July 25, 2013

Thursday_apple

Why You SHOULD Be a Teacher’s Pet

Last week I read an article about an infection breach at a hospital in Kansas. At this hospital, over 200 patients have to be tested for HIV and hepatitis because the endoscopes used for their colonoscopies weren’t sterilized properly.

Can you imagine? People getting colonoscopies are the ones who are responsible about their health, the ones doing what their doctor tells them, the “teacher’s pets” of the population (as a teacher’s pet myself, I mean that as a compliment). Now it’s almost like they’re being punished for it.

Even scarier than that was my reaction to the article. “Well, I’m never going to a hospital again,” I immediately thought.

As soon as I heard that run through my mind I stopped. What? Is that what we’ve come to? Are people going to get scared and stop going to hospitals when they need to? Imagining a world where people are at risk for HIV because of a colonoscopy is hard enough. I don’t even want to think about a world where people are afraid to even set foot in any healthcare facility.

So let’s take this seemingly helpless situation and see what we can do to take control again.

I said the people getting colonoscopies are the “teacher’s pets” of the population, the proactive patients. Perfect. Let’s all be proactive teacher’s pets when we go to a healthcare facility. Ask your doctor or your nurse how they’re cleaning the instruments being used. Make sure they know you’re trying to be responsible about every single thing that goes into your body. They’ll understand. We look at doctors and nurses like they’re some higher species, but even they have been a patient at some point in their life. They understand that there’s always that small fear about what could happen, about how it could go wrong. And, especially if you remind them, they’re going to make sure everything is as safe as it possibly could be.

Now let’s address my reaction to the article. Obviously, I can’t go the rest of my life without stepping foot in another hospital. Well, I suppose I could. But how would that help me? I might not get an HAI (Healthcare-Acquired Infection), but I could die from some other disease that could be cured in a healthcare facility. In some ways it seems like luck or a roll of the dice, but almost everything in life is.

My point in all of this is that we can’t live our lives in fear of what could happen. We need to instead focus on the things in our control. We need to ask the right questions, hold our healthcare facility responsible, be that teacher’s pet, and do our part. Our part is all we can control, and we have to trust that everyone else will do their part as well.

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