Question:My grandma fell and broke her hip while I was visiting her. The ambulance came and took her to the local hospital. She had surgery to replace part of her hip. My parents think she would have done better if she was taken to a larger hospital. There is a regional medical center in a bigger town several miles away. Does it really matter? Isn't getting to the hospital the most important thing?
Answer:It isn't always possible to make a perfect decision during an emergency. You did the right thing to call an ambulance. Without having a plan worked out ahead in case anything happened to your grandmother, you followed what the EMTs advised at the time. This is perfectly acceptable.
Hip fractures aren't as likely to be life-threatening compared to heart attacks or strokes. But a break in the bone can cause a fat embolus or blood clot to travel to the lungs or brain, so getting medical care quickly is still important.
It's possible that smaller hospitals have fewer cases than a large, regional, medical center. But being close to home is important for many older adults. And a smaller facility may be able to offer closer follow-up when needed.Chunliu Zhan, MD, PhD, et al. Incidence and Short-Term Outcomes of Primary and Revision Hip Replacement in the United States. In Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. March 2007. Vol. 89-A. No. 3. Pp. 526-533.
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