Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers ideas for maintaining your mental health.
No matter how many beautiful buildings, grants, and skilled employees a hospital has, the medical care is only as good as the ability to communicate. As we know from the Liberia-Dallas ebola connection in the news recently, every healthcare worker should ask important questions about what the patient has been doing and where, not just present symptoms. Then, every person along the assembly line of healthcare workers, from LPN taking vitals and background to all doctors, has to inform each other. Sure, they make notes in the record, but we all know that people don't read all the notes. Also, remember the old childhood party game of "whispering down the lane?" It starts with one sentence and gets transformed as whispered from person to person in a row. The result is missing, distorted or new information. That happens in medicine (and life) all the time. In medicine, it's really dangerous.
So, here are my suggestions:
1. Tell the nurses and doctors everything you've been doing and where and something about the toxins in your environment (like house, work, and town), whether they ask or not.
2. Don't assume they'll tell each other. That includes having them know all your medications, so they don't give you something which interacts badly. If you can't do this, take along an advocate who can.
3. For the less verbal and astute, the healthcare system, for all it's superficial feedback forms and ombudsmen, better shape up in the simple areas of questioning, listening, communicating, and problem-solving. The Occam's Razor approach of just looking at symptoms and giving a cookbook, most obvious and common scenario guess, to a person's problems is downright stupid and lets people fall through the cracks and, even, die.
4. When malpractice happens, confront it. (I'm for cash limits on suits but not against using the law to teach a lesson.)