Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Flight

A pilot lands a plane in the Hudson and all the passengers are safe. The pilot is hailed a hero and the public is made aware of how dangerous it could be if the pilot is not experienced and the plane is hit with birds. Still, flying is considered the safest form of travel. Thank goodness. Because I still fly.

What is not revealed is that these passengers were taught ahead of time what to do if they have to land in water. They are told where the life jackets are and where the emergency exit doors are. I noticed that they were wearing their life jackets coming out of the plane and someone opened the door quickly to help everyone out. This was a well orchestrated evacuation because flight crews teach the passengers what to do before it ever is needed.

When I flew last week I looked for the exit doors and realized I missed the presentation about where my life jacket was. I asked the man next to me "where did she say the life jacket is?" It never mattered before.

Imagine if patients and their families were taught before they went to the hospital how to stay "safe" since so much more can go wrong in hospitals than in the sky.

Ask if the surgeons use the surgery checklist , ask who will mark the site of surgery and when, ask if the hospital has around the clock pharmacists or what the nurse patient ratio is. Ask what the infection rate is or see if the hand gels are filled and working in the hospital.

Why wait until after something happens to become educated. Imagine if those passengers didn't know where the emergency exit was.

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