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Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide to Get Your Loved One Out Alive    by Martine Ehrenclou order for
Critical Conditions
by Martine Ehrenclou
Order:  USA  Can
Lemon Grove, 2008 (2008)

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Other than having had a few broken bones, I'm doing fine. Have nothing that requires a hospital stay. At any time, though, something could occur that would send me to the ICU or even a heart unit. I would then want my daughters to go to my bookcase and bring Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide to Get Your Loved One Out Alive with them on their initial visit.

One hears more and more of medical errors that kill patients. My dear friend, in hospital as a critical patient, was given a shot of morphine even though her chart clearly stated that she was extremely allergic to morphine. She died. She knew what could occur, as she had worked in a hospital, and asked us all to see that someone be with her at all times. We did that and this still happened. If only we'd had this guide then.

I am not saying - nor is this book that should be on everyone's shelf - that this was malpractice or sloppy care. The book states clearly that the medical system is overworked with not enough staff and the administrators watching the bottom line because the insurance companies are screaming for cost cutting. 'A reported quarter of a million deaths in hospitals nationwide were found to be preventable.' Think of that! Keeping this book handy can keep your loved one from becoming a statistic.

It advises how and when to talk to the doctors. And to be certain each and every doctor knows what is being prescribed for your friend or family member. Be sure they are never alone and question each and every drug they are given and what is its purpose. Check that your patient is getting the proper tests or operation, not one meant for the patient down the hall with a similar name. Check their meal trays for the proper diet. Coax them to eat and don't allow the tray to be whisked away before they know it is there. So many vital issues are covered, it's impossible to list everything.

This guide is invaluable and I hope you never need to open it. If you do, however, know that all the answers to your questions are in here. And that you will be able to take your patient home rather than attend their funeral.

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