Hospitalization

Nursing Burnout and the Three-Day, Ten-Hour Work Shift

Nursing Burnout and the Three-Day, Ten-Hour Work Shift

It’s no secret that hospital nurses are overworked and underpaid. Worse, long shifts lead to emotional and physical burnout that places the safety of patients, as well as the nurse’s own career, at serious risk. One study revealed that nurses who work shifts longer than ten hours are at sharply increased risk for burnout....

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Ouch! That Hurts!

Ouch! That Hurts!

  A patient is offered Vicodin (an opioid) at an E.R. for a sprained ankle and level 5 pain. Proponents of the war on drugs (which isn’t winnable) contend that this is inappropriate because of lack of efficacy and the risk of addition/tolerance. As one physician stated (without citing any studies): “Narcotics have no...

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Excessive Medical Treatment?

Excessive Medical Treatment?

Upon reading Tara Parker-Pope‘s article, “Too Much Medical Treatment,” I was moved to compare and contrast my experience at San Francisco Kaiser Medical Center for the same issue: a moderately-severe sprained ankle that occurred on a Sunday. I checked in to the Emergency Room and was  immediately placed in an examining room. A nurse-practitioner...

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An Ethical Question: Whether to Reveal a Devastating Diagnosis

An Ethical Question: Whether to Reveal a Devastating Diagnosis

Suppose you learn that your mother’s longstanding memory problems have been diagnosed as “mild dementia” by her neurologist. You are witnessing her deteriorating cognitive impairment and memory loss and so you meet privately with her doctor. You learn that your mother has Alzheimer’s. The physician counsels postponing this information to your parent because he...

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Educational Podcasts for the Health Care Consumer

Educational Podcasts for the Health Care Consumer

Free podcasts are available to the general public, courtesy of my professional association, the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants (NAHAC).   For instance, Richard Heasley, director of San Francisco’s Conard House, presented a teleconference on May 16, 2012  entitled “Effective Teamwork with Psychiatric Patients.” Other topics include eldercare, patient safety, Medicare, and many others. You can...

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Caveat emptor*

Caveat emptor*

There is a Catch-22 (well, one of several) for health care consumers trying to manage medical expenses. This is especially galling if you happen to be in a so-called “consumer-directed health plan,” also known as a high-deductible plan. What’s the catch? The idea of the consumer-directed plan is to make you aware of how...

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The Deplorable Conditions of U.S. Medical Facilities

The Deplorable Conditions of U.S. Medical Facilities

Preface:  Industry leaders have acknowledged the problem and are struggling to improve a shameful situation. It’s difficult to believe that our medical system, reputed to be the best that exists, has deteriorated to less than even marginally-acceptable conditions.  Medical students are alarmed to move from classroom ideals to grisly reality.  That adherence was lacking...

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Why Hire a Patient Advocate?

One elderly patient was fortunate enough to have her daughters, who happened to be a doctor and lawyer, by her side during hospitalization.  A Deadly Information Gap is difficult reading – and almost impossible to believe.  Indeed, this patient’s experience is becoming the standard of care in American hospitals.  Without her daughters’ presence, she...

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Study finds overuse of implanted defibrillators

A study published by the AMA found that at least 20% of cardiac defibrillators are not only unnecessary, but actually imperil the patient.  The cost of the procedure itself ranges from $30,000 to $40,000.  The harm to patients and their loved ones is immeasurable. Although previous studies had indicated that patients who needed defibrillators...

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Beth Israel erred in 3 spinal operations — Vertebrae mix-ups spur new procedures (Boston Globe)

Remind your surgeon to count your vertebrae and mark it before surgery.  You don’t want to be one of the errors. And, please, remember to get that second opinion — preferably from a different organization.

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