You and Only You Are Your Best Advocate

Last week we broadcast a program called Patient Rights..It’s Up to You! I also posted a blog listing the ten “Musts”, things about which you must know when you or a loved one is admitted to a hospital. Other than completely understanding the terms and limits of your health insurance policy, perhaps the most important item in that list was suggesting that you are your own best advocate.

American hospitals do the best they can caring for sick patients in times of increasing fiscal restraint, government interference and costly regulation, and, for the most part they do an exceptional job providing an environment conducive to maintaining the highest standards of patient care possible. That said, however, there are problems that can occur during a hospital visit, and when those problems arise you must be prepared to advocate for yourself or your loved one.

While your physician should be your immediate and best advocate, the severe constraints of time imposed upon him or her by the system in which they have been forced to work are such that your “face to face” with them is limited. Thus, you must be prepared to make the most of the time that you have when they are free to speak with you. As we suggested on the broadcast, make a list of questions and concerns before-hand, if practicable, and send them on to the doctor so that he or she may be prepared to answer your questions. Find out when the doctor makes rounds so that you can be available, if you are not the patient, to have that precious time necessary to have your concerns addressed. Be insistent on having those concerns addressed, but be polite. Remember, if you want to kiss, you must first give a kiss!

If you are concerned that the physician or nurse will become upset with you if you are too “demanding” you must put those concerns aside; In this instance you are completely in the drivers seat. Most of the time, the nursing staff, the hospital administrative staff, and certainly your doctor will address those concerns immediately. No one, and I repeat NO ONE will withhold treatment or diminish the care necessary for your particular case. Doing so is an absolute and total breach of ethic, and the consequences of such actions can be dire for the parties involved.

Understand all the discharge instructions. The best time to ask the question is when the doctor or his representative is standing in front of you. Never leave the hospital not being sure what you have to do. Always ask if unsure!

In the final analysis, getting the answers to your questions, having your concerns addressed and making sure that you or the person about which you care gets the best hospital treatment is up to you and you alone. Be prepared, be informed, be timely, be polite but be very firm. You truly are your own best advocate.

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4 Responses to “You and Only You Are Your Best Advocate”

  1. Hi there, just wanted to mention, I enjoyed this post. It was helpful. Keep on posting!

    • Dr. Brooks says:

      As you enjoy the blogs, please tell more of your friends about the radio site and especially the blog site as well. Would you also do us the honor of asking your friends (as well as you) to subscribe to the blogs by clicking the RSS logo on the front page of the website? It would be greatly appreciated and know that I will always endeavor to produce incisive and timely pieces on issues that affect the Nation’s Health!

      We would appreciate you downloading the podcasts if you missed the program and also your liking us on Facebook @ Health of the Nation Remember, you can also can catch our broadcasts live on Sundays at 5PM to 6 PM Central on 570 AM, KLIF by going to the website and clicking on the Streaming bar.

      Thank you again for the time you took to read the blog and to comment.

      Mitchell Brooks, M.D.

  2. Sharonda Ice says:

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    • Dr. Brooks says:

      We can connect on the website through your comments as I try to answer all of them.

      As you enjoy the blogs, please tell more of your friends about the radio site and especially the blog site as well. Would you also do us the honor of asking your friends (as well as you) to subscribe to the blogs by clicking the RSS logo on the front page of the website? It would be greatly appreciated and know that I will always endeavor to produce incisive and timely pieces on issues that affect the Nation’s Health!

      We would appreciate you downloading the podcasts if you missed the program and also your liking us on Facebook @ Health of the Nation Remember, you can also can catch our broadcasts live on Sundays at 5PM to 6 PM Central on 570 AM, KLIF by going to the website and clicking on the Streaming bar.

      Thank you again for the time you took to read the blog and to comment.

      Mitchell Brooks, M.D.

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