February 17, 2016
Does Going to the Hospital Make You Sicker?
During a hospital stay, people usually hope to have a medical condition treated effectively so they can recover fully, go home and stay home. But it's not uncommon for a hospitalization to lead to a new health problem that's serious enough to require hospital readmission within 30 days.
The phenomenon, dubbed "post-hospital syndrome" by Dr. Harlan Krumholz, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the Yale School of Medicine, is roughly defined as an acquired, transient period of increased risk for illness after a hospital stay, one that leads to re-hospitalization. Sometimes the readmission is related to the cause of the initial hospitalization, and sometimes it's because the patient acquired a new infection in the hospital. But often there's a seemingly new reason for readmission. "Many of us believe that [it] has to do with the hospitalization itself," Krumholz says. "Exposure to the stress of the hospitalization may have led to a vulnerability afterward."