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Hallucinations in hospital pose risk to the elderly

New York Times, June 21, 2010

Hospitals say many patients, particularly older ones, are experiencing inexplicable disorienting episodes. Disproportionately affecting older people, a rapidly growing share of patients, hospital delirium affects about one-third of patients over 70, and a greater percentage of intensive-care or postsurgical patients, the American Geriatrics Society estimates. The cause of delirium is unclear, but there are many apparent triggers: infections, surgery, pneumonia, and procedures like catheter insertions, the New York Times reports.