Beware - Hospitals May Be Hazardous to Your Health
A Healthy Aversion
Let me be perfectly honest with you -- I am writing this article while hoping that the information presented may help you with motivating your immune system to keep you away from hospitals. You may not be willing to believe it, but once that we have developed enough of an aversion to doctors, and especially hospitals, it may give that extra boost to our overall health.
I haven't seen a doctor in the last 12 years or more, and haven't taken a single dose of any medication whatsoever. Other than doing my best mentally and physically to keep myself fit at this age of 74, I can shamelessly admit that I "hate" the medical profession with a passion. O.K., don't take this "hate" literally, but don't take it as a joke either.
Healthy when They Had To Be
Of course, my aversion to doctors is not to suggest that you start self-medicating and otherwise avoiding medical treatments -- but it merely serves as an example of how our bodies tend to keep us healthy when they get a message that they are expected to do all of that healing.
Many years back I read this story about a small town in which the only hospital had to be closed "till further notice" to outpatients for either some technical reason, or was it the case of a quarantine -- I don't remember exactly.
Anyhow, as the story goes, for the whole duration of the hospital's closure, no one in the town needed any of its services. For some mysterious reason, everyone, even those hypochondriacs and old folks stopped complaining about their health. But then, as soon as it reopened -- I could let you finish the sentence.
Your Mind Can Keep You Well
So now you know my motivation for writing this article. If it contains certain scary material, don't take it for some exaggerations. Of course, there are differences in the way that different hospitals do their business, and nothing of the following is generalizing. It's only to warn you to be watchful for any of the details mentioned here.
My sincere hope is that you get just enough uncomfortable about visiting those places as a patient, so that your immune system gets the message to shift into a high gear. Mind is a tremendously powerful machine, and it can keep us well, not only by positive attitude, good rest and nutrition, but also by being motivated against placing our health in hands of medical practitioners.
Just Humans in a Business
The very first thing we have to be warned about is that uncomfortable fact that all medical personnel consists of fallible human beings. It seems to be this human factor that's mostly responsible for those dark statistics about "doctors being the third major cause of fatalities in the US alone."
As a rule, they are overworked, and then there is always that question of their competence. Just like there are good and bad auto mechanics, there are good and bad doctors. As if that wouldn't be enough of a risk, every hospital is in the first place a business establishment.
During my last -- short and only in my entire life-- overnight stay in one of those unpleasant places, I had a chance to observe the administrator walking from one bed to another and checking the charts to make sure that no patient is "overusing the hospitality" (no pun intended).
Don't Be a Part of Statistics
When you hear the expression "mistaken identity", you probably think of those crime stories where someone is arrested or even killed because they were mistaken for someone else. Well, laying down in that bed may not exactly look like an arrest, but it may potentially be fatal, if someone else at the same ward shares your last name.
So, you know what to do. At the price of not being the favorite patient around, feel free to disturb that deep peace of your attending nurse by insisting to know if anyone else in that immediate neighborhood has your last name. If you don't ask, the chances are that you may be given a wrong medication, or a wrong dosage, or at a wrong time. Then you just might join all those dark statistics mentioned up there.
Cut Here, Doc -- Not There
Well, are you scared as yet? No? O.K., let me regroup and try some other tactics. You see, not only that there is a possibility of you getting a wrong medication, but you may be operated on a wrong part of your body. You may also be operated on if you were not due for any operations at all. It has been done, it's not hypothetical.
Imagine, you are a young woman and due for a gall bladder surgery, and instead they do the hysterectomy, and bingo -- no kids for you, lady, only those from adoption. Please, don't think I am kidding about it just because I am trying to use a light language to convey to you some bad possible outcomes of your stay in a hospital.
Do you know that some folks actually use an erasable marker and make a circle on the part of the body to be operated, with a smiling face and a message to the good doctor : "Cut here"? Well, once they are heavily sedated it will be too late to remind the doctor with scalpel in hand.
There is one in five chances in an average hospital that you may attract some kind of an infection just by stepping in there, let alone staying overnight.. As a matter of fact, there are hardly places where you are as likely to get one other than in a hospital, because of all that exposure to airborne and other germs.
When I say "other", I mean everything that you may touch there is a likely source of it. Doctors and nurses are far from being in a habit of washing their hands between touching all those patients.
Nurses are also handling those full urinals, and taking away those wet towels used by patients to wipe their private parts. So, chances are that you may take home from a hospital more than you came for -- some bugs.
Wait, I am not done with the issue of hospital's hygiene. Think of all those instruments that are used there. Don't kid yourself that they get regularly cleaned or god-forbid disinfected. You know what I mean---those stethoscopes, otoscopes, (for checking your ears), thermometers, cuffs for blood pressure, infusion pumps, and urinary catheters -- to name only those that I happen to know, never mind all the other scary gadgets and tools in their tool-box.
So, at least do your part, wash your own hands as frequently as you can, don't touch your mouth too much, and when you have visitors, tell them to wash their hands before leaving the hospital, and in the meantime not to touch their mouth either. If you can emotionally afford it, also tell them not to kiss you either.
In a Recap
One detail is worth repeating -- make sure you know the name of your medication, dosages, and times of administration. Take a risk of being secretly called a "paranoid jerk", but check with your nurse about your medications every time she brings them to you.
Explain your concerns in a nice way, and she will understand. Take a defensive attitude when exposed to that environment, it's your life in question. Keep in mind that to all that personnel you are just a routine case, not one that will make them use some "extra focusing and care".
No matter how much they smile -- it's a part of their "job requirements", like airplane attendants' or politicians', to smile -- they are only professionals, not your "guardian angels", and while being only human, they are bound to make mistakes. Don't turn into one if you can avoid it.
Maybe Safe - but Maybe an Accident Waiting to Happen
A good number of you have probably spent some time in a hospital, and according to your personal experience all this may sound like unnecessary concern, perhaps even bordering with paranoia.
I understand, except that statistics have their own story to tell which may not sound like the one of your particular hospital experience. Like I said at the start, I hope my article succeeded to plant a little extra caution into your mind -- regardless of how safe your hospital happened to be.
But above all, I hope that it gave a little motivational kick to your immune system to keep you well, so that you don't need visiting such places. Again, hospitals certainly save many lives, but due to human and other factors mentioned here -- they also may turn out to be hazardous to your health.