skip navigation

Need help? Click here


Having surgical procedures can cause anxiety and cause financial hardship. But patients should expect that the hospital is doing everything in its power to prevent complications.

However, certain practices can lead to complications, such as infections or blood clots. Certain types of surgery can increase the risk of blood clots forming because patients do not move much during and, usually, after some surgeries. Treatments called "prophylaxis," which aim to prevent complications, should be provided at the right time. These prevention treatments may include blood thinning drugs, elastic support stockings, or mechanical air stockings that help circulation in the legs.

Compare scores for surgery


What can patients do?

  • Even though you rely on hospitals to make sure you are safe, you can take an active role in avoiding infections.
  • Know your hospitals’ infection rate before you are admitted, so you are aware of any problem areas.
  • Don’t be afraid to remind staff to wash their hands.
  • Ask whether “prophylaxis” should be provided, and at what time.
  • Speak up and ask questions if something doesn’t seem right.

Visit Own Your Health to help you make informed health care decisions.

What should your hospital do?

  • Follow CDC guidelines for preventing hospital infections.
  • Work with the Washington State Hospital Association to implement all of the association’s recommendations to reduce health care-associated infections.
  • Provide prophylaxis at the right time.
  • Make sure staff maintain good hand hygiene, including washing their hands regularly and using hand sanitizer.