Monday, January 26, 2015

Consumer Reports Study: Demand respect from your doc

I guess they prefer the term "doctor" to doc. But still, I have spent my life trying to manage my own body--with the help of these trained pros--instead of turning it over to them.

Every year, 400,000 preventable errors cost people their lives. They get medication interaction disorders, hospital acquired infections, the wrong limb operated on or removed, bad diagnoses, no diagnoses...you name it.

In Consumer Reports Safe Patient Study are countless stories of patients frustrated by doctors not listening, tossing their internet finds, and so on. The 19 seconds before interrupting the patient seems to still stand. I have had doctors make the hurry-up hand motion as I talked.

I once went to the ER with horrible abdominal pains--I was blocked. They sent me home to take a laxative--I threw up and went back the next day--they did another x-ray. Nope--not blocked. I said, well, something is wrong! Then the doc came back in--they were looking at the x-ray from the day before, yes, I was blocked. Five days in the hospital on an NG tube--which you do not want, by the way.

In dealing with doctors, according to Consumer Reports, you need for them to see you as a person. This is especially true in the hospital, where your own doctor will probably not take care of you, and a hospitalist doctor will be in charge. This person has no idea who you are. You need to bring up your kids, your profession, make yourself into a "person."

Invite the doctor to sit down--it's YOUR show.

Have supporters with you.

Think of you and the doctor as partners in your care. See if you can get the doctor to buy in.

Write things down or have your people write.

And if you don't understand, ask again--and even again.

You may need to harden up. I have had doctors blow through, barely speaking, tossing out scripts like confetti, casually consigning me to "big drugs"--and of course, there are the bad calls--they had Mom listed as diabetic at one hospital and would never change it. We objected over and over.

My advice: Try to be sweet and nice, but insist on not being glossed over or harmed.

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