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How to negotiate the hospital system: realistic, straightforward advice on common problems for hospitalized patients and how to get around them. Huttman became a nurse late in life, and her advice benefits both from her nursing perspective (perhaps closest to the patient's because she is there all the time) and from her bad experiences as a patient before she had any special expertise. Her main message: if you have to go to a hospital, take someone with you to look after your interests. Huttman addresses both patient and advocate throughout, and emphasizes that there's no way a sick person can effectively protect himself or herself in a hospital. Remember, she points out, the hospital employee whose job title is ""patient advocate"" is ""a hospital employee first, an advocate second, and cannot be expected to care for the patient as the patient's personal advocate would."" Huttman avoids impractical advice--""frank discussions"" with the physician are impracticable (under stress, you can't tell the person responsible for your care ""I don't like the way you do things""). Because she covers a lot of ground (including how to be an advocate, specific problems in special units, legal rights), her information is sometimes skimpy. Unfortunately, she also sets down as givens regulations or services which differ from hospital to hospital. But on the whole, she offers a kind of street-wise guidance on issues ranging from mere annoyances to life-and-death matters.

Pub Date: April 30th, 1981
Publisher: Viking