Jamie Gasser

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More rights for patients and their loved ones.

I feel, in my experience that patients opinions and their loved ones opinions have been lost in the process of diagnosing and treating a disease or illness. An example. My mother had been sick for 3 years. And was constantly misdiagnosed. I researched online numerous times trying to find an answer for what was going on with my mother. I would bring it up to loads of different doctors. She was in and out of the hospital constantly. And every time I attempted to bring up something I felt in my opinion should be looked at. I was met with something like "Let me do my job." I felt like the doctors treated my mother and I as a third party in her healthcare. There ended up being a lot of things I was right about. And a lot of things they were wrong about. And now I'm left with countless "What if?" questions. "What if they would listened? Could there of been a different treatment?"

Things like this are plaguing my mind now after the passing of my mother on July 6th. So what this boils down to, is that I feel like the patients and the patients loved ones should be treated like human beings and heard when they have an opinion on their healthcare. And people told us to get second opinions. Not only did we get 2nd. We got 3rd, 4th, 5th and so on. And always got the same answer. And in the end they were all incorrect. So I am trying to get at the root of the problem I've seen from personal experience. Is that I feel the patient should be an essential tool in their healthcare. And so should their family. Not looked at as uneducated, and unequipped to make any decisions. Because that is the way 20+ doctors made my mother and I feel in her remaining years. And that is very unfair. There is my two cents on this issue I feel is a big issue in today's society. Healthcare needs to become less mainframe and more personal.

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      Aug 2 2011: Thank you Kate. I have tried to think from the doctors point of view. And understand the notion that family may be a bit dramatic and cause more of an issue. Rather then helping the problem. So I completely understand that. But there is a difference between a histerical patient or loved one and a educated patient or loved one. And most people could tell the difference between the two. A big reason we did not seek help from other hospitals is we lived literally 3 minutes from our hospital. All the other "good" hospitals were 45mins-2hrs away. And we could not afford the gas money to be hauling back and forth everyday to see our mother. My brother Jason and I traded 24 hours shifts being in the hospital for my mother for 3 years. And she was in the hospital every 2 months. So we could not afford the gas required to be with her the way we felt we needed to.

      I just want people to know, that you should speak out for what you believe. And don't give up if you get shot down like my mother and I did numerous times. Made to feel stupid. I am personally going to college this coming fall to be a Respiratory Care Specialist. Because I want to do what I can to help things like this from happening. And I will make the promise to put the patients first and always listen to what they have to say and take it to heart. Because everyone deserves to be heard whatever their education level may be. It's their life. Let them have a say!

      But thanks again Kate. I do understand and have put myself in the doctors shoes. Listening to a loved one try to diagnose something would be difficult to take seriously. But it should be taken seriously. And that is what I'm getting at in all this.
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    Aug 3 2011: I understand exactly what you are saying Jamie. When you are going through these traumatic times it would be really helpful if the doctors communicated better. But it seems that today they are almost taught to disconnect from their patients and you would be very fortunate to find an empathetic doctor. I am so glad that you have decided to become a Respiratory Care Specialist I am confident that you cwill make a difference to all your patients.
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      Aug 3 2011: Thank you Alexandra. It just never seemed like my mother and I could find the right doctor. Mostly because of the hectic hospital visits. It seemed like she had a new doctor every separate day she was in the hospital. So we could never form a real connection and they would pass us from person to person.

      I know that I am going to make a difference because I have gone through this. Anything anyone has to say or ask is going to be of the utmost importance to me. So I am thankful for going through this in a sense. But I do hate to think that people everywhere are being ignored or neglected in their biggest time of need.

      - Jamie
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    Aug 2 2011: Rights like what? Please give examples
    Right to refuse treatment?
    Right to seek a second opinion?

    You say you want patients and families to be heard, what do you mean by that? Of course you have a right to seek holistic treatments, I'm not so sure a patient should have the right to prescribe a narcotic pain killer to themselves.
    You certainly seem upset about something, elaborate.
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      Aug 2 2011: Sorry I was not elaborate. I am talking more towards personal experience with my mothers illness. She had been misdiagnosed for years with many different doctors. I had personally given opinions to these doctors of what I thought it may be, after doing research online. And got responses such as "Let me do my job." When in fact it later came out that I was correct with certain things that the doctors did not look into or didn't even consider. So what I am getting at is with atleast 20 different doctors at the hospital my mom spent 3 years in and out of. I was never heard when speaking my opinion. They talked to my mother and I as if we were a third party. We were not able to be involved with the process. And in the end, my mother recently passed away July 6th. Of interstitial lung disease. Which was one of the things I brought up to the doctors in 2009. And was quickly met with an answer of "This does not match interstitial lung disease." And we got many second opinions on her overall health situation. And the answer was always "She has pneumonia." Everytime she was admitted to the hospital, every doctor said she had pneumonia. And in my research. Interstitial lung disease is often misdiagnosed with pneumonia because it is an inflammation of the lung. So what I'm getting to is that with 20+ doctors at this specific hospital, they all gave the same diagnosis. And I guess it just seems very unfair that everyone treated my mother, and her family as uneducated and unequipped to make any assumptions of her healthcare. When in fact, in the end I was correct on what her disease was for 2 years. And there was no treatment for it.