Stress blog

Be your own advocate

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. January 12, 2011

Let me share an important lesson from last week. A wonderful woman in a Midwestern city developed a serious medical problem. She sought care in her community. The care was competent, but there was no chemistry between patient and providers. The nurturing aspect was missing.

The patient and her family searched online for another health care organization. They found one with a very appealing website that featured powerful testimonials and a promise of professionalism. However, things didn't go well there either, and the patient returned home in a weakened condition. (The adage about something sounding too good to be true comes to mind.)

The patient sought care at other institutions and became increasingly frustrated because at no time were her medical records in one place. She relied on the medical organizations to transmit medical data to one another, and this simply doesn't happen in a coherent way.

The sad reality is that you can't rely on a system that is disorganized and fragmented. Nor can you rely on the goodwill and good intentions of others. As President Harry Truman said, "The buck stops here." When it comes to your health, you are your own best advocate. You must take control and be proactive.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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Jan. 12, 2011