Finding Medical Help
You find yourself in a medical crisis and are scared about the diagnosis. Then it hits you, “How do I find the right medical care to get better?” I would love to tell you I know who you need, but we both know that I don’t. There are too many variables. I can tell you some of the things we learned while trying to deal with these questions for my daughter.
The severity and uniqueness of your situation help point you in the right direction. What if the issue can be easily treated or is in an early stage? Find someone who treats patients like you often and whose patients have excellent outcomes. Some additional considerations may include their location, do they take your insurance, what hospitals are they affiliated with, and do you trust them?
The more severe and unusual the disease is, the more you need to seek out physicians, surgeons, and clinics that specialize in those cases. Steph had an 8% chance of survival, so we looked for oncologists involved in research studies. That increased the likelihood that they understood the most effective options available. The more complicated the case, the more critical it is for you to find the best. Variables like location, insurance, not accepting new patients, etc. may complicate your search, but do the work and choose the best available to you.
You are looking for someone to be your champion. Talk with nurses, doctors, or other health professionals for their opinions. Pharmaceutical reps interact with hundreds of doctors and should know top institutions and physicians or another rep whose drugs specialize in your area of need. Ask other patients about their experiences. Internet searches for clinics treating patients with your condition often provide lists of the highest-rated clinics.
Write down the questions you want answers too before making your choice. Here are some suggestions to get you started. How many patients with my condition have you seen? How did they do? Are your treatments personalized for each patient? How would you treat me? Who would you take your child to if they had my condition? Get answers to all your questions while staying professional and treating them with respect. Write down their answers.
After your discussion, take a gut check with the help of your team. How do you feel about the doctor? Are they the right fit? Do you trust them? How was their bedside manner? Did they talk to you or at you? Did you feel special, or are you just another patient? I know these questions are not scientific, but you must be confident in your choice. These questions are by no means a complete list, but it should help you get started on finding the help you need.
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