Hospital risks

November 5, 2009 11:03:06 AM PST
Actress Alicia Cole was hospitalized for routine surgery. At the hospital, she contracted a flesh-eating infection.

Alicia Cole, patient said: "I lay there with my stomach progressively deteriorating. I was being eaten alive."

Federal Inspectors later found the hospital "failed to provide a sterile environment". Patients should be able to expect a hospital to be clean and safe.

But a survey of nurses by Consumer Reports National Research Center found a troubling 28 percent said they'd seen problems with cleanliness in the past week.

Nancy Metcalf, Consumer Reports said: "We surveyed more than 700 nurses nationwide who work in operating rooms, emergency rooms, critical care units and other areas of the hospital."

Even something as basic as hand washing was a problem, 26% of nurses said hospital staff did not always wash their hands.

Nancy Metcalf, Consumer Reports said: "It is critically important that you see the doctor or nurse clean their hands when they come into the room. And if you don't see it, you have to ask. Say, I didn't see your hands when you came in, could you please do it in front of me?"

And problems don't stop with cleanliness, 11% of surveyed nurses said they'd seen medicine incorrectly administered in the previous week. So you want to make a point of asking what you're being given and how much.

You have to be a pro-active patient. You have to be part of your medical team.

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