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More than half of all hospitalizations begin in the emergency room


Are you prepared to go into the hospital today?
More than half of all hospitalizations begin in the emergency room

CHICAGO (June 19, 2006) – Few of us wake up in the morning expecting to be hospitalized, yet the Agency for Healthcare reports that 55 percent of all hospitalizations begin in the emergency room. Are you prepared? In this era of medical errors and hospital acquired infections, do you know how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe?

Experts recommend viewing a provocative film, “Things You Should Know Before Entering the Hospital.” This 22-minute, step-by-step guide to help people be safe while hospitalized can help us all prepare for that unexpected, never convenient and often frightening occurrence of becoming hospitalized.

Some facts:

• The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that as many as 98,000 Americans die each year due to medical errors when hospitalized. (More deaths than from AIDS, breast cancer or motor vehicle accidents combined.)
• In the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers estimate that staph infections cause nearly 12,000 deaths each year, costing $9.5 billion in increased hospital bills.
• Other reports estimate that as many as two million patients contract an infection from U.S. hospitals or medical centers each year, accounting for 90,000 deaths.

“This film belongs in everyone’s medicine cabinet,” said Leonard Lamkin, executive director, Chicago Patient Safety Forum, a community-based network dedicated to understanding and improving patient safety in the Chicago metropolitan area. “It is an important film with a powerful message that all consumers need to hear.”

The production is direct and to the point with caring humor that gives valuable insight into the potential hazards of the hospitalization experience without instilling fear or blame. Most significantly, it educates and informs.

“It’s an exceptional safety guide for everyone, including healthcare providers” said Martin J. Hatlie, Esq., former attorney with the American Hospital Association and now president, Partnership for Patient Safety, a patient-centered initiative to advance the reliability of healthcare systems worldwide. “Human error is a fact in healthcare just as it is in the rest of life. Doctors, nurses and patients have got to learn to work as a team and talk openly and honestly about preventing harm. Watch this film and hear the insightful advice that patients who have encountered medical error have to offer.”

A convenient checklist is included with each DVD or VHS so that patients can take it with them when they go into the hospital. The film addresses questions like: How do I avoid infection? Why is hand washing so important? Why do I need an advocate? How can I avoid medication errors? How can I avoid wrong-site surgery?

Things You Should Know Before Entering the Hospital is available on DVD or VHS for $29.95. A portion of the film’s sales are donated to Consumers Advancing Patient Safety, a nonprofit organization working with hospitals to stop medical errors. For more information, including details for ordering, send an email to or visit online at The film is a first for Four Leaf Enterprises, an independent film production company recognized this year with a prestigious Telly Award for its solution-based program.

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