Recent Newspaper & Online Columns by Kate Scannell MD

Dr. Kate Scannell: The "July effect" in hospitals -- seasonal fact and fiction

July 22, 2013

Tags: July effect in hospitals, July effect, patient safety, hospital error, physician inexperience, The Common Sense Medical Society

By Dr. Kate Scannell, Syndicated columnist
First Published in Print: 07/20/2013

The first thing I remembered was waking up in a strange room with severe pain in my lower back. It felt like someone was jabbing an ice pick into my spine, repeatedly.

Indeed, as it turned out, a man was actually standing behind me and pokingme with a long metal needle. "Don't move!" he warned.

It took me a few moments to realize that I was in a hospital emergency room. The clues gradually emerged: Everyone was wearing scrubs or white coats, the room was loud and harshly lit, blood (perhaps mine?) spotted the floor, and, tellingly, I was freezing -- marginally covered with a hospital gown that didn't quite merit a 5-thread-count rating. (more…)

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Too sick and tired to be in the hospital

July 7, 2013

Tags: hospital noise, sleep disruption, disrupted sleep, hospital, Florenece Nightingale, Ivan Illich, vital signs

By Dr. Kate Scannell, Syndicated columnist
First Published in Print: 07/07/2013

In May, for one week, I sat daily at the hospital bedside of a dear friend who was trying to recover from a formidable bedsore and two surgeries related to her hip fracture. She was thoroughly exhausted and depleted from the frequent surgical check-ups, thrice-daily wound dressings, every-two-hour turning of her body, vital sign monitoring throughout the day and night, and persistent attempts by perky rehab specialists to get her back on her feet.

"All I want is some rest," she would plead. "Can't you tell them I need sleep to get better?"

Sleeping in a hospital? Resting a worn body that needed deep healing? How could I convey such radical concepts to the hospital staff? (more…)

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