Signs That Your Doctor (or Surgeon) Hasn’t Gotten Enough Sleep

Sleep deprivation is a huge problem in the medical community. Doctors and surgeons spend nearly 1.5 times as long in the workplace as the average American. Their hard work is admirable, of course, but not when it forces them to forgo sleep. Experts believe that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, and yet, we don’t bat an eye at the idea of 24-hour medical shifts — just five hours of which, according to an Annals of Thoracic Medicine study, are spent sleeping for the vast majority of physicians. Unfortunately, it can be tough to pinpoint sleep-deprived doctors….

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Before Your Surgery: How to Make Sure Your Doctors and Hospital Prepare Properly

Surgery is in your near future and you’re feeling nervous. One mistake could cause years of suffering. Now is not the time for complacency; by paying attention to seemingly mundane details, you can ensure that hospital staff members are adequately prepared. Check Hospital Ratings and Lawsuit History How do Leapfrog and Consumer Reports (two of the most comprehensive providers of hospital ratings) grade the hospital you intend to visit? Specifically, what do they say about surgery? How likely are patients at your desired hospital to contract infections? Lawsuit history can also provide valuable insight into the preparedness of your surgical…

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Who Rates Hospitals for Safety, and What Standards Do They Use?

The 1999 Institute of Medicine report To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System revolutionized hospital safety ratings. This landmark report revealed that medical errors result in up to 98,000 deaths every year. This estimate suggests that more Americans die due to hospitals than in car crashes. Since the report’s publication, several organizations have doubled down their efforts to improve public awareness of hospital safety. The following are among the most important systems for rating and reviewing hospitals: Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades Every year, The Leapfrog Group consolidates a variety of medical stats (along with feedback from experts) to…

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How Tired Are Doctors and Nurses, Really? (By the Numbers)

Tired doctors make more mistakes. Intuitively, we know this. And we may have read studies like this one (or related news reports). Yet medical culture still glorifies 28-hour shifts and puts residents through the ringer, often forcing them to work 80-hour weeks, all on an irregular sleep schedule that makes recovery from fatigue harder. The medical field has tried in the past to address this worrying problem, but how much have they achieved in recent years? How Tired Is Your Doctor? Regulations prohibit doctors from working more than 80 hours in a week or in excess of 28 hours in…

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How and Why Do Hospitals Get Shut Down?

Hospital closures throw communities into disarray, particularly in rural areas. Shutdowns disrupt emergency health services, putting locals at risk of injury and death. While urban areas (e.g. Washington D.C.) can generally finance alternative emergency care; poorer regions often lack resources to cope, especially after disasters like storms or fires. Why Do Hospitals Close? Many U.S. hospitals simply run out of money due to declining patient rates and uninsured patients. Others hemorrhage staff and can’t support community needs. Still others flounder because of inefficient management or logistical/infrastructure problems. Industry observers worry that this crisis will worsen in the next few years….

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Which Pieces of Medical Equipment Frequently Malfunction?

Medical devices serve a vital role. When operated effectively, they preserve patient health, minimize suffering and reduce cost of care. But they don’t always work as intended. In fact, devices fail far more often than most people realize. And these malfunctions cause injuries, accidents, and far too many deaths. Manufacturers insist, doggedly, that their products are safe, even when compelling evidence to the contrary is presented. And although device recalls occur with regularity, they come too late for thousands of patients. Which Devices Are at Risk for Failure? Any device that relies on blood or body monitoring is prone to…

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What Medical Documents Will I Need to Gather for My Medical Malpractice Case?

Medical malpractice cases are difficult to process for many reasons. You and your medical malpractice attorney will need to gather many different medical documents while litigating your lawsuit. Your lawsuit could be against a medical provider, a pharmaceutical business, or other medical entity.  You could help your case provide proper documentation if you gather the proper letters, records, forms, and data. Careful review of those documents may show that negligence on part of the health care professionals was involved. What Are the Different Kinds of Documents I Will Need? Medical records. Most of the time, your medical records will be…

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Tips to Ensure Your Doctors and Nurses Take Good Care of You in the Hospital

When you go to the hospital, you naturally want to assume everyone there has your best interests at heart—and most of the time, they do. However, when doctors and nurses work long shifts and care for many patients at once, it becomes easier for touch points to be overlooked or mistakes to be made. What can you do to help your healthcare providers give you the level of care you need and deserve? Here are some tips that may help. Be polite and respectful, even when you don’t feel like it. Let’s be honest: You’re not going to be at…

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How Dangerous Is Poor Air Quality in Hospitals?

For hospitals and other healthcare facilities, maintaining a high indoor air quality (IAQ) is a must for patient safety. Most hospitals install high-caliber ventilation and air filtration systems designed to clean the air and maintain healthy humidity levels. On occasion, however, these systems may either fail or prove inadequate, endangering patients, visitors and healthcare workers in the process. What are some of the potential dangers when a hospital has poor air quality? Here’s a partial list: Airborne pathogens. Disease germs and harmful microbes that float in the air pose the greatest health risk by far in poorly ventilated hospitals. Not…

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How Can You Make Sure Your Doctor Is Really Listening to You?

One of the biggest deterrents to medical errors is to establish clear, open communication between doctor and patient—however, sometimes a doctor visit can feel like you’re just being processed through the system without actually being heard. The primary reason is that your doctor sees many patients a day, and between following established protocols and perhaps a bit of fatigue, she might be running through the checkup on autopilot. What can you do to politely break that pattern to ensure your doctor really hears and responds to your concerns? Make a List of Concerns One way to keep your conversation on…

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