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  • Writer's pictureSaundra Smyrski

The 1/2 Truth

Plain and simple. If something doesn't seem right. Declare it wrong until proven otherwise. Negligent healthcare "professionals" prey on the fact that your vision of their "superiority" will keep you quiet.

True story: I was working in Neuro ICU. My patient was a man in his 60's, on a ventilator, for an array of neurological complexities. The daughter was bedside. She was upset, as to be expected, but her anguish went beyond her father's current medical condition. She explained to me, "I just feel they are missing something. I know I have asked time and time again for them to do more XRAYS (obviously the diagnostics ran were not XRAYS) but I still feel like they are missing something."

One of my favorite parts of what I do, as a nurse, is to advocate for my patients and their families. Truth is... Physician's speak a certain language and if you so eloquently and elaboratively and flamboyantly try to "get your point across" to them... it's going to be received like Spanish to a German.

No matter what language you speak, there is one thing I inform almost each and every one of the patients/families I serve...

"WE, as healthcare providers, MAY KNOW MORE, but YOU, as the patient and their loved ones, KNOW BEST."

I helped encourage her to stand her ground and speak up, even if her voice was shaky. She requested further imaging be done, which through gritted teeth and several griping words (which thankfully she'll never know) the intensivist ordered, and.... BINGO!!!! Dx: Brain Aneurysm!

I joked with her, "I've never seen someone so happy to be told their loved one had an aneurysm." She looked at me, tears rolling down her face, gave me the biggest hug, and the most heartfelt "Thank you" I'll remember forever!

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