Today, I want to share something with you that I feel strongly about sharing. This revolves around feeling confident about the attention you receive, whether that is from someone like me (holistic health author and coach) or a medical professional.
Most of the time I have people come to me with horror stories about a product that has failed them or injured them in some way. There are also times when a client has been given poor medical advice and/or received a treatment that they felt they didn't need or did not go well.
Occasionally, I am contacted by someone who has been outright harmed by a situation. All of these wonderful people wished they had known more, or asked more questions, or simply followed their "gut" and got a second opinion.
In other words, they wished they had not given over their power to "someone else".
Nothing is more true than in the dermatology, cosmetic enhancement (plastic surgery), and the cosmetics industry as a whole. Today I want to share a story with you that happens too often.
In fact, this is something close to my heart as I cared for an ailing, elderly parent whose primary care came in to question. So much so, that our family did some research and made a change that actually saved her life at the time! That person was my Mom.
I know first hand how easy it is to trust and believe an expert so much that you may over rule your own feelings and not ask a question or even "question" a diagnosis or treatment.
People are so reluctant to do this. Many times we let a person's credentials or titles get in the way.
It is such a large problem that one of the USA's leading teaching and medical hospitals UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) has a standing SPEAK UP! program for all patients and doctors.
They encourage everyone to ask questions and speak up if something doesn't seem right or is not being understood. I have seen this first hand and have to say it is a wonderful step forward.
However, when you read what I am about to share with you it may be shocking, but it happens far more often than any of us would like to believe.
This involves a once highly respected Doctor named Robert Stokes in Grand Rapids, MI, who had the trust of his patients who came to him for their dermatological concerns and care.
He was considered the expert in his field in that community. Then the darker side of what was really happening emerged.
It was eventually revealed that not only was he billing insurance companies for procedures his patients never had from him (he is incarcerated as a felon for fraud), but he was also performing UNNECESSARY surgeries, biopsies, (without even taking the time to use clean and sterilized instruments) to remove cancerous skin lesions that didn't exist... even on patients who did not come in for a skin screenings!
There were people who were just coming in to get treated for things like acne, age spots, sun damage, and other skin problems of that nature, that he would want test for cancer in this way.
The good doctor then went on to build a huge and profitable practice which provided a luxurious lifestyle paid for by the very patients (and their skin) who trusted him.
Please take the time to read through the following links and even watch some of the video related to this topic. The full account was presented on the television show American Greed not too long ago.
Resource Link 1: http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/04/robert_stokes_fraud_case_to_be.html
Resource Link 2: http://www.cnbc.com/id/35988310
Resource Link 3: http://lansing.injuryboard.com/medical-malpractice/dr-robert-stokes-used-unsanitary-procedures-and-exposed-patients-to-infection.aspx?googleid=233672
The Robert Stokes story IS indeed scary. Unfortunately, this kind of thing is not just limited to him or the dermatology profession.
On a positive note, here are some things that will help. Remember, you should always feel in control of the visit and your health.
1. If you are diagnosed with anything requiring surgery insist on getting a second (or even a third) opinion. Make sure you would not be better off seeing a specialist, if one has not been recommended to you. And, it's more than OK to see more than one specialist for a specific problem.
2. Always take a list of questions and or symptoms in advance. This way you will not forget anything when you are on your visit.
3. Take someone else with you. This is always good, a close friend or relative can be extremely helpful in remembering the details.
They can also be in a good place to help you ask questions since they are not the one being examined. Have them come in when the doctor explains findings or makes recommendations.
4. Write down what your told. Some physicians will not allow you to record them, so its a good idea just to take a small note pad and jot down the instructions.
5. If something doesn't feel right speak up! If something doesn't make sense, your the only one who can bring it forward and get clarity.
6. Personality conflict. Hey, it happens more than you think. While I wouldn't fire a specialist in the field I was being treated in for a serious matter, if you just don't like your doctor, dentist, dermatologist, or etc, then it might be time to seek out someone new.
7. Check out your doctor's references and level of complaints. Yes, you can do this! Here is a great resource for step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
Now, it is possible even with doing all of this you can still have an issue. Your chance though of ever having to suffer what Doctor Stokes patients did will hopefully be minimized.
As you can imagine, many of them wished they had gotten that second opinion, or listened to the inner voice telling them something was not quite right. PLEASE SPEAK UP... it could just save your life.
Wishing you a healthy and joyous day,
The Hardest Working Guy In Skin Care
"Inspiring Healthy Choices For Better Living."