Make Your Voice Heard Within Healthcare Community

Speak Out

Don’t Let Your Voice Be Drowned Out

Are we as patients losing our voice in our own healthcare? Are healthcare providers and Insurance companies making decisions about treatments without us having any type of a say?

Over the years, we have been encouraged to become not only involved but also responsible for our condition. Since the web has become a major part of our lives, it is easy to learn all about a diagnosis; its symptoms, tests needed to be diagnosed, and all treatments that can be used to either cure or help keep our disease under control. Many individuals often search for answers about a disease or treatment prior to their first visit with a physician these days. We all should be informed with complete knowledge and permission to treat before anything is ever done.

This may not be happening as much anymore leaving us all vulnerable to going through unnecessary tests, medications, or even how they are provided. An example of this may be you come down with a condition which needs immediate care and for whatever reason your physician can not see you. Your urgent condition sends you to the emergency room to visit a physician who is not familiar at all with your overall health or condition. Instead of discussing what tests need to be performed, or even if these tests have been done within a few days or weeks, they are ordered anyway. Then say they admit you to the hospital even without discussing with you that this is happening or other options that can be done as an outpatient or through Home Health; such as receiving IV antibiotics. Instead you now responsible for your ER bill, all the tests performed, and the hospital stay which could run into the thousands of dollars.

You are not consulted about why any of this is necessary or other possible options which could be provided to help save you money. If this isn’t frustrating enough, consider that you try to involve yourself by asking questions, making suggestions which are appropriate only to find that they do not want your involvement at all. The only choice you are given to sign out AMA, (against medical advice) which you are threatened that your insurance won’t pay for whatever has already been done; and being told that you won’t be given a prescription for the very antibiotic that they wanted to give you while being admitted. Now you are leaving with the very condition that brought you in to them to begin with and having to find alternative treatment sources. You are angry and frustrated leaving you to wonder why all this had to happen, and if you have any rights as a patient at all.

This example that I just gave you happened to someone I love and as a nurse, I am all too familiar with this happening to many other people. We walk a fine line with not only knowing our own bodies and when something is wrong, to trying to comply with healthcare professionals who claim to have our best interest at heart. It is important that we are listened to, that we are included on decisions that are being made on our behalf and why. We need to be vocal about treatments that are being repeated, or medications that haven’t worked, or about financial responsibilities and costs of what is being prescribed. We need to be provided all options that will provide the same results laid out to us. We should be allowed not only question their decisions but also to voice our opinions without the fear of not being treated.

I encourage each of you to study your condition and all treatments associated with it; to be an active participant with your voice heard by all involved in your care. If this isn’t happening with you, simply find other doctors that will keep you involved. Don’t be a victim of now evolving and declining healthcare that doesn’t put us or our priorities first. BE YOUR OWN VOICE!

 

MS Blogger and Multiple Sclerosis Activist shares her journey living with MS, tips for others living MS and her husband, Steve, offers his insight as a caregiver for MS.