You Bet Your Life (and your baby’s life too?)
[This is Science & Sensibility's very first giveaway! Instructions for how to enter are below.]
Through my involvement in the Society for Participatory Medicine, I’ve gotten to know and respect some pretty amazing patient advocates. Trisha Torrey (@TrishaTorrey on Twitter) is one of these. After being misdiagnosed with a rare type of terminal cancer and coming close to risking her life to accept treatment she did not need, she discovered that many of her long-held assumptions about our health care system were dead wrong. She also realized that if she could make the mistakes she made, others could too. She made a mid-life career change to become a patient advocate and now helps others become informed, engaged, and empowered through her About.com Patient Empowerment Blog, her patient advocate search site AdvoConnection, her popular series of columns and podcasts, and elsewhere around the web.
She has also written a book, and it’s excellent.
In You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes, Trisha takes a critical look at our health care system and points out the incorrect assumptions and other mistakes we make that ultimately compromise our safety and wellbeing. More importantly, she builds the reader’s confidence and gives clear instructions for how to fix or avoid each mistake. The book is organized intelligently into chapters for each “mistake”, followed in turn by chapters on how to “fix the mistake.” It is peppered with true stories (of both the tragic and triumphant variety) as well as tools such as checklists and recommended resources.
With a title like this book has, it is easy to assume that Trisha blames patients for things that go wrong. But quite the opposite is true. Trisha sees that no one has more at stake in healthcare than the consumer herself, and although the system erects barriers, an informed and engaged consumer can overcome them. Our biggest mistake is assuming that our healthcare system should function as it is intended, which is sadly far from the case.
Here are Trisha Torrey’s 10 Mistakes:
Mistake 1: Thinking the Healthcare System is Focused on Helping Patients
Mistake 2: Thinking Doctors Put Patients’ Needs First
Mistake 3: Not Confirming Your Diagnosis
Mistake 4: Thinking You’ve Been Told About All Your Treatment Options
Mistake 5: Thinking You’re Safe In the Hands of the Healthcare System
Mistake 6: Not Understanding the Influence of Your Medical Records on Your Health and Your Wallet
Mistake 7: Spending Time in the Hospital Unless It’s Absolutely Necessary
Mistake 8: Using the Internet to Find Health Information Without a Compass
Mistake 9: Thinking Medical Research Is Searching for Cures
Mistake 10: Letting the Media Influence Your Decisions Without Reading Between the Lines
When I saw this list I wrote to Trisha, only a little bit jokingly, that she could copy and paste this list into another book about pregnancy and birth and call it, You Bet Your Life, and Your Baby’s Life, Too! Well, it turns out that plans for a follow-up book about pregnancy and birth are in the works! So, dear readers, here’s where you come in. Trisha Torrey has graciously offered to send a free copy of her book to one of you. To be eligible to win, please leave a comment on this post with one of the following:
1. An anecdote (or link to a story posted elsewhere on the web) that demonstrates how one of the “10 mistakes” can play out – or be overcome – in maternity care, or
2. A maternity care mistake that belongs on the list but isn’t.
Please do not share an unpublished anecdote unless it is about your own experience or you have removed all personal details that might enable someone to learn the identity of the woman and/or baby involved. Published anecdotes are fair game. If in doubt, I will delete the comment and the entry will be voided.
Additional Rules: You can leave multiple comments for multiple entries. A winner will be chosen randomly from all entries. The book can be sent to U.S. addresses only. The deadline is 11:59pm EST Wednesday, February 3. Use a valid email address when you register your comment so we can contact you if you are the winner. (Your email address will be kept private but will be visible to me as blog administrator.) Comment contributors may be contacted as well for permission to feature anecdotes in a forthcoming pregnancy and birth edition in the series.
For full disclosure: I received a free review copy of You Bet Your Life! The 10 Mistakes Every Patient Makes. I also may be involved in the forthcoming pregnancy and birth edition of the You Bet Your Life series.