It’s a crazy time we live in with healthcare being what it is today in America. I consider my family to be blessed that we have the options of healthcare through my husband’s employer or mine, and that we’re able to make the decisions and receive the care that we do. We pay for a portion of this health care out of pocket, but it’s absolutely worth the peace of mind knowing that we will be covered if (and with 5 people, 3 being children, let’s face it when) something happens.
I’m not sure if many people outside of the medical field realize the strain that new healthcare laws and rules are putting on our physicians and the medical community. Instead of your doctor being able to order a test or proceed with a procedure that’s right for you, they have to go through the rigor of running other tests and seeking approvals before proceeding on a course of action.
I grew up in a medical family and 3 of my siblings have entered the medical field. Truth be told, I wanted to me a doctor but I knew I didn’t have the commitment needed for medical school or the long hours that would follow in a career in medicine. But I know a lot about a lot when it comes to medicine; my undergraduate degree is one many future doctors share as their undergraduate. And I’ve spent a lot of time learning through personal experiences and other outlets about diseases and other things I’m interested in.
While I completely understand that this isn’t something that interests everyone, I have recently become acutely aware of the amount of people who know and participate so little in their health care and decisions, and it saddens me.
Most of my experience with this recently has obviously been in the world of pregnancy. I’m blessed to have a phenomenal doctor and, along with her staff, trust them implicitly with the health of me and my unborn baby. But I recently had an experience in which I was told by another medical professional that she was going to perform a procedure; I promptly cut her off and told her she was not. From the look on her face, I gathered this was the first time that she had received that response. This both shocked and saddened me. The procedure was minor, carrying almost no risks, and yet it wasn’t something that was appropriate for the stage of my pregnancy, and it was something I had discussed with my doctor previously as not being appropriate at all for me. Yet here was this woman, assuming that I was going to go along with whatever she wanted to do, as if my care was ultimately in her hands.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am nowhere near a doctor, or even a nurse for that matter- those people are well trained in their profession. I would agree that most times these medical professionals have their patients best interest at heart; after all, they’ve committed their lives and careers to helping others. But sometimes, we as the patient, need to advocate for our own care. Once in awhile we have to ask for a second medical opinion. Sometimes we have to do some research and ask the right questions so we know more about the plan. And sometimes we have to step up and say “no” to a test, a procedure, a general plan of care.
You should feel comfortable with those providing your care at all times, and if you do not, it’s time to find someone with whom you do. I urge you to speak up if you feel that something is not in your best interest or the person whose medical care you are in charge of, be it a parent or a child. Ask more questions, get the answers you deserve, and make sure that you are entirely aware of the reasoning behind a decision. Ultimately, it’s you who is charge of your health, no one else.