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June 16, 2008

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Let me tell you from my personal experience.

My husbands suffers Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and I know first hand how frustrating the search for appropriate and adequate medical care could be.

If you get a serious medical condition (God forbid!) you just can't educate yourself enough.

Fist, look for a local and/or national support group for your condition. You can learn from people who suffer the same illness about the right tests, the most helpful medications and the best specialists nationwide or locally.

Don't waste your time by going from doctor to doctor until you get further damages from doctors who are inexperienced but arrogantly wouldn't admit it. Save yourself from unnecessary painful and costly procedures and trail-and-error treatments. If you got a serious medical condition, you don't have time or money to waste.

My advice, channel your anger and frustration into a productive energy. Take charge because nobody will care more than you and your family about your suffering.

Get on line and ask, ask and then ask again those who went there before you, people who already went through this. Most medical conditions now have support groups. Do the search.

Find doctors who are real experts. They usually have published articles on whatever your illness is in medical journals. You can call or e-mail them and you will usually hear back from them or their staff.

Most importantly, learn to smell and avoid enterprising doctors. Enterprising doctors are driven pretty much by their profits and would do anything to maximize their bottom line, with little regard for real needs of their patients.

Whatever you do, stay positive. There is no advantage of being negative or giving up. Learn from any experience in life no matter how harsh it might be.. Do the best you can every day. And.. remember you are in charge of everything that happens to you.

All four of your points are right on. As a hospital administrator I've dealt with all four however I'm going to strongly agree with your second point that, "Many Americans equate 'more healthcare' with 'better healthcare', but this isn't necessarily true." I’m amazed at how many complaints I've address where their was a perceived lack of care. They want more tests. In my experience about 98% of the patients were treated appropriately. However, I can understand where they are coming from. When my daughter fell from our deck I wanted her to have a CT to make sure she didn’t have a concussion. As Americans we want it yesterday and we don’t like to be told no.

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