Calling "911" From a Hospital Room: Know Yor Rights

By Karen Curtiss - This blog was originally published in the Care Partner Project January, 2022 newsletter. It's being re-published here because this information has the potential to save lives.

Worried your loved one is "going downhill" in the hospital and no one is responding to your concerns? You know your loved one best. If you ever spot changes in their condition that signal trouble to you – but the medical staff can’t or won’t respond, you may call the equivalent of 911 in the hospital.

From the landline, dial O/operator. Say the room number and:

“I Need a Rapid Response Team” or “I’m Calling a Condition Help”

We are haunted by the story of a dad in Milwaukee, who sat bedside with his wife during labor He was increasingly distressed by her increasing difficulties in breathing. Several times, he sought out nurses and begged them to check on his wife but heard... "in a few minutes", "too busy right now with other patients." 

Hospitals are required to share info about this service with patients, but it is often buried in the packets of paperwork patients receive

By the time, they got to his wife, it was too late. This mother could have been saved if her husband had known about Condition Help. Hospitals are required to share info about this service with patients, but it is often buried in the packets of paperwork patients receive. Only a tiny minority of hospitals share Condition Help procedures on wall posters or other obvious places. 

Why? When introduced around 2005, hospitals worried that Condition Help would be called for "frivolous reasons" (i.e., nurses failing to bring an extra blanket quickly enough) but studies have shown this is not the case at all. In fact, studies show Condition Help and rapid response teams save lives. 

Add these 5 words to your list... “I’m Calling a Condition Help”

If you're a patient advocate, GNANOW.ORG/blogs is a great way to make your voice heard by thousands!