Friday, November 19, 2010

Safety First

Several weeks ago Consumer Reports published a very practical, easy-to-comprehend guide to patient safety. "Staying Safe in the Hospital" is full of nuggets like “Question, question, question until things are explained in a way you understand."  I've been to the hospital recently. You gotta watch out when you're there.


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Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is responsible for difficult-to-treat infections in humans. Hospital-acquired (aka "healthcare associated" or "HA-MRSA") infections afflict about 94,000 Americans each year and are associated with more than 16,000 deaths per year. 
 
About 85 percent of all invasive MRSA infections in the US in 2005 were associated with healthcare, and of those, about two-thirds occurred outside of the hospital - in acute care settings, nursings homes, etc. These MRSA infections were 19 percent fatal, according to a study published in 2007 in JAMA
Enjoying a cup of coffee

In the first three quarters of this year 42,793 healthcare-associated infections have been reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Thirteen nursing homes remain out of compliance for reporting...
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Mom's old 'hood
Q: How do I get to the hospital...?
A: Just keep standing in the middle of street, lady! 


In fact the hospital is about two blocks from the house where my mom grew up. It's weird how the neighborhood has changed since I was a kid. Now an enormous medical complex dominates the landscape and drives interesting foot traffic to the ubiquitous Starbucks. Some people wear business clothes; a lot more wear athletic gear. Some wear purple scrubs and wait impatiently. Some wear hospital gowns and slippers: they have escaped only long enough to smoke a cigarette or maybe enjoy a cup of coffee.

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