The Patients’ Bill of Responsibilities

by Susan H

1. I acknowledge and believe that I will die someday. Everyone I love will also die. That inevitable outcome will be factored into all my personal health care decisions.

2. I acknowledge that just because a paid professional might be found to assert that he would have performed differently under similar circumstances, doesn’t mean a doctor or nurse committed malpractice. Judges who are overturned on appeal ought to agree. Politicians who lose elections ought to agree. May my conscience prove a righteous guide, if ever I am tempted to seek money by suing a health care professional; health care is an occupation which does not enjoy the indemnity granted to the legal or political profession.

3. I have never knowingly abrogated my right to NOT sue. If a health care professional presents me with a novel, alternative malpractice event resolution scheme, I will trade my ‘right’ to unlimited pain-and-suffering damage award potential for access to good health care at a fair price.

4. I acknowledge that any self-destructive behavior will have the expected outcome: destruction of my self. I hope that I have the dignity of spirit to recognize uncompensated efforts to help me as acts of loving kindness.

5. I will attempt to maintain my medical information (data relevant to my health assessment) independently. If I don’t do so, I will recognize the necessity for prudent health care professionals to perform redundant studies.

6. I will educate myself about relevant physiology, disease processes, and pharmacology as they apply to my health care. I am aware of research resources available online or at libraries.

7. I acknowledge the relative value of health care provision: designer dresses or sports car tune-ups cost more than life-saving surgeons are reimbursed by Medicare. I acknowledge that medical professionals sacrificed a chunk of their youth, while their peer group was out of school earning money and having fun. I must question my value judgment if I choose to maintain my lifestyle while choosing not to pay for health care rendered.

8. I will understand the costs of my proposed health care beforehand. If insured, I will understand policy terms, and feel confident that amounts I can expect the insurer to reimburse my health care provider are adequate. If I am a cash payer, I must ascertain the costs of service before incurring bills which I could not afford to pay. I understand I have the alternative to attend medical school, and provide my own care.

9. I will attend town hall meetings, write my Congressperson, or practice other means of civil utterance which have impact, and muster as much passion in defense of decent work conditions for doctors and nurse as has been exhibited for benefit of for-profit health insurance companies.

10. I will behave responsibly toward my fellow humans. If I see a human suffering, I will try to help him. I will try to live my life with compassion and empathy in the hopes that at its end, I will not die in shame and regret.

Susan H is a regular reader.

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