Knowing the Risks When Faced With a Hospital Stay

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Even with incredible medical advances over the past decades, patients still face very real threats from hospitalization. Knowing the common hospital risks and the appropriate questions to ask about your care just might save your life.
“Infections contracted during hospital stays are the fourth largest killer in America,” explains Bruce Smeaton, a spokesperson for the global infection control company Medizone International ( “They add an estimated $33 billion to hospital and health care costs each year.”
Other experts — like the chief patient safety officer of the Joint Commission in Illinois, Dr. Peter Angood — say patients are simply too passive and don’t ask the right questions.
Familiarizing yourself with these three hospital risks may help you during your next hospital stay:
1. Medication errors. The Institute of Medicine estimates that patients endure 450,000 injuries resulting from medication errors each year. To reduce this risk, make sure each surgeon, doctor and nurse knows of every medicine you’re taking. Ask what medicines are being prescribed and why, and what side effects to expect. If you’re nervous, speak up.
2. Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Superbugs like MRSA
— which is resistant to most antibiotics and only growing stronger
— VRE and E. coli cause 1.7 million infections in hospitals every year. Since this is a widespread issue, don’t shy away from the tough questions: What methods or technologies are being used to prevent HAIs?
“HAIs kill more people than AIDS, breast cancer and car accidents combined. That’s why the recent emergence of a super-disinfection system, like Medizone International’s AsepticSure technology, has been so embraced by the hospital and health care industry,” says Smeaton. “It’s more than 10,000 times as effective at killing superbugs — including tuberculosis — than any other cleaning technology being used by hospitals in North America today.”
Experts also advise patients undergoing surgery to ask everyone to wash their hands before touching them, hospital staff included.
3. Pneumonia. After wounds and urinary tract infections, pneumonia is the most common HAI, especially for patients recovering from surgery. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report a 33 percent mortality rate for hospital pneumonia. The easiest way to avoid this risk is to focus on deep breathing.
Doctors recommend 10 to 15 deep breaths hourly. At the very least, smokers must stop smoking for a week or two before surgery if they can’t quit altogether.

A New Three-Letter Killer: HAI

Contrary to what Hollywood blockbusters lead you to expect, Americans should focus less on the remote possibility of a civilization-destroying viral epidemic and worry a whole lot more about the real-life army of deadly superbugs lurking beneath hospital beds, re-colonizing improperly sterilized surgical equipment, and running rampant in ER waiting rooms and hospital wards throughout the country.

Hospital-associated infections (HAIs) now affect a staggering one in twenty patients in the US, and are estimated to cause more than 100,000 deaths each year. The World Health Organization reports that at any given time, 1.4 million people are battling infections or complications resulting from hospitalization.