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#185903 - 10/19/09 10:25 PM Re: Best way to clue EMTs to medical facts? [Re: JohnE]
Y_T_ Offline
Newbie

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Arizona
Originally Posted By: JohnE
Not excusing anyone Y T but many people who start listing their various ailments and meds to medical providers are at least mildly hypochondriacs...not that it's a bad thing to be.

I hear it a lot, I'm trying to help a pt. with some first aid/bandaid and the next thing I know they're giving me their families medical history...;^)


Under the circumstances the difference between being informed & articulate and being a hypochondriac should be obvious to any competent professional. smile I mention my own experience here because it pertains to the "how to communicate to EMTs/professionals" subject -- if they're not willing to be respectful or listen, you're at a loss.

I'm sure there are plenty of pretenders, but I'll venture that the number of legitimate patients far, far exceeds them. I mean, most people don't like to visit a doctor (and in fact will avoid it). In addition, most people don't have the money to be treating healthcare like a social expenditure. wink

What you've described in your post doesn't apply in my case. smile First, my info was only offered upon a doctor's visit, hospital visit, or in the case of a medical emergency. And in nearly all cases, when they'd start asking about medical history or specifics. If someone gave me a bandaid, I didn't feel the need to tell them about my gastrointestinal problems. wink

Second, all of my conditions had been documented and verified as legitimate, some of them are clearly related (so if you had condition 1 it was reasonable that you also had condition 2), and all of them were under doctor treatments. Managing the care is/was challenging and involved juggling a lot of information. So it made sense for both myself and my doctors that I tracked what what the various conditions were and which doctors were treating what, as well as what meds I had been on and if they had caused problems/allergies .

This was partly done to make their job easier, particularly in event I was unconscious or unable to communicate. And partly done for my own benefit: it saved me from having to recite the same damn info over and over (potentially omitting an important detail), and it helped prevent one doctor from prescribing drugs or treatment that were counter to that of another doctor.

Originally Posted By: JohnE
I think a lot of folks who get negative reactions from healthcare as well as fire and rescue personnel when they appear to be prepared are really just seeing simple shock on the part of the provider. ;^)


Unfortunately, I didn't get the "pleasantly shocked you made this so easy" reactions. I got the "let's treat you suspiciously or condescendingly, or just outright accuse you of being untrustworthy or unstable" reactions.

Honestly, most of what I experienced was just medical professionals assuming any patient was a lobotomy victim, so being aware of one's own medical care was viewed as a sign of being crazy instead of being smart. wink When medical professionals (whether they are doctors, nurses, or EMTs) view their patients as natural born idiots it hinders proper care. It also creates an adversarial relationship that makes care more difficult for both parties. Of course a patient should not attempt to step in and direct care, but they should be allowed to (and welcomed to) be a partner in care. Particularly since the patient often needs to continue treatment on their own afterward.

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#185906 - 10/19/09 10:54 PM Re: Best way to clue EMTs to medical facts? [Re: Y_T_]
MDinana Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2183
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Originally Posted By: Y_T_
When medical professionals (whether they are doctors, nurses, or EMTs) view their patients as natural born idiots it hinders proper care.


Unfortunately, the health care field deals with a lot of "natural born idiots." They're bound to get jaded. I mean, you can only tell someone so many times that their obesity is causing their arthritis, blood pressure problems, and heart disease before you get tired of trying to get them to listen. Just like cops think everyone has done something wrong or assume everyone wants to shoot them.

Now I can't speak for the docs out there, but some folks in health care feel certain conditions are not "true" diseases but more psych related. One well publicized example is fibromyalgia - not everyone agrees on what it is, or if it's a disease or a somatic reaction fo some sort. Not saying you have it, but just trying to point out that some people clump. Give a doc a patient with fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and 7 abdominal surgeries, and most will have on their differential "Psych patient." Not a good thing, but it happens.

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#185911 - 10/19/09 11:52 PM Re: Best way to clue EMTs to medical facts? [Re: Y_T_]
Jeff_M Offline
Addict

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 665
Loc: Northwest Florida
Originally Posted By: Y_T_
Honestly, most of what I experienced was just medical professionals assuming any patient was a lobotomy victim, so being aware of one's own medical care was viewed as a sign of being crazy instead of being smart. wink When medical professionals (whether they are doctors, nurses, or EMTs) view their patients as natural born idiots it hinders proper care. It also creates an adversarial relationship that makes care more difficult for both parties. Of course a patient should not attempt to step in and direct care, but they should be allowed to (and welcomed to) be a partner in care. Particularly since the patient often needs to continue treatment on their own afterward.


There are a lot of overworked, undercompensated, highly stressed individuals in health care. Some are plainly burned out, and others are just jerks, or worse. An awful lot of people in the health care field find they don't actually like taking care of other people, but remain miscast in the role of care-giver, anyway. We can teach clinical skills, but it's not really possible for us to teach adults courtesy, compassion or respect.

Today, patients absolutely must be well informed, vigilant, and organized to survive any major voyage through the byzantine world of health care. Remember, we only kill 100,000 or so people per year with our medical errors. You are your own best, and often only, advocate. Don't accept excessively rude or demeaning treatment without complaint, but also be sure to express your appreciation to those who serve you well.

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#185928 - 10/20/09 03:36 AM Re: Best way to clue EMTs to medical facts? [Re: Jeff_M]
UpstateTom Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 165
Loc: Rens. County, NY
Health care professionals can get treated like cogs in a wheel, too. I recently switched the dr's office I go to, because the doctor left. I followed the doctor to a different practice. My doctor was a little surprised that I did that - I guess most people don't? My answer was simply that "you listen to me". When my doc explained the switch between offices, it was in part because of the way they were treated by the old office.

Bringing this back around to the original question, if whatever leads you to a hospital isn't trauma, having your primary doctor's name on you probably wouldn't be a bad idea? Baring some sort of large scale emergency, they would have access to your medical records, and might provide some other insight as well as potentially being an advocate for you.


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#185945 - 10/20/09 12:56 PM Re: Best way to clue EMTs to medical facts? [Re: Y_T_]
paramedicpete Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland
I have always appreciated receiving a current list of meds and medical conditions, it makes recording the information so much easier and more importantly I can scan the list and try to make connections to the current reason they called for ambulance/medic unit.

I have the privilege of knowing and attending classes taught by a long time paramedic, who instilled the precept that we always keep in mind, we are there for the patient and needed to treat each individual we come into contact with respect and compassion. In his many years of experience and in reviewing complaint cases, he found that EMTs/Paramedics who had interacted with patients and/or family with attitude, regardless of the adherence to protocols and successful outcomes had a much higher rate of being charged with malpractice. EMTs/Paramedics who may have not have adhered to protocols or had unsuccessful outcomes, but treated the patients/family with respect; compassion and understanding were almost always given high marks by the patients and families and had a very low incidence of malpractice and complaints filed against them.

Pete

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#186043 - 10/21/09 03:40 PM Re: Best way to clue EMTs to medical facts? [Re: dweste]
MartinFocazio Offline

Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
Originally Posted By: dweste
I wear no jewelry or watch and have been resisting the medical alert / dogtag / wrist band solution. Is there a practical alternative?


Shortest answer: No.

Look, I've done my share of dealing with medical emergencies. We look for the bracelet, the necklace and the tatoo. If we don't find those, we're not going to play 20 guesses to find out if you're diabetic or have an allergy - at that point, the symptoms tell you all you can know.


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#186049 - 10/21/09 04:44 PM Re: Best way to clue EMTs to medical facts? [Re: MartinFocazio]
James_Van_Artsdalen Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/13/07
Posts: 449
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: martinfocazio

We look for the bracelet, the necklace and the tatoo.

How often does that search succeed?

Nobody I have ever known has ever done any of these. The tattoo is out-of-the-question for all but a couple, and a necklace is banned in many work environments.

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#186050 - 10/21/09 04:48 PM Re: Best way to clue EMTs to medical facts? [Re: MartinFocazio]
Jeanette_Isabelle Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/13/06
Posts: 1376
Loc: North Central Florida
I currently do not have a medical bracelet. I do have a generalized anxiety disorder for which I carry Lorazepam in my purse. Should I get a medical bracelet mentioning I have a generalized anxiety disorder?

Jeanette Isabelle
_________________________
"A grain of wheat must fall to the ground before it can do any good. New life springs from fallen grain." -- Fleda Claes Johansson

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#186053 - 10/21/09 05:10 PM Re: Best way to clue EMTs to medical facts? [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
Jeff_M Offline
Addict

Registered: 07/18/07
Posts: 665
Loc: Northwest Florida
Originally Posted By: JeanetteIsabelle
Should I get a medical bracelet mentioning I have a generalized anxiety disorder?


No, unless for some reason you would not be able to explain that yourself during an acute anxiety episode.

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#186055 - 10/21/09 05:22 PM Re: Best way to clue EMTs to medical facts? [Re: Jeanette_Isabelle]
JohnE Offline
Addict

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 601
Loc: Southern Cal
I'm sure my EMS brethren will correct me but unless you're being treated by a military health care provider , no one is gonna believe that your blood type is XYZ, without typing it, nor will you be getting any blood products in the field anyway so I wouldn't bother putting that info on any sort of medic alert tag.

As for what to put on there, if you suffer from any sort of ailment that can/could leave you unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate, if you're allergic to any common medicines, if you are taking any prescription meds that could put you into a coma or unable to communicate, if you suffer from epilepsy, autism, parkinsons, hemophilia, cancer, asthma, hypertension, latex or any food allergies.

Lorazepam/Ativan is being used to treat seizures by EMS personnel. If you're taking it regularly already, I'd get a tag that stated this. Might theoretically stop an overdose in a worst case scenario. You don't need to spell out why you take it.


Edited by JohnE (10/21/09 05:58 PM)
_________________________
JohnE

"and all the lousy little poets
comin round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson"

The Future/Leonard Cohen


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