Wednesday, June 11, 2008

But what did the nurses say?

The Chicago Tribune article "Hospitals Want Involved Patients" leads with this odd anecdote:

Four years ago, when Edward Lawton was admitted to a New York hospital for surgery, he came prepared.

He brought his own case of sterile gloves and asked nurses to use them after washing their hands with soap and water.

He asked for a blood pressure cuff to stay at his bedside so it wouldn't come in contact with other patients.

And he requested that newspapers not be delivered to his room because "newsprint is dirty" and he wanted to avoid the potential for contamination.
Oy vey. No newspapers. Maybe a little too much "involvement"? 
Now that I've made my joke, I feel compelled to say that I'm all for systemic quality-control efforts to encourage patient assertiveness, enforce hand-washing, reduce line infections, etc. And Lawton is absolutely right that hospitals have to create a culture that makes it easier for patients to speak up about their care, especially hygiene and meds. I've caught a significant error or two (the people involved were gracious), but I've also let questionable stuff slide out of shyness and regreted it later.

1 comment:

L said...

I have to add that this is one of the reasons patients need an assertive family member or friend with them pretty much all the time that they're in the hospital to act as their advocate. Crazy things happen when you're not being vigilent (and often the patient CAN'T be). If being pushy is not your personality -- force yourself. Pushy, but also very polite and kind. This lets the patient be sweet and beloved (and, thus, better treated -- that's really the way it works) by the nurses and doctors; so what if everyone thinks you're a bitch? It's the health, safety and comfort of the person you love that counts.