Who hasn’t? Now a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine has found that hospitals are indeed too loud for patients to sleep, with noise levels at times spiking as high as 80 decibels, the sound of a chainsaw! According to the report, “in general, patients slept over an hour less in the hospital than they’d reported sleeping at home, and often had restless, poor-quality sleep.”
Even without the noise levels, practically no one sleeps more than three hours at time in a hospital. There seems to be a quaint notion by hospital staff that a patient will only develop a problem at regular three to four hour intervals–the usual schedule for “checking vitals,” unless someone is on continuous live monitoring. See this blog post April 6, 2011, “I Need to Check Your Vitals.”
From the New York Times, January 6, 2012:
“WASHINGTON — Hospital employees recognize and report only one out of seven errors, accidents and other events that harm Medicare patients while they are hospitalized, federal investigators say in a new report.”
The story quotes Daniel R. Levinson, Inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services saying, “Despite the existence of incident reporting systems, hospital staff did not report most events that harmed Medicare beneficiaries.” Levinson added, “Some of the most serious problems, including some that caused patients to die, were not reported.”
Readers of this blog should not be surprised at this news. See for example the very first post on this blog, “This Will Set the Stage,” February 25, 2011 reporting on statistics for the leading causes of death in this country. Only heart disease kills more patients than iatrogenic (physician or health establishment related) causes.