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10/24/95, From: Mary Morken
I'd like to gather ideas on how to get the best treatment from doctors and nurses as a patient. I do think how patients act affects the treatment they receive in the hospital or the office.

I got a chuckle this morning from a mental patient who rearranged her hospital room as soon as she arrived. When my daughters have been in labor, I tend to do the same thing for them, and I ask the nurses for about five things as soon as I arrive to visit, because they have always been neglected, and I think patients get better attention when there are family members there to speak up for them. Then staff know there are several people who will hold them accountable who are not intimidated. It may be my problem, but after doing MT, nurses appear very lazy and gossipy at the station.

When I recently went to a new doctor with a simple specific request for insurance to cover my Roho cushion, I wrote out my own progress note for my visit, with the SOAP format. She took it, thanked me, and entered it into the chart, saying "Great! Now I won't have to dictate." Insurance said no unfortunately.

I heard of a person who had been advised by an MT before she went to the doctor to find out if she had a serious diagnosis. She went with a list of questions and a tape recorder, having done research on the Internet so she could understand the doctor. He told her she was the most prepared patient he had ever met. I'm sure she got excellent treatment.

10/24/95, from: bbentsen@ix.netcom.com (Bill Bentsen)
My father had adenocarcinoma of the colon, diagnosed last Thanksgiving. He was placed with an oncologist, and then he underwent radiation therapy for the tumor. During the treatment, the neoplasm sloughed and was passed. He was originally scheduled for a colostomy; however, the surgeon found only a small lesion at the site. Biopsy of the lesion revealed no questionable cells. The oncologist still insisted on a colostomy; however, my parents balked. Apparently the discussion became heated as the physician insisted that standard protocol included a colostomy. Finally, my parents told him straight forward that he was the mechanic and that they were paying him to carry out their wishes.

Now, almost a year later, there is no evidence of tumor. My father did follow the chemotherapy protocol, however. The oncologist has now studied the situation, and he advises that the most current protocol available doesn't actually include colostomy. My parents and he are now good social friends as well.

10/27/95, from: cdoole@aol.com (Cathie Duzyk)
I agree that our profession can certainly be helpful in times of need. I had to meet with a new physician a few months ago. My intuition told me that he had a sense of humor, so to break the ice even further I said, "By the way, you've never been suspended for delinquent medical records have you?" He howled!

10/24/95, from Tillie Elizabeth Horak, thorak@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu
I have found that when I go into a new physician's office, that I first tell them that I am their worst nightmare come true: I work in a medical library and have complete access to all medical literature AND I do transcription at home. Most of the practitioners I have dealt with have told me that they appreciate my honesty and that they don't regard me as a nightmare, they actually regard me as a partner. Most are thankful that I am so knowledgeable and that they don't have to rethink what they're going to say to me. I have had two good experiences this way.

1) I went to an ENT for an office visit. He knew I was doing transcription for his group. When he started the exam with the endoscope, he started to explain (in lay terms) what he was doing. I very quickly spouted out his whole exam paragraph (as I had heard the same thing a million times). He chuckled and said, "I don't know why I'm even here, I should have just sent the equipment to you and let you do your own exam." I told him that that was slightly impossible but that I would be happy to transcribe the visit for him.

2) When my father was admitted as a patient under a neurologist that I know, here in the hospital where I work, he made sure that all the residents and attendings knew about me and told them in no uncertain terms that nothing was to be done to my father without talking to me first. On the day that he was discharged, the chief resident asked me to come to the hospital to talk to me before he would let my father go. Sometimes, this profession can be very handy indeed.


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