Ten Critical Patient Safety Tips
1. Choose outstanding physicians
Choose only highly experienced board-certified MD’s who have completed a fellowship in their clinical specialty. If possible, choose an MD who is also a clinical professor of medicine or surgery at a local medical school.
Seek out only the best of the best. Ask every healthcare professional you know, especially nurses, for their top referral. And make sure the physician is someone who truly relates to you; who communicates clearly and practices medicine as an art.
2. Make sure your diagnosis is correct
Accuracy isn’t a given. Understand all your treatment options. And, always get a second or third medical or surgical opinion from a leading specialist whenever you face any new illness or major surgery.
3. Absolutely avoid elective hospitalizations and surgery in the month of July or August
Why? This is when just-graduated medical students become interns – first year residents. You don’t want them practicing on you!
4. Research the best hospitals in your area or region
In advance, before you need one. Choose a facility with the highest-rated Emergency Room. Ensure it has a designated level-3 trauma center.
5. Always choose a hospital rated highest for its safety and nursing care
And hire a private-duty nurse to care for you or your loved ones on the night shift. Why? There’s a critical nationwide nursing shortage, and lack of supervision means you are at risk whenever hospitalized.
6. Reduce exposure to hospital-borne bacteria
Hospital-acquired infections (like C. Difficile) harm nearly two million patients and kill approximately 90,000 people a year – more than diabetes or influenza/pneumonia.
Tote antibacterial wipes to scour your hospital room – especially the TV remote, doorknobs and bed rails. Politely enforce this essential rule: All staff and visitors must hand-wash with soap (not hand sanitizer) before touching you or room contents.
7. Acquire medical test copies
Post-appointment or through Medical Records, ask for tests – x-rays, scans, blood work (all may be available on CD) – and start a file. Have copies of every medical test sent to your home. And get copies of new scans and x-rays before you leave your doctor’s office, otherwise, they will charge a fee to mail them!
8. Prevent or lower your risk of genetic predispositions
How? Know your family history and optimize your baseline health. Reduce or eliminate inflammation culprits – gluten, sugar, dairy, alcohol and caffeine. Inflammation causes disease!
Eat and drink organic. Take the highest-quality nutritional supplements you can afford (musts: Multi, Calcium plus Magnesium, D3, EPA/DHA, a superb probiotic).
And move your body: you need to exercise!
9. Create a living will and healthcare proxy now
While you and your family are well. Make sure all your physicians have copies. And always bring these documents with you whenever you’re entering the hospital.
10. Hire a licensed Medical Decision Support Specialist™
A highly trained and licensed physician or registered nurse with at least 10 years clinical experience, to help you safely and successfully navigate the healthcare system and find the right doctors and best care for yourself or your loved ones.