HOSPITAL SECRETS

I recently read an article on MSN titled, “10 Things Your Hospital Won’t Tell You.” A summary of the most important of those “10 things” follows:

1. At least 1.5 million patients are harmed every year by medication errors, according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

2. A study released recently by Resources for the Future, a nonprofit group that conducts independent research on public health issues, says infections of sepsis and pneumonia acquired in the hospital may kill 48,000 people each year.

3. Who is in charge? Getting the attention of the right person can be difficult. Nurses don’t report to doctors but rather to a nurse supervisor. And your personal doctor has little say over radiology or the labs running your tests, which are managed by the hospital. Some facilities employ “hospitalists” — doctors who act as a point person to conduct the flow of information.

4. All hospitals are not created equal…how do you find a good one? Look for hospitals with plenty of well-trained nurses. Low nurse staffing directly affected patient outcomes resulting in more problems, such as urinary-tract infections, shock and gastrointestinal bleeding, according to a 2001 study by Harvard and Vanderbilt University. An American Nurses Association website lists “magnet” hospitals — those most attractive to nurses — and a call to a hospital’s nurse supervisor should yield the nurse-to-patient ratio.

5. Make sure your hospital Emergency Room is a good one. A 2007 study from the Institute of Medicine found that hospital emergency departments are overburdened, underfunded, and ill-prepared to handle disasters as the number of people turning to ERs for primary care keeps rising. Nearly three-quarters of ER directors reported inadequate coverage by on-call specialists versus 67% in 2004, according to a 2006 survey conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

I recommend reading the entire MSN article and would love to hear from the readers of this blog if they have encountered similar problems with any of the following hospitals in Western Virginia:

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Memorial Hospital of Martinsville and Henry County, Danville Regional Medical Center, Stonewall Jackson Hospital, Carilion New River Valley Hospital, Montgomery Regional Hospital, Wellmont Bristol Regional Hospital, Carilion Giles Memorial Hospital, Alleghany Regional Hospital, Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital, Tazewell Community Hospital, and Lewis-Gale Medical Center.

Dan Frith

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.