Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Merle Hoffman on Book TV

She's a character. There's a Kindle version of her book, Intimate Wars,

and I'll likely read it. One of the more interesting aspects of the talk is her description of how her activism for reproductive rights has been linked to her medical activism - her work for patients' rights and "patient power." "Flushed with frustration after hearing yet another horror story from one of my patients in the counseling room," she writes,

I arranged for one of the counselors to stay with her while I rushed to my desk and started to write, my anger spilling out into my pen.

Patients have rights:

— The right to question your doctor.

— The right to know the background, affiliation, and training of your physician.

— The right to be advised of the reasons for medicines prescribed for you.

— The right to privacy in your consultations with your doctor and the right of confidentiality of records of your treatment.

— The right to the security and knowledge that the choice of treatments and what happens to your body is up to you.

— The right not to be intimidated by the props of medical power, i.e. fancy offices, big desks, and white coats.

— The right to regard physicians and the medical establishment as a vehicle, a resource for your own health needs.

— The right to know that rarely is there a single, unchanging medical truth. The right to be informed of current medical changes.

— The right to be assertive enough to ask what tests are being performed. Why? What do they cost? What other diagnostic choices do I have?

— The right to be in touch with options that offer divergent or philosophically different theories of treatment than the one that is being offered by your physician.

— The right to see your medical records at any time and the freedom to seek another opinion.

— Above all, the knowledge that the right of choice does exist and should be exercised.

There's an important intersection here, I think, with the psych rights movement.

Anyway, well worth watching (including the Q&A).

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