My greatest sympathies go out to the family of the individual who lost their life. It is still unknown what the exact cause of death was. When something tragic happens we need to find something important to learn from it so that the loss gives birth to renewed purpose.
We’ve learned to trust our health care providers and the drug companies; but sometimes even when we do our homework; and make informed choices, things go wrong.
There are risks associated with every therapy. A patients underlying conditions may play a part in these risks. How do we make informed decisions about our healthcare?
Speaking with your doctor and getting his or her opinion is; of course, the first and primary source of information you will receive. Your doctor knows your health history and makes an informed decision based on this information. Many people stop here.
Part of taking control of your health care is knowing what treatment options are available to you (see the page titled “medications and treatments” for some of the well known). When a diagnosis is presented for a disease such as Multiple Sclerosis where treatment will be on-going and expensive, it is advisable for patients to do their homework.
Once you’ve received your doctors opinion, visit the websites of the drug companies. Find out what side effects are possible with the drugs, find out what long term use can do, find out what financial assistance the company offers in continuing treatment if you should stop working. Find out what training is available if the medication is an injection. Find out if the drug will disrupt your daily routine. These are all important considerations when choosing your therapy. Your doctor may know what medication would work best for your health but may not realize your working and raising 3 kids; some of those therapies cause flu like symptoms, can you afford to be down?
Should you find a therapy that would suit your lifestyle better and would be comparable to the drug recommended by your doctor; talk to your doctor. Most doctors are willing to consider other alternatives based on reasonable considerations.
Some health care plans will not cover certain therapies so it is important to speak to your insurance representative as well as the doctor. Keep in mind, your doctors recommendation weighs heavily here to so talk to your doctor first. There are appeals boards with insurance companies if they deny your request. If all else fails, you can contact the drug company and explain your situation. They often have programs in place to help the uninsured or underinsured.
Fight for your health. Be your own advocate. Pay attention, do your research, create your own health file. Work with your doctor to create a plan that works best for you.