17 January 2011

Names for Empowered Patients

If you are a person with any chronic disease, chances are you have learned a lot about your disease. You may not know it all, but when it comes to your body, you know how you feel and what works for you. In this case I am talking about those of us with diabetes since that is what I am familiar and somewhat knowledgeable about.

Now Trisha Torrey opens another topic. She wants to know what we – those that are advocating for ourselves and are empowered patients – want to be called. Quite frankly it does not matter to me. Most of my doctors talk with me as a person and that is what I ask. I admit that I do not like doctors that talk at me, around me, or like I am not there when talking to another person. I do have one of these, but there are not any others with his specialty that is available without a longer drive than I am willing to make.

A few call me by my name and when out in public acknowledge me even if we don't stop and talk. This means that I am a person to them and when in the office I am a person with diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, and a few other medical problems. They ask questions of me and yes, some are yes and no questions, but many are discussion questions.

I have not had a doctor say “you will” do anything. I have had one doctor say that I should, but after discussion, this did not happen. One doctor asked if I would take a medication. In turn I asked him if it would not set off my allergy, and after a quick review of his medical book, say, “you are right, that is one I will not prescribe”, and made a note to put that on the do not prescribe list.

As such, I am generally very happy with my doctors. If the doctor wants to refer to me as a patient, I don't mind. It seems that many people are hung up with semantics and want to be referred to by another name. I think that is going to be almost impossible without a lot of education and by that I mean the both the medical community and the people being served by them as well as insurers and others.

Please read the blog by Trisha Torrey and decide for yourself. Also read the comments section as some of them are very interesting.

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