People find themselves in such a tailspin once given medical news that is, or can be, of concern… and rightly so. You have no idea what to do first. Generally what we’ve seen, as well as what we did ourselves; you listen to the Doctors and go home to try to digest what you were told. So once you’re home and you begin to go through all of the emotions – in between the tears and the worry – you feel like there is something you should be doing. Maybe you don’t, maybe you (feel what I spoke of in my last entry and) trust what you’ve been told. Either way, here is my suggestion to anyone that receives a medical diagnosis of any sort:
Before you leave the hospital, it is critical that you understand your rights to your Medical Information. You should ask for an Authorization for Release of Medical Information. You need to complete that form immediately and when it asks you for the “Type of Records or Information Requested” complete the paperwork with all tests, reports, records and scans related to your situation. Complete the paperwork with ALL dates related to your situation. Walk the completed form to the Records Department before you leave the hospital. Turn it in and ask for copies to be ready within 48 hours. Ask for 3 copies of everything. Be sure you are getting copies of the disks of your scans and not just the Radiologist’s Report. GET 3 COPIES. You have the right to as many copies as you want (fees may apply).
Once you have done this and have this information in your hands, you will feel more in control. You will be on your way to owning your treatment, your health, your future. You will keep 1 copy of this information with you at all times. You will have it with you at every appointment you go to. Get a binder, get organized. The other copies will be used to send to the Specialists or other Medical Centers for 2nd and 3rd opinions. Remember, you will challenge your Doctor, you will seek clarity, you will ask for the statistics to validate what you are being told and you will double and possibly triple check the accuracy of it. You will own your situation.
Get copies of everything as quickly as you are told of your situation; this is “what you do first”.