Hospital Acquired Infections

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Infection Rates: Did Your Hospital Earn a White Dot?

By Deborah Schoch, Center for Health Reporting

(Christiana Care:Flickr)

(Christiana Care:Flickr)

Last week, a friend of mine was showing her Cal State Long Beach journalism students how to check physicians’ credentials on line when a student’s question stopped her short.

Where is the website, the student asked, that grades the hospitals where those doctors work?

The simple answer: The web abounds in hospital ratings these days, most of them based on consumer comments rather than hard data.

Readers of Yelp, for instance, can rate, not only the local Chinese takeout place, but the hospital up the street. Long Beach Memorial Medical Center — generally respected among its peers — earned only two and a half gold stars out of five on Yelp. It received plenty of comments like AWFUL and NEVER, a complaint about a broken parking pay machine, and a few kind words for its cafeteria’s Chinese chicken salad. Continue reading

Something’s Been Bugging Me

By: Pat Mastors

Editor’s Note: Pat Mastors is CEO of Pear Health, LLC. She formed the company after her father’s death, due to complications following a surgical procedure. CBS correspondent Andy Rooney’s death earlier this month prompted her to write this in his voice.

Andy Rooney, the CBS News Correspondent, died following complications from minor surgery. (Flickr: Stephenson Brown)

Andy Rooney, the CBS News Correspondent, died following complications from minor surgery. (Flickr: Stephenson Brown)

“I died last week, just a month after I said goodbye to you all from this very desk. I had a long and happy life – well, as happy as a cranky old guy could ever be. 92. Not bad. And gotta say, seeing my Margie, and Walter, and all my old friends again is great.

But then I read what killed me: ‘serious complications following minor surgery.’

Now what the heck is that?

Nobody gets run over by a ‘serious complication.’ You don’t hear about a guy getting shot in the chest with a ‘serious complication.’ Sure, I didn’t expect to live forever (well, maybe only a little bit), but I was sorta going for passing out some Saturday night into my strip steak at that great restaurant on Broadway. Maybe nodding off in my favorite chair, dreaming of reeling in a 40-pound striper. You know, not waking up. This whole ‘death by complication’ thing is just so, I don’t know … vague and annoying.

But then I read what killed me: ‘serious complications following minor surgery.’ Now what the heck is that?
Here’s something else that bothers me. This note I got a few days ago from a lady who says she’s a fan. She talked to a reporter at a national newspaper the other day. Asked the reporter, basically, what kind of complication ‘did me in’? The reporter said, ‘No idea what killed him. Unless someone dies unusually young, we don’t deal with the cause of death.’

Continue reading