12 tips to stay safe in hospitals

Hospitals can save you, but they can also harm you. So how can you stay safe in hospitals? Follow these 12 life-saving tips:

1. Never go alone. Always bring someone else—a trusted family member or friend—with you. That person will be your primary advocate, and can serve as an extra set of eyes and ears to help make sure you are safe. (This tip applies to routine doctors’ appointments too; always bring your advocate with you.)

2. Determine, in advance, the goals of the hospitalization. Before you go to the hospital, ask your doctor why you need to be hospitalized. Is it necessary, or is outpatient care possible? What is the goal of the hospital stay? How often will that goal be assessed? Can you choose which hospital to go to, and when you should go? Rarely is the need for hospitalization so emergent that you can’t get these answers and discuss them with your doctor in advance.

3. Prepare. Bring all the things you would normally bring with you to a doctor’s appointment, including a list of your medical problems and allergies. Don’t assume that the hospital will have your records. It’s very important to bring all the pill bottles that you take so that there will be no mistake about what dosage and how often you take your medications. Keep your main doctor’s phone number and your advocate’s phone number handy (though your advocate should be going with you to the hospital).

4. Meet your care team. Find out who is in charge of your care: is it your regular doctor or a hospitalist doctor? Introduce yourself to her, and to your primary nurse. Meet the patient care tech, the nursing assistant, and the other members of your healthcare team. Tell them about yourself, and find about them. The more they get to know you as a person now, the more they will help to answer your questions later. Your advocate should also get to know your care team.

5. Know who to call for help and how. Who will be the night-duty doctor and nurse, and how can you reach them? If you are in trouble, or if your advocate sees you’re in trouble, how will you get help? Many hospitals have a “rapid response team” or a “code team” that come to assist in emergency situations. Can your advocate activate this team himself?

6. Ask about every test done. Don’t just consent to tests. They all have risks, so ask about them. Why is your blood drawn every morning—what is the purpose? Why are you getting the CT scan? You should discuss every test with your doctor in advance of doing them, and have a thoughtful discussion about risks, benefits, and alternatives.

7. Ask about every treatment offered. If you’re being started on a new medication, ask about what it is, what the risks are, what the alternatives are, and why you need it. If you’re told you need a procedure, make sure you discuss it with your doctor.

8. Keep a record of your hospital stay. Your advocate may need to help you with keeping a careful record. This includes your tests (make a note of what you get done and ask about the result), medications (write down when each medication is given and double-check it’s correct), and providers who come to see you (write down names of specialists and their recommendations). A detailed record helps to prevent mistakes, coordinate your care, and keep you on track.

9. Attend bedside rounds. Doctors and nurses usually have rounds at least once a day to discuss their patients. Find out when rounds happen and ask if you and your advocate can attend. This is your time to find out what’s going on with your care. Prepare questions to ask during rounds.

10. Know your daily plan. Rounds are a good time to ask about what is happening that day. Are you doing more tests? More treatments? Are you on track, or did something unexpected happen? When can you expect to go home?

11. Keep your eye on infection control. If someone comes into your room, ask him to wash their hands. If someone is doing a procedure on you, ask her to follow an infection control checklist. Hospital-acquired infections kill 100,000 people every year, and you can help prevent them.

12. If something isn’t right, speak up immediately. Remember that it’s your body and you know yourself the best. Get help if you develop new or worsening symptoms. Empower the person you’re with to speak up for you if you can’t.

All of these tips may sound like a lot of work, and you may be wondering why it’s your job to do all of this. After all, aren’t you the patient, the person who is feeling unwell and seeking help? By and large, doctors and nurses are well-meaning, and most of the time, the system is working well and you will get good care. However, mistakes do happen—and you and your advocate can help prevent medical error. Follow the tips above to make sure that you are safe and well during every hospital stay.

Leana Wen is an emergency physician who blogs at The Doctor is Listening. She is the co-author of When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Prevent Misdiagnosis and Unnecessary Tests.  She can also be reached on Twitter @drleanawen.

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  • Kaonwarb

    Great list. This should be handed to patients at admission…

  • Suzi Q 38

    Thank you.
    As always, a really good article comes too late.
    My anterior dissectomy was January, 2013.
    I left 30 hours after the surgery, because my room was visibly filthy, I had visiting nurses for two days in a row, and my daughter is an RN.
    I could have stayed there 4-5 days, but no way.

    • Shalena Garza

      Suzie Q im so sorry. It makes me so angry. .

      • Suzi Q 38

        Thanks, Dr. Garza.

  • Guest

    13. Get the hell out of there as fast as you can.

    • Suzi Q 38

      That is why I left within 30 hours.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Natalie-A-Sera/743004321 Natalie A. Sera

    I was admitted in a diabetic coma — it was an emergency, so I couldn’t do those things. And when I woke up, I asked my nephew who was advocating for me as well as he could, to bring my pill bottles so as to verify what I was taking. BAAADDD idea — the hospital lost (confiscated?) my pills, and I had to spend hundreds of dollars to have them replaced when I got out.

    Your checklist is great for those that are mentally alert when admitted to a hospital, but if you’re admitted in an emergency, you’re SOL, and sometimes I think I was lucky I even survived — I’m Type 1, and they were treating me under Type 2 protocols, and couldn’t figure why my blood sugar wouldn’t come down.

    • militarymedical

      Most pharmacies give an information sheet with complete prescription details with each refill (at least, Rite-Aid does). Tear off the prescription information for all medications and bring the sheets with you instead of pill bottles. Yes, medication bottles will be confiscated – usually never to be seen again.

    • querywoman

      When I had pneumonia, the paramedics gathered up my meds. After 2 days, when I was transferred to ICU, my meds were sent to and stored in the pharmacy, which counted them.
      I got them all back.
      You had a theft claim against the hospital, and you probably could have got some results from your state about the disappearing meds.
      Counting the pills in the hospital pharmacy is quite prudent!

    • querywoman

      I’m type II, and the undertreatment of diabetes is another rant for me!

  • http://www.facebook.com/roger.stanley.501 Roger Stanley

    About suggestion #12, it’s not always a great idea, even when conducted
    respectfully. This is a true story that happened to me a couple weeks
    ago, Below are edited emails sent to friends sent contemporaneously..
    The names have been changed to protect the guilty, the innocent and me.
    As a sadist, the physician involved is capable of anything. He is a
    truly scary…I’d use the word human, but I’m not sure it applies.

    How it went….

    I
    can’t take Miralax for colonoscopy prep because it causes horrible side
    effects. So I called the Endo lab and told them my problem. The endo
    lab told me to call the doctor and get a prescription for something
    else, which I did, twice, with no reply. The pharmacy called a third
    time.

    Late yesterday I finally got a phone call from the
    doctor’s office telling me to call Endo lab for prep instructions. The
    person who called me was clearly angry,she seemed like she was about to
    cry having to call me such an absurd instruction. So I told her not to
    worry about it, I’m doing my own prep with a litany of concoctions.

    Today before the procedure I suggested to the doctor’s Fellow that
    having patients wing-it for prep isn’t safe, is also disrespectful
    to
    the patient. I was very polite. The Fellow asked if I’d like to share
    this view with The Doctor Himself, I agreed, By now I’m in the procedure
    room, all the staff is there, and we’re ready to go. I then politely
    shared the story with Dr. God Himself (this is our first pre-proceedure
    conversation).

    He claimed none of the repeated attempts to reach
    him were received (um, I received a response call, but I didn’t mention
    that). So I politely suggested that perhaps he should work to insure a
    system should be in place whereby patients are enabled to contact their
    physicians when they have a problem. I reiterated that it is dangerous
    and disrespectful….

    No lie, Dr. G then threatened to cancel the
    procedure and said, “You are acting like I work for you!” So I asked
    him where I should send the bill him after this procedure…(not
    really).

    He furthered that I’d insulted him and he just didn’t know how he

    could go forward, he then blathered on with more megalomanical
    insanity. I shut up at this point. He did the procedure. It was the most

    painful time ever. times ten. He didn’t find anything. not sure if
    he looked too hard, but he biopsied some inflammation. In 2016 I’ll
    start sitting by the phone awaiting those results.

    The staff was
    giddy they were so proud of me. They said he does this to everyone, but
    I’m the only one crazy enough to stand up to him. In fact staff that
    one wouldn’t ever expect to acknowledge what just happened even
    apologized for his behavior.


    The Story Continues. Day Two.

    Cramping was so bad that I went to the ER last night (the on call doc
    insisted
    I go in case there was perforation). It turned out to be electrolyte
    imbalance (low potassium), which causes muscle spasm, including in the
    gut (see what happens when you over-prep yourself to avoid harassment by
    a bully?) and (maybe, I think, they seemed sure) a UTI.
    …….
    Today, around noon Dr.G called. This is a transcript of the entire conversation.:

    Me:Hello.

    Dr.:This is God, are things better?

    Me: Yes, I went to the ER for cramping and they said it was low potassium and a UTI.

    Dr: Yes, I know, I’ve seen the labs. The biopsy results are back, there is
    no evidence of Chron’s, so I guess I see you in clinic.

    He
    then hung up the phone, with absolutely no opportunity for me to say a
    word. He didn’t even say good-by. It reminded me of a prank call. There
    is no plan or appointment for me to ever see him in clinic, I’d sooner
    see in him hell (same thing anyway).

    Current status is that
    there is nothing diagnostic pending, only appointments for
    reconstructive stuff, which I’m seriously considering canceling. I just
    don’t care anymore. I’m glad [my nurse friend from out of town] is here,
    she pointed out that the problems that sent me to the ER were simply
    cause and effect. She said she would have reported it where she is, but
    you have to have to have certain job security to challenge the powerful.
    There are consequences
    ….
    Moral of the story: Don’t point out mistakes to people who’d rather see you dead than admit they made a mistake.

    And get the hell out of there as fast as you can.

    • Suzi Q 38

      So true. Good story.
      The powers that be asked me why I didn’t complain vehemently sooner. First of all, the doctors had me convinced that I was O.K. Second or all, if I complained, I would not get the care that I needed. I got the care, then I left. Now I guess, it is safe to complain.

      • http://www.facebook.com/roger.stanley.501 Roger Stanley

        It is never safe to complain. It can haunt you, and helps no one. Keep quiet.

        • Suzi Q 38

          Thank you for your opinion.

          What are the negatives of complaining, say to patient advocacy or joint commission?
          I am just angry. At this point, complaining would not help me, anyway. On the other hand, I hate that so many things were missed with me that contributed to my partial paralysis.
          I have left that teaching hospital. The new teaching hospital asked: “What happened here? You hospital did nothing for a long time.”
          Before my surgery, I was nice. I just said, “Oh well, it just took a long time for them to figure it out, as they are a cancer hospital, rather than a neuro hospital.” Now that I know that I had signal changes and they “sat” on my obvious symptoms for a year and a half, I am not pleased.
          I have already told two doctors off, verbally, to which they were contrite and apologetic.

          Part of me says “I need them to “pay” with losing their jobs, since I lost part of my mobility.
          I have so much proof it is incredible.

          The other part of me is sympathetic as these two doctors were the last ones hired, so, they are considered “junior.”

          A serious complaint like mine might be very embarrassing.

          • http://www.facebook.com/roger.stanley.501 Roger Stanley

            As bad as they were to you, it’s possible your paths will cross again
            and next time they’ll be worse. Doctor’s are no different than anyone
            else when it comes to holding grudges.

            The complaint will sully
            your reputation forever, remember there are no do-overs, your medical
            records follow you where ever you go now. The credibility of your
            complaint is meaningless, all those who treat you in the future will see
            is a patient who isn’t satisfied and whines to those in authority about
            it.

            It will not cause reform, nothing will change as a
            consequence of your complaint. No other patient will benefit from your
            actions. It may make you feel bebetter to complain, but

          • Suzi Q 38

            Thanks Roger.
            I know that you are probably more realistic than I and right.

          • Harry

            “The complaint will sully your reputation forever, remember there are no do-overs, your medical records follow you where ever you go now.”

            Exactly right.

    • http://pixelmatortutorials.net PMtuts

      “Dr. G then threatened to cancel the procedure and said, “You are acting like I work for you!”"

      That basically says it all. Dr.G should know that he is in deed working for you. That’s what doctors do and should do. This is a typical example of a doctor thinking the hospital system revolves around them. These people should get a serious talk from their superiors, to make them understand that they are part of the hospital system and represent the hospital.

      If I were you I would have written a complaint to hospital management.

      • http://www.facebook.com/roger.stanley.501 Roger Stanley

        Dr. GH did it because he knew he could get away with it. As I said, the
        staff said his treatment of me was typical. The guy lends his
        institution tremendous marquee value. That value must supersede the
        business he drives away when he actually sees patients.

        Also,
        there is no doubt he had a story spun in which I’m the problem before I
        left the hospital, I guarantee it, he’s practiced at it, likely for a
        lifetime. The truth doesn’t have a place in this ordeal. Although, I
        suspect even for him, this one was over the top, so maybe he was a little
        worried. By my doing nothing at least he might be looking over his shoulder
        for a little while awaiting the fallout. That’s the most satisfaction I’ll ever get.

        The
        staff could back me up, but then their lives would be hell thereafter
        if they did. There is no point in allowing GH to cause more misery than
        he already does for no benefit.

        Part of me wants to hear how the
        story of that outrage can be manipulated so it was all my fault, but I
        don’t want to give the louse the dignity of acknowledging his existence.
        Someday he will do this to Someone Who Matter and Karma will call. Or I
        can hope.

      • Suzi Q 38

        Like Roger told me, it will do no good.
        Maybe the only thing we can do is warn others through social media.

        • http://pixelmatortutorials.net PMtuts

          I’m actually rather shocked that your healthcare still works like that. It also represents a danger for patient safety. When patients and staff don’t have the guts to report deviations to hospital management out of fear, we have a situation where the hospital and healthcare can’t learn from its mistakes. This will in the end backfire resulting in patients receiving lower quality healthcare than other countries, where there is a no blame culture for reporting and complaining. These fear-situations created by arrogant doctors are making a visit to the hospital more life threatening than it already is. The doctor mentioned here should be spoken to by his superiors and the fear-culture must change if you really want a high standard health-care delivering high quality services.

          • Suzi Q 38

            I want to, but I fear retaliation at a later date.
            I have already decided that I will not go to this hospital again, even though I really liked some of the other doctors. In reality, it is just 2 doctors out of 5 or 6.
            I appreciate your comments to tap into the brave side of me.

          • http://www.facebook.com/roger.stanley.501 Roger Stanley

            There is a fine line between courage and foolishness (some say it’s a real shame the line isn’t thick brick wall).

          • Harry

            You don’t DARE complain even about blatant errors and or mistreatment, because you will get derogatory things put down in your record, you will be labeled “difficult” and a “troublemaker”, and you will NEVER stand a chance of receiving decent medical care EVER AGAIN, from ANY DOCTOR.

          • http://pixelmatortutorials.net PMtuts

            This is a culture thing. I’m assuming we are discussing the American healthcare system here. If you want a higher quality healthcare you should report errors and near misses both as a patient and as part of the hospital staff. This way a hospital can fine tune itself and put safety systems in place that prevent future misses. With all respect to those writing they don’t dare, but that is healthcare as i know it from 20 years ago. Reporting is done in a lot of European if not all European countries. If people are afraid of reporting there is something fundamentally wrong in a hospital’s safety and quality practice. The same counts for patients afraid of filing a complaint. Entering a hospital is the most dangerous activity on the planet right now and this is because of people like Doctor G. These people spread a blame culture throughout an organization and is the most destructive thing an employee can do to a company culture.

          • http://www.facebook.com/roger.stanley.501 Roger Stanley

            Accountability is all but absent in American healthcare, where physicians are concerned. Doctors complain endlessly about the malpractice bogeyman, while enjoying compensation few Americans can even dream, Even before tort reform removed the last avenue for patients to be protected from the worst doctors, massive court awards were as rare as as a complete Gutenberg Bible.

            Physicians police malpractice themselves, normally at the state level through physician run Medical Boards. Repercussions are given with secret wink and a nod. There is the occasional public scapegoating for notorious of outrageous behaviors primarily to create the illusion of accountability. In reality all but the most horrific and notorious malpractice is essentially ignored.

            It is entirely true that the patient suffers as a result of the current system. Fewer people seek medical care now in part because they know they are the least important part of the process, so why bother? Or worse, patients fear hat since greed runs the system they’ll be recommended an unnecessary procedure.

            Patients are entirely powerless.

            .

          • Suzi Q 38

            You are so right.
            If you know all of this, why did you say what you did to your “jerk” of a doctor, right before your colonoscopy, of all things? LOL.
            How did you learn all of this? You make way too much sense.

          • http://www.facebook.com/roger.stanley.501 Roger Stanley

            SQ, be sure I’ve asked myself the same question. My truth to power fetish maybe got the best of me? At the time I also thought it was not that big of a deal, but worthy of mention? It was informal, meaning no record of my concern was created? Also understand, Dr. GH’s reaction was so far beyond any acceptable social norm that it really was impossible for me to foresee.

            With that said, after Dr.GH’s assault, I made no effort to notify anyone at the hospital. I didn’t fill out the “patient sanctification survey.” They probably have a wing of the hospital full of surveys complaining about that whack job, one more wouldn’t make a speck of difference. At the next visit with the doctor who referred me to him I will pretend everything was perfectly normal. If that doc has heard about it I’ll change the subject…

          • Suzi Q 38

            You live in a small town.
            I live in one of the largest in the U.S.
            Aren’t there HIPPA rules?
            Would that make a difference?
            Sorry you went through all of that.
            Thanks for the warning.

          • http://www.facebook.com/roger.stanley.501 Roger Stanley

            How do I know it? 25 years ago I was the victim of egregious malpractice the repercussions of which I still suffer today. I just wanted to move on, heal, and start life over. So that’s what I did. It always bothered me that the doctor involved probably created other victims, in part because of my inaction.

            Fast forward 23 years, I became the patient of an incompetent doctor due to a retirement in the practice. I didn’t know I had a serious medical problem at the time, so that wasn’t at issue. But for reasons that don’t matter, I became aware of just how unfit this doctor was, and reported what I knew to the imaginary regulatory authorities. The fallout was all on me, the quack was protected, and I’m despised. Terrible mistake, especially since I truly need honest thoughtful care now. Since I’m in a small community my misdeed is well known, so all I’m entitled to is treatment like Dr. GH hands out.

          • Suzi Q 38

            I hope this is not true, but it may be the reality of health care in some or many parts of the United States. I just was not aware of it. I formerly thought that most doctors are good. In reality, it may be stupid of me, but I still think most doctors are good. I just think that the good ones are silent about the actions of a small percentage of bad ones. They need to “call them out” on their errors and correct them on occasion. This way, it does not turn into a lawsuit.

          • adh1729

            There is no effective way to deal with a “bad” fellow MD. They don’t teach about the subject in med school. I have been in practice for a decade and have never been able to bring a colleague to “justice” (I have tried several times to act politely within the peer review process in the hospital, and nothing happened. Idiot MDs got away with murder.) Years later I wished that I had written an anonymous letter to the family asking them to sue.

          • Suzi Q 38

            Thank you for your opinion.
            Yours is the true reality of what happens.

            I realize that there is little accountability amongst physicians with regard to bad patient care.

            What is bad is that especially in this economy, unless you have money and want to part with about 20K to start, it is tough to sue. Lawyers don’t want to take it on contingency unless it will yield an easy win. Usually that translates to: “Did the patient die?” In my case I didn’t die, but I have difficulty walking because the doctors ignored obvious symptoms of gradual paralysis.

            I will need to find an honest lawyer (hopefully a friend fo the family), then think about filing, then paying for depositions and physician expert witnesses.

            I have never sued a doctor for my lack of care before. I hate the thought of doing so, but realize that they probably won’t understand any other language.

          • querywoman

            Suzi Q, the first obstacle is finding a lawyer to take the case. Med malpractice is very difficult to litigate. When doctors know they are guilty and it’s clear, they settle out of court. Those settlements don’t always show up in databases.
            A doc has to have medical malpractice insurance usually if a plaintiff wants to recover. Malpractice insurance isn’t required in my state, probably not in any state.
            Personally, if I were a doc, I would not have malpractice insurance unless I wanted to work in a hospital and would try not to own too much that could be seized in court.

          • Suzi Q 38

            Thank you for your comments.

            I am finding that out. When the doctors freak out when they are served litigation papers, it is hard to imagine a lawyer taking it on unless it h/she had a good chance at prevailing.

          • querywoman

            Good for you, adh1729! Hopefully, we will soon begin to see some of this change.
            Oh, and adh1729, medical malpractice suits are really very rare!
            Government authorities are coming down on hospitals for misconduct, but it’s much more difficult to go after an individual practitioner.
            SOME doctors whine about patients being able to give them bad online reviews, when no complaint process has even worked for patients in the past! I like it!

          • Suzi Q 38

            Which government authorities? I fully anticipate that the patient advocate will do very little if anything.

          • querywoman

            The federal government has come down quite heavily on Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. No telling how many complaints county, state, and federal authorities ignored before coming to this point!

          • adh1729

            I am a doctor who begs to take exception to your last statement. I have no prejudice against a patient who was mistreated elsewhere. A large proportion of doctors are still decent human beings.

          • querywoman

            ADH1729, this is the way most docs act when a person complains. I live in a very large urban area where I can fire one and go down the street, with no questions asked! This luxury may not be available in smaller towns!
            Kaiser Permanent has now been run out of Texas. I had them briefly in Texas, and got blacklisted all through their system.

            So I refuse to use HMO’s!

          • Suzi Q 38

            I would like to think that this was the case in the United States. I am hopeful that it is the case with some hospitals and some doctors. The ones that are truly good and honorable. There are still people like that, you know. The doctors in general wonder why patients like myself and my close family members that bear witness to what happened to me, don’t hold doctors in the high regard of years past. Maybe it is because the weak and bad doctors are not held accountable by their management and their peers.
            They wonder why some patients like myself that receive substandard care that results in permanent injury “run” to a lawyer. It is probably because the lawyer speaks the only “language” that they understand.
            We are vilified if we even so much as think of doing so.
            I have decided that since I live in a big city, I may take my chances. I will just be adult about the whole thing and see what the patient advocate says what options I have, if any. This is a bad outcome from a surgery two years ago that cumulated in non treatment and ultimately caused permanent injury. My condition could have been diagnosed with a single MRI and paralysis avoided with timely surgical spine surgery.

            It is sad that there are doctors like these two that can sleep at night.

  • azmd

    Not quite sure why a patient would need to ask to attend “bedside rounds.” Isn’t the patient lying in the bed in question?

    • Suzi Q 38

      I didn’t know that attending beside rounds was an option for a hospitalized patient. I have attended “grand rounds” at the teaching hospital for an interesting lecture and free lunch, but not bedside rounds.

  • azmd

    Actually the most important tip to stay safe in hospitals is not included in this piece, but in Danea Haorn’s excellent post “The patient is the most important part of the healthcare team” in which she describes her very commendable practice of making sure that she has with her a file of all relevant past medical information that her current doctor might need to know. Behavior like that will truly make you a positive member of your healthcare team.

    • Pam L.

      Ideally, yes. If you end up in hospital unexpectedly though, that’s a bit harder.

      • azmd

        As with any proactive, mature behavior, this is something you plan ahead and do before you really need it. It’s really not difficult, you just ask your doctor’s office to send you copies of labs, consultations as you have them, you pick up your own copies of imaging studies and you maintain a file. I have been doing it for years, it’s really not that big a deal.

        And it’s a far more effective and collegial way to participate in your medical care than setting yourself up as the “supervisor” of all medical professionals who are trying to take care of you.

  • militarymedical

    While much of this is good advice (and common sense), how many of us can snap our fingers and have an “advocate” materialize to take notes, ask/answer questions, monitor infection control and medications, check on diagnostics and results and just be around 24/7? Oh wait – that’s what an RN is supposed to do! For those who are living alone, away from family and friends, in strange places or admitted in a non-responsive condition, you might as well ask them to flap their arms and fly. And who can afford a private-duty nurse these days? #1 is an ideal situation that only the most fortunate of us will be able to construct.

    • Pam L.

      That was my first thought as well, militarymedical. Not everyone is lucky enough to have medically knowledgeable full-time advocates available to devote 24/7 to them and protect them from the medical system. It’s a very unrealistic scenario. If those in the hospital system admit that they’re so dangerous that every patient needs full time one-one-one advocates and protectors just to “stay safe” in hospitals, then it’s the hospital system that needs looking at. You CANNOT put it on the patient, basically saying “well it’s your own fault, you didn’t have a 24-7 private nurse to keep us from hurting you”.

      • Suzi Q 38

        So true.
        I have found that the advocate helps, but it is not guaranteed, as not all advocates have medical training or knowledge.
        I remember my mother having a weird condition called “Giant cell arteritis.” She went suddenly blind in one eye, so they gave her massive dosages of steriods (predisone).
        She went nuts, hallucinating most of the time. the hospital personnel had to tie her down to the bed.
        After about a couple of weeks of this, the doctor DC’d the drug, cold turkey. This made her far worse.
        I got on the internet and found out that he could have titrated the drug down a lot more slowly, for a better outcome. He was mad that I even suggested he do that.
        I asked him to please humor and indulge me this time.
        I asked that she be put back on the drug with a lower dose, and then make plans to transfer her to a rehabilitation hospital (glorified nursing home with PT), as they would have more patience with the slow titration that was needed for a better outcome.
        Besides, she caught Cdificile during her 30 day stay at the hospital. She was over it, and I didn’t want her to catch it again.
        He was very rude and said, “What are YOU, a doctor??” “NO, I told him, but whatever it is YOU are doing isn’t working right now. She has been here for 30 days, and is steadily declining. Her hallucinations are worse. I appreciate what you have done thus far, but stopping the prednisone abruptly is not working.”
        My mother was about 85 at the time, so his attitude was not that positive about saving her this round.

        Well, the slow titration down plan worked out better for her. She tolerated the steroid better and was less and less paranoid as time went on. The hallucinations were not as severe, or vivid.

        Eventually, we took her home.
        These medical episodes take a lot out of everyones life.
        She recently celebrated her 88th birthday. She lives at home with a sibling. She is doing well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shirie.leng Shirie Leng

    Yes, yes, and yes!

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