Safe & Sound Path to Diagnosis & Surgery Decisions
Diagnosis & Surgery Decisions
Help Get the Right Diagnosis: Know All Choices for Treatment Little known fact: up to 40% of diagnoses are wrong. That’s why it’s so important to ask a lot of questions and see at least 2 doctors for information and ideas about symptoms, condition and treatment choices. Getting the right diagnosis is often like solving a mystery, and it’s really up to the patient and their Care Partner to dig for clues and answers. It can take lots of doctor visits and lots of research, but it’s worth the time and effort. Patients often worry that they will offend their main doctors if they get second or third opinions. Or they worry that, by consulting with other doctors, they are being “unfaithful” to their main doctor. Both of these concerns are common and understandable, but here’s the truth: good doctors encourage their patients to collect as much information as they can – they know from experience, the more information, the better any health care decisions. So please don’t give up! (And if your doctor is not on board with your getting different opinions, maybe it’s time to give up on that doctor!) The questions on the following pages cover important topics when talking to doctors. No doubt, you will have others. Be sure to ask the same questions for every doctor so you can compare “apples to apples.” Good doctors will support your efforts to get opinions from other doctors. Good doctors do not make decisions for their patients – and they don’t push them into snap decisions, either. Once everyone is comfortable with the diagnosis and treatment plan, the doctor and hospital provide a legal document called the Informed consent to treat. The language is not user-friendly so be prepared to slog through it. It’s OK to ask someone at the hospital or doctor’s office to translate it into plain words. Make sure your special wishes are included in the Informed Consent paperwork. For example, If a certain anesthesia, or surgeon is preferred, make sure these details are shown in the Informed Consent. If not, the patient (or legal guardian for care) can write in changes, then initial and date each change noted. It’s a good idea to talk about these changes with the medical team just be doubly sure everyone is “on the same page” about treatment and care.
This is a lot to handle, isn’t it? That’s just another reason why family members and friends are so valuable as your Care Partners!
To continue reading, follow this link to The Care Partner Project - and for assistance navigating this overwhelming process, call me 631-312-0741