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Why should you try to avoid hospitals over the holidays?

Many of our readers have probably heard that it's best to avoid going to the hospital, if you can, during the holiday season. Many people decide to get elective surgery done in the latter weeks of the year while they have time off and before their insurance deductibles kick in for the new year.

Like many of us, doctors and other health care professionals take vacation time during this period. That often leaves hospitals understaffed or staffed by less-experienced people.

Meanwhile, emergency rooms tend to be busier during the holidays thanks, among other things, to an increase in car crashes and household accidents such as people falling off ladders as they decorate their homes and Christmas trees. Holiday overeating and family stress can also lead to heart attacks or at least what feels like a heart attack

If you want to get elective surgery or some other treatment done at the end of the year, it's important to make sure that your doctor will be around not just for the procedure but if there are any complications or even if you have questions afterwards.

While you may be better off postponing elective, or at least non-emergency surgery until after the first of the year, there are certain symptoms you should not ignore, no matter what day of the year it is. These include:

-- Stroke symptoms-- Chest pain-- Difficulty breathing-- Excessive, uncontrolled bleeding-- Severe stomach pain, particularly if you're having other symptoms as well

Too many people ignore symptoms like these because they prefer to wait to see their own doctor when he or she returns from vacation. That can have serious and even fatal consequences.

You may be able to prevent ending up in the hospital over the holidays by ensuring that you have regular check-ups, take any prescribed medications and ensure that any ongoing conditions like high blood pressure are regularly monitored.

If you end up in the hospital, whether it's for an ER visit or a multi-night stay, you're entitled to receive quality care from the professionals who treat you. If something goes wrong because of the actions or negligence of these professionals, you should seek legal guidance to determine what your options are.

Source: Huffington Post, "Why You Should Consider Avoiding the Hospital During the Holidays," Dr. David Samadi, accessed Nov. 21, 2016

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