Monday, September 17, 2007

Weekend reading with an eye to those related to death

Yesterday’s Chicago Tribune had several interesting articles:

Front page article about: “…hospital is the first in the Chicago area to disclose extensive information online about the quality of its care…” It seems to me that universal postings like this could go a long way not only in keeping patients and potential patients informed, but in pushing hospitals to ensure their quality of caring. Armed with information and with hospitals living up to quality standards, maybe we can prevent a few deaths by “medical misadventure”.

In the Q section there was a small bit on preventing hospital (medical caregiver) acquired drug-resistant bacterial infections that suggested folks:
"Politely ask hospital staff members to wash their hands before touching you if you don't see them doing so.” And
“Ask the doctor or nurse to clean the stethoscope before using it on you.”

They seem like really good points to remember and worth a mention to your healthcare provider. Although these infections cause more morbidity that mortality, they can kill and, at least some, are preventable with simple techniques.

Lastly, Mary Schmich wrote an interesting column that contained a discussion of some of the “mysteries” of death by suicide. Just because I do that sort of thing I posted a reply to her column:
You are so right when you wrote: “But another of suicide's mysteries is this: Exactly what happened is unlikely to be discovered, even if the clues add up.”

Death by suicide seldom “adds up” for those that survive individuals who choose to end their pain with suicide or choose to go on to another place where they hope that the pain is less.

Despite you column being focused on Mr. Jones, I hope that folks read your comments on death by suicide, that that reading provokes some though on their part (and maybe a little discussion), and that that awareness makes it seem a bit less of a mystery for another family member survivor of death by suicide.

Thank you for writing about death by suicide, a subject with much taboo in our society.


Anonymous said...

Why does everyone freak when we bring up the topic of suicide? Teens need to talk about it, we need to raise awareness. It won't make people more likely to take their life away. Maybe we can identify kids at risk and get them the help they need. Dr. Keller, keep reminding us. Even if people put you down for talking about it, you are saving lives. You'll never know how many people are alive today because of you. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

The above writer is totally correct...suicide needs to come out in the open, for EVERYONE...its a huge problem, people need to know what to do if someone "threatens" suicide, warning signs, etc. PLEASE Doc, make this a big issue..and talk about the News paper, maybe even on TV but PLEASe do what you can.

Anonymous said...

Related to the first item, there was also the recent news about British hospitals having their staff no longer wear jackets and ties, watches (how do you take a pulse, tho'?) ~ basically, anything that sticks out or hangs down, in order to prevent spread of germs.

I remember also reading about a study that showed operating room workers with long nails and rings could spread infections.

And about 10 years ago the Tribune had a big series about emerging and community infections. A big problem is people working in hospitals coming and going in their scrubs.

SO WHY DO PEOPLE STILL COME AND GO IN THEIR LAB COATS AND SCRUBS???!!! I see medical students, doctors, nurses, everyone doing this.

And people are surprised that MRSA (multidrug resistant staph, a really bad infection that used to be rare outside of hospitals) is now in the community?