Archive for September, 2008

5 Tips for an Emergency Room Visit

Monday, September 29th, 2008

I hope you never need to use the emergency room — either for yourself or a loved one. But the truth is that there are more than 115 million ER visits each year in this country, so a trip to the ER at some time is bound to befall you or someone you know.

The ER has been lifesaving for many members of my family over the years — my mother with a sudden heart attack, my father with dangerous heart palpitations and my son with a fracture and dislocation of his knee. My patients, including elderly nuns, end up in the ER for emergency care and attention, too. These personal and patient experiences have taught me a lot about how to get the best ER care.

Checkup: 5 Tips to Get the Best Hospital Care

Monday, September 15th, 2008

I was a nurse before becoming a doctor. When I started out as a nurse more than 30 years ago, the hospital was a place for people to rest and recover from illnesses. The average hospital stay was over one week and nurses were plentiful.

While hospitals still provide extraordinary technology and care, people today are admitted to the hospital only when absolutely necessary and for as short a time as possible. And although the nursing staff is better trained than ever to handle just about anything, the day-to-day “nursing” care, such as taking vital signs and helping with bathing and eating, often falls to nursing assistants.

Managing Your Own Medical Records

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Two weeks ago I talked about the importance of giving your children a copy of their medical information as you send them off to college. Last week I shared with you my father’s Emergency Room story. When faced with a serious heart problem from one of his heart medications, the ER doctor was handicapped because he didn’t know my dad was taking the drug digitalis because he didn’t carry a complete list of medications with him.

But whether leaving home for the first time, faced with a new diagnosis, or caring for yourself and for your aging parents, keeping a complete set of your medical records and carrying a list of your critical health information can be life-saving.