Be The Bulldog – Dealing with medical practices

I’d love to be the zenmonkey again. But alas, I get a bit frustrated. Why is the medical system broken, you ask?

Check your medical records!!!   

I am starting to suspect incompetence and inattention is a huge part of the problem. Last week pretty much proved it. I looked at my medical record.
HAH! There were several things wrong with what was entered, but let’s put it this way: I have chewed tobacco ONCE in a bar in Pullman, in 1977. It was a dare, and a challenge and it sucked! My medical record indicates I chew tobacco now.

Always get copies of documents, notes, and diagnostics. 

Keep one for yourself and deliver another to your next provider.  We spent a lot of time ensuring that all records from our Mayo Vacation were delivered and input into their system. We get asked all kinds of personal questions so the med team can enter into their database the accurate history.  Why? So that the doctors and providers would review them. Why? So they would have the accurate information and not have to guess. Apparently, the providers don’t really read this and the data entry person doesn’t bother to check accuracy.  No wonder its a total mess.  

Try to avoid the Rehash Dash! We waste a lot of time rehashing the story. Every new provider asks all the same questions. If you can point them to read the documents they have available, they will get the doctors actual discussion. The doctors and providers need to read the file – not ask redundant questions that just waste time.  In our current situation, it’s a long and complicated case – one which we have spent extensive dollars on expert opinions.  The local providers could at least give us the respect of reading the file. The follow up  visits should be based on the Mayo Doctor’s discussions. I made a point of delivering all reports, all diagnostics, and all imagery  to our local docs.  The primary doc didn’t read it. The nurse coordinator changed the terminology when writing her referral orders. The PT didn’t read any of it. It’s a waste of time and energy. AND MONEY! 

If I hadn’t said: “Why the hell did we bother gathering and delivering records if they aren’t in the system?”, the PT would never have looked in the area from outside providers. She wouldn’t have had a clue it existed.  And she would never have the full picture. 

This is WHY you need to be proactive. Be adamant. Patients have the right to question everything. Patients have the right to receive their records. Start collecting them now. Patients have the right to get their questions answered.

Be your own Advocate. Be your loved one’s advocate. Listen to them with that objectivity that notices the gaps. Don’t let your loved one go alone — if you do, demand that they record the entire conversation. Be a Bull Dog. Don’t simply believe the doctors and their staff have things rolling forward. ASK QUESTIONS. Don’t sit there and blindly follow the doctors or their staff. If something doesn’t make sense, ask for clarity.

Yes it takes time. Yes it’s frustrating. No you can’t just sit and stay silent when you hear things that don’t make sense. You have to assert yourself, hopefully with kindness. But you have to do it.  

I learned this the hard way.  If you are the caregiver, you need to know what is going on. If something doesn’t seem right, if records are wrong, if doctors are following through — put on your bulldog hat and growl! Or just be nice and insistent, but do not ever let other family members tell you to just blindly trust the docs.  

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