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Entries in Healthcare (1)

Wednesday
Feb082012

Manage Your Child's Healthcare

The jokes are old and still used daily:  “What groups do everyone dislike until they need them?  Doctors and Lawyers.”

I respect both groups. Doctors put up with years of college and training, and arguably put themselves in harm’s way (not like a soldier) everyday being surrounded by germs, bacteria and viruses.

And as the other old joke goes, “What do they call the person graduating at the bottom of their medical class?  Doctor.”

I was always taught to respect Doctors, and perhaps had them on a bit of a pedestal. Then, as my mother was hospitalized, a cousin taught me an invaluable lesson:  you need to manage your healthcare. Don’t just go along with the Doctors if what they are saying doesn’t make (common) sense…talk to them, (politely) challenge them.’

This lesson played out when one of our daughters suffered abdominal pain. After watching for a bit, we decided it was time to take her to the emergency room (ER).

It was a bit of an odd visit to the ER. The ER staff clearly wanted to separate dad from the daughter, so they could ask if Dad was a part of the issue. This was frightenly understandable (annoying) to Dad, and clearly scared the daughter.

After looking her over, the ER people declared they couldn’t find anything wrong, although the patient was clearly in pain. As we walked to the car, a stream of vomit woke me from my “Doctors on a Pedestal” stupor, and I marched back in to the hospital.

Finding the head of the emergency room, I calmly and patiently made the point that people shouldn’t leave the ER in worse shape than they came in.

The ER Director said, “There is nothing more we can do here, other than admit her.”

“Then admit her.”

Back she came, and we then discovered an ultrasound was the next logical step, although there was no ultrasound technician on site.

“You mean to tell me in this world class hospital nobody knows how to run an ultrasound?”

“The technician is on call.”

“Time to make the call.”

At no point were these conversations held with anything other than respect for the professional staff. No voices were raised.

At the same time, the professional staff was encouraged off their, “They can come back tomorrow” paradigm to action. By clearly and persistently communicating, all parties came to the mutual understanding around focusing efforts on the pained young woman.

After a week-long hospital stay, everything was on an uptick.

Morale of the story:  show the doctors you want to actively participate in managing your child’s healthcare.