Letter from the Editor

Some of this issue's topics include pressure ulcers, arts in the hospital, and undiagnosed bowel disorders.

Pressure ulcers are nobody's idea of a good time, but they are a fact of life in the hospital—as well as a common source of lawsuits and withheld payments. Our cover story provides an overview of the types of patients most inclined to develop pressure ulcers, how to prevent pressure ulcers when possible, how to distinguish ulcers from similar-looking wounds, and the best treatment for each ulcer stage. It also discusses situations in which the hospital and physician can and can't be blamed for ulcers, and changes that can be made in the hospital environment—particularly to medical equipment—to minimize liability.

As complementary and alternative therapies gain acceptance in hospitals, and concerns about the patient experience grow, more facilities are creating programs to bring art and music to the bedside. Our feature story profiles several such efforts, which have been shown to reduce pain scores, stress and anxiety among patients with conditions ranging from stroke to cancer. Our Success Story, meanwhile, talks about reducing the stress of another population in the hospital: residents. Read on to discover how the University of Rochester's Strong Memorial Hospital restructured its care teams to ease pressure on residents, and seemed to improve patient care in the process.

Have you ever wondered how you'd fare as a patient during a medical emergency? Michael Sergeant, MD, found out for himself after being bitten in Tucson by a rattlesnake (or rattlesnakes) twice in rapid succession. In our Self-Examination section, Dr. Sergeant details his experience with driving himself to the hospital, waiting (and waiting) for anti-venom, and eventually recovering—but finding himself a changed man.

If you want to share a story of your own, email us. We're always happy to hear from you.

Jessica Berthold
Editor, ACP Hospitalist