Newsweek recently published a cover article titled; One Word Can Save your Life: NO! The in-depth article makes the point that more healthcare often means worse health. For instance, 5 random studies were done comparing the effectiveness of surgical intervention on heart patients (stents, angioplasty, etc.) versus noninvasive treatments (diet, exercise & medication). The studies were done on stable heart patients who presented nothing worse than mild chest pain. The conclusions were unanimous that surgery did not improve the quality of the patient’s life or life expectancy. Surgery did however expose them to surgical risks, infection and CT radiation, and a $50,000 medical bill!
A Self-Advocate Asks Why
Newsweek raises valid issues, but I think they are recommending the wrong response, at least initially. Before you say no, how about first asking why? In this case, ask why the stent? Why not hit the treadmill, trade in the Budweiser for a Cabernet, and fill a prescription? My point is you are allowed to ask your Doctor questions, they are not God. That’s why there are second opinions, because opinions vary. Your physician has had years of training, he should be able to break it down for you and answer all your concerns. That said, you are no dummy either. You have a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips with the internet. Use it. Be your own self-advocate. Do your own research. I’m not saying you need to be an armchair Dr. Oz, but you do have responsibility for your own health and treatment. Look at the pros and cons of the treatment options offered. When it comes to buying a car, people are all over the bluebook, the car ads and the internet – when it comes to their health all the sudden they are blind followers looking for the quick fix. We need to be our own personal advocate.
I hate to plug my own book, Personal Healthcare Portfolio, but here it goes. If you have trouble being your own advocate, pick up a copy of my book. There are multiple scenarios of what can go wrong if you don’t speak up. There are also examples and websites to help you navigate the healthcare maze and ask the tough questions – questions that need to be asked. Why is not a bad question, it’s not rude, it doesn’t question anyone’s intelligence, it just asks for further clarification. Don’t you deserve that?
Thanks for reading!