How To Deal With A Bad Diagnosis
One reason for these alarming statistics is the common perception that all doctors are essentially the same, which Smith asserts just isn’t so. Not only are there differences in abilities and training but also in experience with specific conditions. That’s why he urges anyone faced with a serious diagnosis to recognize that “the sooner you get under the care of somebody who knows what they’re doing, the better.”
This often means going to a major medical center. “The data tells us that treating these serious illnesses in the major medical centers most used to handling them is the number one indicator of a successful outcome,” Smith says. Yet many people facing scary diagnoses are reluctant to leave home to seek treatment. “I’m stunned by the people who will drive 8 hours to see a nephew or 4 hours to see a football game but won’t drive 2 hours nike store uk to a major hospital,” says Smith, who calls this attitude a form of denial. “People minimize the seriousness of their situation by telling themselves, ‘I don’t have to go to a big cancer center in the city because my cancer’s not nike store uk that serious.’ They’re drawn to solutions that involve the least interruption in their life and think it’s a reasonable trade off, but it’s not.” Not only does realistically facing a dire diagnosis help you get the best care, he says, “but it also helps you deal with what’s going on inside, the anxieties and fears. There are positive psychological, emotional, and even some physiologic benefits to getting in the driver’s seat and taking control of your life when you have a serious illness like this. (Follow our guide to protect yourself from common medical mistakes.)
Find a Helpful Partner
But this doesn’t mean that someone grappling with serious illness should try to handle matters alone. A support system is essential, says Smith, who recommends bringing a trusted friend or family member to each doctor visit to help hear and digest the information and ask appropriate questions. He shrugs off the common concern about alienating doctors with excessive questions by emphasizing that the doctor patient relationship should be a partnership. “Your responsibility is to be informed about your illness so you can ask questions,” he maintains. “Your doctor’s part is to answer them all, fully and patiently.”
While these steps can help optimize your chances of the best possible outcome, Smith is careful to note that “it’s not a recipe nike store uk for success. There are no guarantees. But it will give you peace of mind knowing tha nike store uk t you’ve done everything you possibly could.”
Health care experts echo Smith’s advice that patients arm themselves with as much information as possible. With near daily advances in treatments and the ability to access cutting edge resources through the Internet, “there’s no excuse for not being educated about your condition,” says Beth Battaglino, director of marketing and consumer affairs for the National Women’s Health Resource Center (NWHRC), a nonprofit organization based in New Brunswick, NJ, that’s dedicated to educating women about health and wellness. You can call them toll free at (877) 98 NWHRC (986 9472). Or, visit the Healthy Women website. “You can’t assume that your doctor will do it all,” asserts Battaglino, who points out that many doctors have so many patients that it’s difficult to stay on top of everything. (Ever heard of “alarm fatigue?”) Finding the best treatment “needs to be a team effort,” she says.135next
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