Don't Die While U Are Getting Well, Part 2

Have I frightened you out of the hospital? My intent? Maybe, but not exactly.

However, I am in hopes that it will heighten your awareness. Not to exclude challenging you to become a link.

Regardless, DON'T become a statistic.

RID (Reduce Infection Diseases) Reports:

  • Only since 2004 did we begin to see some changes in the hospital system as far as addressing the hygiene issue. In '04, 26 states along with the D.C. enacted laws requiring hospitals to disclose infection rates to the public. What's the policy in your state?
  • As stated in the Side-Bar this week; In 2007, Medicare quit paying for treatment with several types of these infections CAUSED BY HOSPITALS (see Side-Bar for more detail).
  • Research tells us that 3/4 of patients are contaminated with super-bugs: MRSA and VRE(vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus) via cabinets, counter-tops, bed-rails, and bedside tables.
  • If you can see it, then it's likely one of these is lurking. This includes: uniforms, clothes of the doctor's clothes, including those of nurses and techs of course.

MRSA? Someone thought this was a name of a lady: "MRS. A". Oh my. Well, if so, she's a killer. Read on...

  • MRSA= infection is caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria — often called "staph." MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It's a strain of staph that's RESISTENT to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it. MRSA CAN BE FATAL.
  • Most MRSA infections occur in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers.
  • It's known as health care-associated MRSA, or HA-MRSA. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at most risk of HA-MRSA.
  • More recently, another type of MRSA has occurred among otherwise healthy people in the wider community. This form, community-associated MRSA, or CA-MRSA, is responsible for serious skin and soft tissue infections and for a serious form of pneumonia.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Again, let me remind you, that most all of this is preventable. But we are going to have to shift out of our apathy or more people are going to die while trying to get well.

What Do Hospitals Do 4 Prevention?

Most hospitals routinely give a heavy round of antibiotics at the onset of your arrival so as to prevent, yes, staph infections. Remember meds are always their answers, or so it seems. Rather than looking at the cure, it appears they "robotically" keep it "under drug control". And hope the patient doesn't die.

OK, so I am for protecting the patient with a med if absolutely necessary. But I will NOT accept this overuse of antibiotics in place of cleaning house.

Again, the incidents I observed were not few and far between. Rather they were part of the daily routine on every shift. And this was not in a run-down hospital. Not that that would be an excuse. Again, ALL of the incidents were easily remedied.

What Can We Do?
I'm not here to tell anyone how. I think we can figure that one out as we each know what we are best at in situations that call for actions. Here are a few suggestions:

  • While they are spreading germs, let's spread the word for "clean-house".
  • NOT accepting antibiotics as their answer rather than cleaning up their act!
  • We can insist our hospitals become more concerned for our lives.
  • We have a voice. Let's use it! Speaking-up to the docs and staff is critical when we or our loved ones are in the hospital.
  • Become a hospital advocate.
  • We can write letters to our government requesting more action.
  • Write letters or make phone calls to our hospital about our concerns.
  • Write articles to our newspapers.
  • Request hospitals' info on infections acquired while there.
  • Request info on their procedures to decrease the hygiene dangers.
  • Get involved with RID or other like organizations.
  • Start our own organization in our own town.
  • We can quit ignoring this social dilemma.

What Did I Do?

  • I stayed close by my mother's side. Not everyone can or will do that. Regardless, if you care, do what you can, when you can.
  • I learned the names of staff on each shift.
  • I found which ones I could count on and became friends with them. Believe me, you will need all the help you can get.
  • And, please know that there are awesome nurses, techs, and docs. You have to find them.
  • I took on some of the work, like her personal care when I could.
  • I cleaned behind the staff. NO, not their behinds. ugh. Kicked a few though! JK, JK, JK!
  • I bathed her or always tried to be there when they did. Once I had to be gone for a couple of days. They conveniently didn't give her a bath the days I was gone. She was all but begging them to. My daughter came on the scene and alerted me. Only when they knew they were in for trouble did they make amends.
  • Consider taking your own Lysol! Actually, I use a non-toxic formula.
  • I spoke up and often. I asked questions. I took notes and pictures!
  • I tried to be there at every doc visit.
  • When I couldn't, I would set up a time to visit with them.
  • I requested info on any tests they were going to run and why. And at times, they would admit she really didn't need the test. Which usually meant one less stress for her.
  • When the "button" didn't work (no, not due to a technical problem), I went to the nurse's station.
  • When a staff person was rude or unwilling, I went above them.
  • I met more than one nurse supervisor and director. Not to exclude doctors. Fun times, people.
  • Remember, they might be an xpert on certain things, but YOU are the xpert when it comes to your loved one.
  • I literally kept my mother alive (NOTE: I'm not dismissing God's will for her life.).
  • Their neglect at times was unbelievable.
  • Besides the lack of hygiene, you would be appalled at the lack of discernment in popping pills in her mouth. I walked in one day and one of the techs decided to "pump" the Morphine button without asking Mom (which was against their rules). I said, "Excuse, me what are you doing?"

"Uh, uh, uh. I was just thinking..." as she dropped the button like a hot coal and then sheepishly ducked her head.

"Don't even go there. You were simply hoping to knock her out so you didn't have to do any work. She was clearly NOT in any pain."

  • I asked what meds they had her on and an explanation of why? Amazing what you will find. Wait until you hear that story!
  • Yes, they knew who I was and who they best NOT mess with: MY LITTLE 86 year old MAMA.

NEXT TIME: Yet Another Scare: Meds. Are they a trick or a treat? Hummmm. See U There !

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