Sunday, June 27, 2010

Which Hospital Do You Trust Most?

3 local hospitals tested had infection rates 
higher than the state average in 2009.

Posted by: Noel Jones

In an Express Times article Friday, Douglas Brill reported that three of our local hospitals, when tested, showed infection rates higher than the state average: Easton Hospital, Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township and Triumph Hospital Easton Lehigh Valley--Muhlenburg got the best score. One thing worthy of note is that when the hospitals received the scores last year, Easton Hospital took great strides to reduce infection rates and now has rates at just half the state average in 2010.

This brings me to a question that I've been asking a lot of residents lately: Which hospital in the area do you trust most?

This question came up recently when filling out paperwork for my new

job--on the application was the question of which hospital I would want to be sent to in an emergency. There were two variables to weigh in the answer--quality of service and proximity. If I've had a terrible accident and time is of the essence, do I really want to be driven all the way to Bethlehem when Easton's emergency room is two minutes away?

Easton Hospital seems to have developed a bad rep over the years, but what a lot of people don't know is that it has been under new management for the last few years and is making great strides to improve service and reverse its reputation. Some residents like the hospital--others say they wouldn't go there if their life depended on it. When I ask where these people would go in an emergency, I hear about 50/50 either "Lehigh" or "St. Lukes"--both of which are in Bethlehem.

I asked a nurse practitioner recently what she thought, and she said it really depends on what you're going the hospital for. She said that Lehigh has the best pediatrics department, but that her emergency room preference was Easton Hospital by far.

I recently had a procedure at Easton Hospital and the entire experience was a pleasant one (well, as pleasant as any procedure can be). I chatted with the technician and found out that technicians are sort of free agents who don't necessarily work for one hospital or another. He works for both Easton and Lehigh Hospitals, and so has no loyalty issues with one or the other . When I asked him if he thought one or the other ran a tighter ship, he said they were about the same. He said that Easton Hospital had improved greatly in the last few years.

Here's how the local hospitals scored, according to the Express Times:


Friday, June 25, 2010
The Pennsylvania Department of Health released its first comprehensive report on infections acquired at hospitals. Here's how rates at local hospitals compared with statewide rates for urinary tract and blood infections.
^ Easton Hospital: 95 percent more urinary tract infections and 33 percent fewer blood infections.
^ Lehigh Valley Hospital, Salisbury Township: 13 percent more urinary tract infections and 49 percent fewer blood infections.
^ Lehigh Valley Hospital-Muhlenberg: 33 percent fewer urinary tract infections and 54 percent fewer blood infections.
^ Pocono Medical Center: Four percent fewer urinary tract infections and 34 percent fewer blood infections.
^ St. Luke's Hospital, Fountain Hill: 15 percent fewer urinary tract infections and 24 percent fewer blood infections.
^ Triumph Hospital Easton: 121 percent more urinary tract infections and 55 percent more blood infections.
The Department of Health considered rates 95 percent higher or lower than the state average to be "significantly different."

What has your experience been with local hospitals? Which hospital do you trust most?


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I have a lot of experience with Easton Hospital. My father died there 3 1/2 years ago due to complications from surgery. There were many mistakes made and from the food service all the way up to the doctors, everyone just seemed very incompetent. My family and I had many meetings with the CEO (at that time) and many other department heads. After talking to these people that were in charge, and literally had people's lives in their hands I can only come to one conclusion. I wouldn't send a pet to Easton Hospital.

Anonymous said...

Mullenburg is the best. But that is also Lehigh Valley Hospital isnt it?

Nikkita said...

I also had a bad experience at Easton hospital. I was taking care of my mom who had lung cancer and she was having difficulty breathing. I went to the emergency room and told them I needed a wheechair to bring my mom in and it took them (which seems like forever) to get a darn wheelchair.. until finally the receptionist lady ran back to get it. That was about 4 years ago.

Had similar issues when I lived in Eastburg. When we first moved there in 1990. My brother fell, we took him to Pocono Medical and they told us he had a broken funny bone and had him in a cast. After about a week, my mom decided to go back to Jersey to one of our pediatric doctors and he was like "what moron told you his elbow was broken". Since then I refused to go to PMC. When I was pregnant with my daughter we drove from the Poconos all the way to Lehigh Valley in Allentown for the delivery because I refused to give birth at PMC (everyone I knew had a c-section whether they needed it or not).

So yes, I would risk going a little further out in the hopes that I don't have some inept doctor from PMC or Easton playing around with my insides. We have to be stern when it comes to our care because doctors don't. we are just another body to most of them.

Untouched Takeaway said...

I am a transplant to the Lehigh Valley from NJ (via Florida).

Unless I've severed a limb or something, I hope I have time to be taken to St Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ. They are *the* best people/doctors I've ever encountered.

Joanne said...

I'm a transplant from NJ also. My experience with Lehigh Valley Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg have been excellent. I've heard good things about both hospitals as well as St. Lukes.