strange or even uncomfortable to bring up, they urge patients to remember that their health is more important and that most medical professionals are more than happy to oblige when the subject is broached politely.

If hospital negligence here in Pennsylvania has caused you or your family to suffer unnecessarily, consider speaking with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Source: Yahoo! Health, “Protect yourself: 8 common mistakes made by hospital staffs,” Cindy Kuzma, Oct. 7, 2013 

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