The Advocate Voice

In today Boston’s Globe, is an article called “Lost in Translation, What Doctors SAY is often not what patients HEAR”  by Elizabeth Cooney. This is an article reporting on a studies in Massachusetts from Dr Michael Rothberg of Bay State Medical, in Springfield and Dr. Michael Barry at Mass General.  In essence the study showed that patients don’t always understand the pros and cons of a procedure recommended and what options are available.

Across the board, people often just didn’t have a good sense about what the pros and cons were. They tended to hear more about the pros than the cons,’’ said Dr. Michael Barry.

It is true.  I was quoted in the August issue ” O Magazine“:

You’re unable to think clearly. “Some people are in shock after a diagnosis,” says Hari Khalsa, the Massachusetts-based advocate Cloninger hired. “Certain drugs used in treatment can also lead to exhaustion, which impacts the patient’s comprehension and concentration.”

At many points in treatment, it is difficult to hear or understand what the doctor is trying to tell you.  This is when an advocate is an important asset to your healthcare team.  The advocate can interpret information as well as research options.  Time restraints often make it difficult for a doctor to spend the needed time to explain in detail what the result is or what the options are.  There is always a window of time to do the research.

Clients are often fearful of asking for options or doing their own research.  The fear is the doctor will be angry and not treat them.  Yes, some medical professionals get annoyed but it benefits everyone to go for the best possible option and result for the person.  An advocate can speak with any medical professional to clarify information.

Ask questions!  Get the information needed to make an informed decision.  Think of your medical team as your partner in care.  As a partner, information needs to shared and decisions made with the correct information.  Use the internet to find patient websites that speak to similar situations.  This is a great way to get support and not feel alone.

Your voice is important! An advocate will help your be heard!