Health & Fitness

The docs: Practice hospital safety

BY MICHAEL ROIZEN, M.D., AND MEHMET OZ, M.D.

King Features Syndicate

In hockey, cross-checking is when a player with both hands on his raised hockey stick slams into an opposing player. That’s against NHL rules, and earns at least a two-minute penalty.

Now, checking into the hospital isn’t as dangerous as that hockey check, but there are a few rules you should follow in order to stay safe. True, you won’t face time in a penalty box for not following them, but the negative results could be worse.

Rule No. 1 -- Don’t lie on your medical questionnaire.

Whether you’re embarrassed by the truth (you smoke or drink) or don’t want to make a big deal of that pain in your gut, keeping info to yourself could lead to a medical mistake. What’s one that tough guys and gals are most likely to make? According to a Rutgers University study, it seems they hate to admit that they’re hurt or in pain. So remember, ‘fessing up is smart and confidential. And when asked what meds you’re taking, mention all supplements and herbs.

Rule No. 2 -- Bring a patient advocate with you.

Everyone needs another set of eyes and ears to remember medical information and ask questions. (If you don’t have anyone available, most hospitals provide free patient advocates.) Tip: Record the sessions.

Rule No. 3 -- Rely on the nurses.

When your doc isn’t around, the nursing staff can provide information and assistance. If they don’t know the answer or aren’t authorized to make a medical decision, they’ll find someone who is.

That’s how you keep your hospital stay in check and skate right through.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit www.sharecare.com.

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