Ok, this post is not a boring one-sided governmental entry to remind you of HIPAA act. After nearly 11 years in insurance, everytime I get the prequisite handout or have to sign something I am asked “Do you understand…?” I usually cut the person off and say, “Yes I know about HIPAA, so don’t worry.”
This is actually about asking questions when seeing your doctors. And how important it is.
I’ve recently gone through a series of medical problems that have taken quite a toll on my body. After 20 years of being a diabetic and having periods of good and bad control, I am now seeing the complications come like an Acela train speeding through the Northeast Corridor…fast and silently.
I’ve had two major episodes of staph infections; the second landing me in for a three day unplanned vacation in the hospital with massive doese of anti-biotic IVs. I’ve developed male problems (keeping it clean here but I am sure you can read between the lines) that are not improving and will mean a trip for surgery, once all the other issues clear. Now I’ve been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy in my right eye. I am having a flurosceine angiogram soon to determine the amount of damage, but I know I will be having laser treatments to correct the problem (not a cure, but a deterrent). And I’ve been going through major dental work sicne March that will lead me to two partials. I now have only 5 teeth to show for many years of poor care. All of this and trying to get my diabetes under control.
So who do I blame? Me. Why? I didn’t really ask the questions of my doctors for all of these years. I do now, partly for working now for a medical malpractice insurance company, and that at 42, this is the time all of the exams start ramping up as I get “older.”
Even though doctors have less and less time to interact with their patients, the patient - YOU - needs to be their own advocate for your care. Understand your conditions. Understand your insurance (That can be daunting but it is important in this day and age of medical bureaucracy). Ask the questions to know the care you need. You’ll gain precious years lost in not understanding care.
Believe me, I know.