~Martin H. Fischer
For Wellness Wednesday, we're thinking about following your instincts and being your own health advocate. Recently, I was speaking to a family member who told me that she'd had two tender spots on her head that bothered her over time, but doctors told her not to worry. Eventually she insisted on having them biopsied and discovered they were basal cell carcinoma. She was not happy that she'd had to take charge herself.
Things to keep in mind:
Be Your Own Health Advocate from WebMD.
Avoid Misdiagnosis: 8 Ways to Help Your Doctor Make the Right Diagnosis, also from WebMD.
The Empowered Patient Checklist for Doctor Visits – free PDF download
Resources for patient safety including printable "My Health Notebook" and "Hospital Exit Checklist"
A case where both doctors and patient contributed to misdiagnosis
When Evidence Says No, but Doctors Say Yes from The Atlantic.
"Some procedures are implemented based on studies that did not prove whether they really worked in the first place. Others were initially supported by evidence but then were contradicted by better evidence, and yet these procedures have remained the standards of care for years, or decades."
Some doctors can be more likely to rely on prescribing pharmaceuticals than recommending lifestyle changes. In truth, patients often expect to walk out with a prescription, despite the fact that in some situations you can get better results with lifestyle changes. For instance, a family member had rosacea that went away after she stopped eating dairy products, which she discovered for herself. When you are being your own advocate, try to be receptive to lifestyle changes, even though they can be harder to implement than taking a pill.
Side-note: We just passed the feast day of Saint Camillus de Lellis, patron of hospitals, nurses, and the sick (July 18). His is an interesting story.