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Pick the right place

Pick the right place
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For complex surgical procedures, you’re generally better off at teaching hospitals, which usually stay at the forefront of health research. Medical students and residents ask questions, providing more eyes and ears to pay attention and prevent errors. Teaching hospitals have lower complication rates and better outcomes.
Dr Evan Levine, cardiologist, author of
What Your Doctor Won’t (or Can’t) Tell You

Here are the best-kept secrets of surgeons around the world.

Don't assume a private room

Don't assume a private room
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Private patients in public hospitals often assume they will get their own room. But rooms are allocated on medical need. Someone with an infectious disease will always get the single room.
Kate Ryder, nurse, author of An Insider’s Guide to Getting the Best Out of the Health System

Your surgeon will be realistic

Your surgeon will be realistic
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A good surgeon will tell you all the information you need to know, even the parts that you might not want to hear. That doesn’t mean that a good surgeon will be rude. It means that they will tell you, in a respectful and professional manner, whether the results you want are realistically attainable and safe, the best procedure to achieve your desired result, the risks and possible complications involved in the procedure, whether you are a good candidate for surgery and what the costs will be.
Andrew Ives, plastic surgeon, Melbourne
Here are 20 easy ways to stay healthy – no matter what your stage of life.

Choose proximity over reputation

Choose proximity over reputation
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People do themselves a disservice if they drive to a hospital based on its reputation rather than their local facility. Many illnesses are time critical. Also, a visit to hospital might be just the first of many; you might have to return several times for follow ups.
Dr Stephen Parnis, senior emergency physician, Melbourne

The dirt on infection

The dirt on infection
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Superbugs live everywhere, and they can travel. Even if your doctor washed his hands, that sparkling white coat brushing against your bed can easily transfer a dangerous germ from someone else’s room. Ask for bleach and alcohol wipes to clean bed rails, controls, doorknobs, phones, call buttons and toilet flush levers. Wash your hands before you eat.
Karen Curtiss, author of Safe & Sound in the Hospital
You should wash your hands immediately after touching these 10 things.

Interrupt at your peril

Interrupt at your peril
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Don’t interrupt the nurse when he’s preparing your medication. Interruptions significantly increased medication error rate. Every time a nurse is interrupted, there’s a 12.7% increase in clinical (dosage) errors and a 12.1% increase in procedural failures, such as failing to check a patient’s ID with their medication chart.
Archives of Internal Medicine, 2010
Here are 70 things nurses wish they could tell you.

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Prepare to repeat yourself

Prepare to repeat yourself
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All those times people ask you the same questions throughout your hospital stay? It’s a safety check and it’s really important. If you have a severe allergy to medication, for example, you need to remind staff every step of the way.
Dr Stephen Parnis
Here are 14 things you should never lie to your doctor about.

Preventable errors are more common than you think

Preventable errors are more common than you think
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Hospitals are dangerous places … and around 10% of us who enter public hospitals experience a preventable mistake or error in our care. Research shows a variety of reasons for non-reporting by health professionals. These include a culture or hierarchy of not reporting: “I don’t do it as it isn’t my job – it’s a nursing role,” a fear management will use reports against clinicians or that the reports will result in disciplinary action, a belief that mistakes are an acceptable part of overworked and underfunded health systems, and a view that reporting is unheard, dismissed or will not make any difference.
Dr Brian Robinson, senior lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
These are the 11 biggest health controversies of all time.

Help your nurses help you

Help your nurses help you
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Ask your nurses to do a “bedside shift change.” This is when they share information in your presence instead of at the nurses’ station. You can better correct any errors. [Studies show it also improves communication and care.]
Karen Curtiss

Cost is not indicative of skill

Cost is not indicative of skill
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The amount being charged by your surgeon bears no relation to his or her level of skill. The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is one of several international organisations calling for surgeons to release more information on the rate of poor outcomes, as there’s currently no way of gauging their performance. In fact, there are surgeons who are outstanding and only charge the scheduled fee, while others may be less skilled yet charge exceptionally high fees, the RACS says.
RACS, 2015

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