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Do you trust your doctor? How can you protect yourself?

Having spent four weeks in a hospital this year, for a near-fatal infection that wouldn't have become so serious if medical practitioners had advised the right thing early on, I am particularly interested in what doctors can do to regain the trust of their patients and what patients can do in their own interests. Not until my brother flew in to monitor what was going on did I begin to recover. Do you have a patient advocate for when illness or accidents strike and you aren't up to the job of advocating for yourself? Line things up ahead of time! Here are links to a few stories and I'll add more as I find them. I will also write about my own experience and what I learned from it.

Patient Advocacy in Patient Safety: Have Things Changed? (Helen Haskell, Perspective, June 2014, AHRQ, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). An important historical overview of patient safety efforts.

How to Fight Fear and Restore Trust in Medicine (Leana Wen, MD, Huff Post, 10-17-13). "With my disclosure, I am holding myself publicly accountable to my patients. I am saying that I don't have anything to hide from you. I know you are vulnerable, but I'll be vulnerable with you. This is a partnership. We're in this together."

When More Medicine Isn't Better (Leana Wen, HuffPost, 8-11-13) "More tests and better technologies are not the solution to improving clinical care. Patients: Insist on being an equal and active partner in your care. Ask "why" and "how." Why is this test ordered? How will this test change my management? Make sure you know your diagnosis. Assure your doctor that it's OK if she is not 100 percent sure; you don't demand certainty, but you do expect transparency."

5 Things I Didn't Know About Health Care (Until I Got Sick) (C. Coville, Cracked Columnists, 3-11-14) "Sick people with potentially curable illnesses are shunted around between separate specialists who don't pay attention to anything except the body part they've been trained to focus on, a problem known as care fragmentation... Because of care fragmentation, sick people often have to coordinate their own care if they want to get treated correctly. But that's not as easy as it sounds, because ..."

Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won't Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care by Marty Makary

Dollars for Docs: How Industry Dollars Reach Your Doctors (Jeremy B. Merrill, Charles Ornstein, Tracy Weber, Sisi Wei and Dan Nguyen, ProPublica updated 6-24-13)
The Right Care Alliance (Lown Institute). A major new initiative of the Lown Institute that is designed to change the culture of American medicine from “more is better” to the right care for the right patient.

Who's My Doctor? The total transparency manifesto

Why Is It Important for a Doctor to Be Board Certified? (Trisha Torrey, About.com)

How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman. Helpful reviews of and comments on the book on Goodreads. See also excerpt on NPR.
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