3 Things Hospitals Don't Want You to Know

by Dr. Julian Whitaker
Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Check ahead to make sure your surgeon will actually be performing your surgery.Each year, thousands of people die in US hospitals because of medical errors. Your best defense is to educate yourself in advance of a hospital stay. Here are three things you need to know:

1. Your surgeon may not actually be performing your surgery. Check ahead to make sure your care won’t be turned over to a partner or last-minute replacement.

2. Some hospitals use “slow codes.” Slow Codes, also known as partial, show, light blue, or Hollywood codes, are cardiopulmonary resuscitative (CPR) efforts in which the medical staff only goes through the motions to revive a patient who has advanced terminal illness or preexisting conditions that indicate poor prognoses. Although common in hospitals, the public is virtually unaware of the practice of slow codes and that it’s done without the consent and knowledge of the patient or the patient’s family.

To protect yourself, you want to have a frank discussion regarding end-of-life preferences and options with your physician, and make sure a family member or friend is aware of your wishes and is willing to act as your advocate when and if you are incapacitated.

3. Adverse drug events (ADEs) cause nearly one in five injuries or deaths among hospital patients each year. Dosing errors are the most common mistake. You have the right to request proof that the staff is administering the right drug, the right dose ordered by the doctor, and that it is being administered correctly at the right time. This is one area where blind faith can be dangerous—even lethal.

Now it’s your turn: Have you, or someone you know, been given the wrong medication in the hospital?

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