Apart from the obvious fact that hospitals represent the greatest concentration of unwell people and thus are a risk by association, there is another reason: things don’t always go to plan in a hospital.
Sure, they don’t always go to plan any where, but in a hospital the consequences can be most unfortunate. Is this a big problem? In NSW during the 2005/2006 reporting year there were 499 highest level adverse ‘significant incidents’ out of approximately 1.5 million admissions. This represents a one in 3000 chance of a serious incident occuring. I wish I had those odds in the lottery! What is a ‘serious incident’? They are things like retained instruments, wrong site/wrong procedure, suicide, medical device or equipment failure, medication or blood products problems and falls.
It is impossible to remove the ‘human’ from ‘human error’, but avoiding a one in three thousand chance of disaster seems a great reason to avoid a hospital admission. How? By taking more personal responsibility for staying well. By making better decisions on a daily basis about nutrition, activity, stress, work, relationships, sleep, play and joy. Seems simple enough, which it is. Simple. But not easy. If it was easy, we would all be healthy, lean, strong, have good skin and smile more. There is much in our lives that will (and does) undermine our noble attempts to make good decisions.
I hope never to become one of the ‘health police’. Those that advocate their health models with no consideration that life is here to be lived – not just regulated. Health decisions should also allow for fun, sensations, excitement, ambitions, relationships, experiences, risk and joy.
However, removing a one in three thousand chance of disaster seems a very good reason to avoid hospitals. And the best way to avoid them is to stay well. So eat your vegetables, and go out and play. It’s not rocket science.