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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Following my own Rules

Now as you all know, I'm back in the house with the big red cross next month to have my kidney stone removed.  It is something that I have done before and I will most probably have to do again so I can pretty safely say that I know what I am in for and what to expect.  In the past I have thoroughly researched the procedure, equipment used and the doctor performing the job.  However, there is one variable that I am not familiar with and that is the hospital I am going to.

I know, I know.  It is hard to believe there is a hospital south of Queensland that I haven't had the pleasure of booking in to for a short visit but there is one and I've found it!  The hospital in question is The Epworth Freemasons Hospital in East Melbourne.  Now for anyone living in Melbourne the name Epworth is not a strange one.  The Epworth Hospital (original campus) in Richmond is one of the oldest and best known hospitals in the area.

What many people do not know is that Epworth Healthcare has over ten facilities in the greater Melbourne area.  One of these hospitals, the Epworth Eastern, I have visited on a number of occasions. My last three kidney surgeries have all been there and I also had my tonsils out at that hospital.  My positive experience with the hospital and the overall good name of Epworth makes me feel comfortable that the Freemasons will be just as good.

However, even though they share a name they are completely different campuses and therefore I personally feel it prudent to be diligent about my research into the hospital.  After all, the Epworth Eastern is very shiny and new having only opened in 2005.  It is purpose built with all the state of the art equipment.  The Freemasons was opened in 1937, however it didn't become part of Epworth Healthcare until 2006.  So their background and culture would have been quite different from the start.

I consider this really important.  As a self proclaimed "professional patient", I have one rule that I think is paramount.  Take charge of your own health care.  Make sure you know about what is wrong with you, your treatment options, the doctors treating you and of course the facility you receive treatment at.

I guess the big question is then, "How do I go about searching information about the hospital?"  Well,  I think it is quite individual in nature.  You have to satisfy yourself that you feel confident and safe at the hospital.  So first, I look at the website of the hospital.  You can get a good idea of the size, culture and operation of the hospital here.  Freemasons has about 230 beds and marks one of its specialties as urology.  So that is a tick in my book.  There is also a CCU and an ICU so if the you know what hits the large spinning thing, I know that this hospital is equipped to look after me.  Second, a hospitals own website is not exactly going to publish what they are not doing properly and scandals they might be involved in, so it is good to search local news etc.

Fortunately, there was nothing there.  But my investigation isn't over yet.  Every hospital has slightly different procedures and therefore require different things from you.  At the very least it is handy to know the admitting procedure and where you need to go.  If you know that you can help mitigate some of the stress on what can be a highly stressful day.

Now there is probably one little question niggling away at your mind.  Why am I going to a different hospital?  Well unlike many health care systems around the world, it is not uncommon for a doctor in Australia to have operating rights at more than one hospital.  In fact, it is not uncommon for doctors to be on the roster at as many as five or six hospitals.  The Epworth Eastern was probably the least frequented hospital in my urologists schedule, and in an attempt to consolidate his workload it only made sense for him to drop this one from his schedule.

So there you have it.  If you are interested in having a sticky beak at Freemasons hospital, I have provided the link below:-

Freemasons Hospital

And yes, if you are wondering, it is the hospital they use for filming in the Australian drama TV series "Offspring".  Stay well:)

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