So You're Going in the Hospital. Follow These Tips.

You're going in the hospital.  You've covered all the bases -- your insurance will cover, you stopped paper delivery, and you have someone to bring you home after your procedure is done.  But you're scared to death once you put on the gown.  How do you make sure no one screws up?

U.S. News & Review, which just released its rankings of the so-called best hospitals in the country,got  the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a leading patients rights organization, to give some tips:

  • Use the Internet, though that comes with a caveat.  Only use resources that come from a highly reputable, reliable source like or ( is fine but don't use it for your primary source of info).
  • Research, research, research -- look for outcome stats for the procedure you're having for your doctor and hospital, and complication rates
  • Have a list of questions:
    • How long is the procedure?
    • Will I be in pain?
    • What should I look for, after the procedure?
    • Will the meds I take have side effects?
    • What about the possible complications?
    • How long will my recovery be?
    • And, most important, will you mark the part of my body to be worked on?   
  • Bring your meds list so your doctor won't have any questions about what you're taking and how it might interact with any he prescribes for you.

Education is the best insurance for any patient.  Don't be afraid to speak up if you think your doctor is overlooking something, or not telling you what you want to know.  Be firm.  And don't forget, doctors make the worst patients so you may have to educate him on how the system works.  


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