OK, so I exaggerated a little in the title, but I want to make a long-overdue point on here. Many of you have learned the hard way. Some of you may not have learned this yet, and in that case, you probably think I'm overreacting. I can assure you that the point I make is valid.
YOU are your best advocate. While there are people who advocate for the patients in a hospital, no one in that hospital has the sole responsibility of being YOUR advocate. I see people every day who are consenting to procedures, being prescribed medication, attending therapy, etc., who don't truly understand why they are doing what they are doing. I have even seen very bad examples of this. I have seen patients who consented to procedures only to regret that decision when they come out of surgery and realize the extent to which they've committed.
Hospitals are here to care for patients. They are here to make money while they care for patients. They are here to make more money than last year by caring for lots of patients. They are going to make mistakes at times and cut corners at times. You can't fix that. You can, however, do everything in your power to make sure that someone is fighting for YOU.
I'm not trying to "dog" the hospitals. A hospital pays my salary. I enjoy my job. Please do not misconstrue my comments. I simply urge YOU to fight for what's best for you. This means making sure you understand what the doctor diagnoses you with, what he/she proposes to do, and what that means for you (rehab time, deficits expected, cost, changes to your level of independence, how it affects the rest of your health/other diagnoses, etc.). Too few patients take the time to talk, and I mean truly converse, with their health care professionals. While the doctor is a busy man (or woman), YOU (and your insurance company) are paying him for a service. You wouldn't let the painter change paint colors without telling you why, would you? If the doctor honestly doesn't have time or can not explain it to you in a way you can understand, ask to have someone else come by (e.g., social worker, case management nurse, physical/occupational therapist, speech-language pathologist, etc.). If you have to play the bad guy, do so. I caution you to do so with respect and kindness (if possible), but do so.
[now leaving my podium and stepping off the soapbox]
1 week ago