Video: Holiday seasons see an increase in dangerous hospital errors
If possible, do not have an elective surgery or hospitalization during the holiday season
With the holiday season upon us there are two things I want to talk to you about today that can keep you and your family safe when it comes to hospitalizations.
Number one, if you can avoid a hospitalization during the holiday season, you should do it as much as possible. Now what this means if you have an elective surgery—meaning that something you could put off for a month or two—it would be better to wait until the holiday is over. And the reason for this is this: a lot of time we will try to schedule hospitalizations or doctor visits during the holidays because we have time off from work. But if you think about it, at hospitals, the most senior doctors and nurses take that opportunity to be with their families as well. That means on those holiday shifts, you will have the less experienced doctors and nurses working and taking care of you, in general.
Now there are studies galore that show that there is an increase in errors when you have the more senior people off work—whether that would be on the holiday season, during the summer months, even on weekends or evenings.
Number two, if you find yourself in a position where you have to go to a hospital, make sure you bring a trusted family member or friend with you who can be your eyes and ears and be an advocate for the health care that you need. After all, during many holiday seasons, some hospitals are short staffed. That means that, unfortunately, sometimes people can fall through the cracks. And when you fall through the cracks there can be devastating consequences—either new injuries or even the loss of life.
So if you have a family member or friend with you, that person can advocate and ask questions like, “What’s this medicine for?”, make sure that the medication is being dosed and administered on the proper schedule, or even ask questions for a doctor—or make sure that the doctor shows up to evaluate you in person. That way you can have that extra layer of security to make sure you aren’t the patient who falls through the cracks.
I’m Robert Painter, at Painter Law Firm, and on behalf of all of us, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays. We’re always here to assist you at www.painterfirm.com or 281-580-8800.
Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.
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Published in the July/August 2018 edition of "The Houston Lawyer" magazine