In today’s world, there are patient advocacy groups, patients charter of rights, and patients who have empowered themselves based on the information highway which can be accessed in print and electronically. Added to this is Hollywood’s portrayal of doctors, nurses, and patients.
Serious diagnoses include:
o terminal illnesses which can progress rapidly or slowly
o debilitating illnesses which can affect mobility and independence
o illnesses which require the use and dependence on life sustaining machines and biomedical devices
o surgical interventions which require the amputation of limbs or removal of organs
Usually, there is initial shock and despair on receiving the serious diagnosis and perhaps a not so good prognosis. Modern medicine and Alternative/Complementary treatment modalities have a plethora of treatment and rehabilitative options to offer. It is important to ask questions of your healthcare provider and explore available information on the illness.
1) What are the chances that the diagnosis is incorrect?
Of the common medical errors which can occur are cases of misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis can lead to the wrong tests and diagnostics being ordered. Incorrect treatment could also be initiated based on the misdiagnosis.
Medical misdiagnoses include:
- Undiagnosed pathologies
- Clinical negligence
- Incorrect diagnosis
2) Could the test results or report be wrong?
Errors can occur due to the inaccuracy of machines, operators with various levels of experience, and erroneous interpretations of the results. These days, labs are being accredited to provide service. The rigorous exercise evaluates not only competencies but also the processes, equipment and infrastructure.
3) Can I have a second opinion?
Never feel guilty to request a second opinion. A serious diagnosis can have life changing implication for your life and also for your loved ones.
4) Who are the leading experts for the disease condition?
Find out who are the best doctors in the medical specialist field who treat with your kind of illness. There are not only specialists but also sub-specialists/super specialists as is the case with orthopedics and plastic surgery. There are orthopedic surgeons whose expertise is pathologies of the hand.
5) What are the treatment options?
Due to the advancement, in medicine there are many more treatment options available today than say 10 years ago. There are conservative therapies on one hand and at the other end of the spectrum there are radical invasive treatment solutions.
6) Which therapy offers the best treatment success rate?
Remember that you are an important member of the team. Once you have all the information you need then you and only you can give your consent to treatment. For many procedures you are required to give a signed consent form.
Treatment requires a wholistic approach which takes care of not only the physical ailment but also caters to the to the mind, body and soul. Healthy well balanced meals, physical therapy, talk therapy, pain management, and naturopathic therapy are a few of the menu of treatment used for an integrative treatment plan. It does take a team to support you as you go on the healing journey. Patients with a strong support system tend to do much better, remain hopeful, optimistic and live longer quality lives.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
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