5 Things You Didn't Know About Hospitals: Malpractice, Common Surgical Mistakes, Contaminated Water, Staph/MRSA


People love rushing to the hospital whenever something happens, but in reality, hospitals are like the police; they are a double-edged sword. When you walk into a hospital, you can't always be sure that you will walk back out of it again, or what condition you will be in when you walk out of it. Sometimes we are worse for wear after we walk out of a hospital, compared to when we walked into it. Worst case scenario, some people will walk into a hospital, but they will no longer be able to physically walk out of it or they will die in it. So what is the problem? What is wrong with hospitals? The problem is the environment. People go into hospitals expecting them to be germ-free, but this is impossible. Hospital staff are sometimes lacking in the hygiene department, or even when they try their best to keep germs under control, every disease imaginable still ends up in hospitals, and bacteria spreads so easily that it is hard to control them; this is why we get epidemics.

Think about this, have you ever walked into a hospital and seen masks at the entrance? These masks are offered in every hospital and for good reason. People come in with all kinds of viruses, so even just walking into a hospital could expose you to any number or breathing or viral infections alone. Unfortunately, these are not the only problems found in hospitals. So today, we will cover 5 factors that cause worsening health problems that occur in hospitals.


Malpractice: A Weekly Occurrence 


Doctors can make deadly mistakes during surgery, and many of them aren't charged with malpractice for it. In fact, most doctors won't even tell you about a mistake they made until it starts causing you noticeable pain and harm in order to avoid being sued and paying out for the mistake they made.



"Doctors make careless and dangerous errors, like leaving a scalpel in someone's body after surgery, surprisingly often, a new study finds. The analysis, published Dec. 19 in the journal Surgery, used malpractice records to find instances in which surgeons operated on the wrong patient or part of the body, or left objects inside the patient after surgery...the study found doctors leave towels, cotton balls, sponges and other surgical equipment inside patients' bodies about 39 times a week, on average. Doctors operate on the wrong body part 20 times a week and the wrong patient, also 20 times a week...Makary's team picked out 9,744 malpractice lawsuits in which hospitals paid patients or their families...The research team concluded that more than 80,000 major surgical errors happened between 1990 and 2010. About 7 percent of those unlucky patients died, while a third of them suffered permanent injury as a result of the mistake" ("Oops! US Doctors Screw Up Surprisingly Often: Study", Tia Ghose, 2012, Livescience).


Contaminated Water


This might come as a shock to many of you, but the water in hospitals is not clean. This problem is not limited to hospitals though; this is just part of a worldwide problem where clean water is hard to come by. Even in developed countries, tap water is generally not clean. Water worldwide is often contaminated with germs, parasites, bacteria, mold, and/or viruses. 


"Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections have been linked to contaminated hospital taps...P. aeruginosa may be transferred to OFs via contaminated cleaning cloths" ("Contamination of hospital tap water: the survival and persistence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa on conventional and antimicrobial outlet fittings", Hutchins, Moore, Thompson, Webb, & Walker, 2017, NCBI).


Developed and underdeveloped countries have to deal with poor water quality. Contaminated water is everywhere, and this has even led to outbreaks in medical care facilities. So no matter where you live, you should make it a rule not to drink tap water. Try to only use hot water for bathing, and don't just blindly trust the water that you are given that is not in a bottle. In some countries like India, even some bottled water may not be safe to drink, so you need to research, and only drink water from trusted brands when traveling or living abroad.


"Numerous healthcare-associated (HAI) outbreaks have been
linked to contaminated water used for patient care particularly maternal and child health, hand washing, and cleaning of medical devices for reprocessing to name but a few. Good quality potable water is still an unmet need in many low- to middle-income countries (LMIC). Infrastructure is often damaged or inadequate, leading erratic supply, contamination with fecal matter through broken pipes and wastage of water" ("Guide To Infection Control In The Hospital", Shaheen Mehtar, International Society For Infectious Diseases).

Staph/MRSA After Surgery


Many people do not believe that they can get a bacterial infection after surgery, but it does happen. What happens is that bacteria enters the wound that is made during surgery, usually from contaminated utensils/equipment or poor hygiene on the part of hospital staff. 

"Your skin is a natural barrier against infection. Even with many precautions and protocols to prevent infection in place, any surgery that causes a break in the skin can lead to an infection. Doctors call these infections surgical site infections (SSIs) because they occur on the part of the body where the surgery took place" ("Risk Of Staph Infection After Surgery Linked To Type Of Procedure", Catharine Paddock, 2010, MedicalNewsToday).



In terms of Staph, you need to understand that for every thousands of surgeries done, hundreds of people come down with Staph. Surgeries on the head and chest are the most common areas that get infected with Staph. A little more than half of the infections that occur are resistant to treatment since it is a methicillin-resistant form of MRSA. Staph is not the only risk though. You can get exposed to any bacterial infection at the site of surgery; it is not limited to just Staph.



Of course, not everyone who has surgery will develop an infection from it, but you should understand all the risks involved before committing to surgery. Furthermore, though people today seem to think their bodies are immortal, pain alone can kill you, so you do need to think carefully about the current state your body is in/how strong it is, before risking surgery.


Various Diseases Picked Up In Hospitals



You can pick up any number of illnesses just by being in a hospital. There are airborne pathogens and viruses that you can breath in from the air. There are also germs and bacteria on almost every surface in a hospital, especially on the objects in the waiting room.


Dirty Surgical Tools




Hospitals carry all kinds of diseases and illnesses, so it is very hard to keep them totally clean. This is one of the reasons why people often develop infections after being in the hospital for a long time or after having a big surgery. The very utensils used may not be clean; the hospital's tap water that is used to sterilize utensils may be unclean, which will contaminate all their other equipment. 

Conclusion

Hospitals can be great in terms of what they do, such as helping burn patients, but the very purpose of hospitals makes them a bit hazardous in nature. There is also some corruption, since there is a huge source of money to be made in invasive surgeries. So always research things fully, especially surgical procedures, before deciding to have one because it is a life-changing decision. Check to see if there are cheaper alternatives available. Research what the doctor told you to see if he left anything out that may be important in your decision. Always ask around. Ask others who have had the same surgery how they fared afterwards. Lastly, always consider the state of your body (how weak or strong it is), before even considering having a surgery.

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