Why Patient Autonomy Is Critical To Good Health Care

Val Jones, MD

The post below originally ran on Better Health on February 24th.

Many of the patients that I treat have brain injuries. Whether caused by a stroke, car accident, fall, or drug overdose, their rehab course has taught me one thing: nobody likes to be forced to do things against their will. Even the most devastated brains seem to remain dimly aware of their loss of independence and buck against it. Sadly, the hospital environment is designed for staff convenience, not patient autonomy.

In the course of one of my recent days, I witnessed a few patient-staff exchanges that sent me a clear message. First was a young man with a severe brain injury who was admitted from an outside hospital. EMS had placed him in a straight jacket to control his behavior on his trip and by the time I met him, he was in a total panic. Sweating, thrashing, at risk for self harm. He didn’t have the ability to understand fully what was happening but one thing he knew – he was being restrained against his will. The staff rushed to give him a large dose of intramuscular Ativan, but I had a feeling that he would calm down naturally if we got him into a quiet room with dim lights and a mattress with wall padding set up on the floor. (more…)

From Silos to Synergy: Creating Community Conversation

mary ellenThe Women Who Serve weekly blog is a visionary opportunity for civilians and service members and veterans to commune…to talk and listen together with profound intensity, rapport, intimacy and vulnerability.  We shall share an interchange of ideas and reflections, challenges and needs, those that are tangible and intangible as well as presenting action based solutions.  We are excited about the paradigm-shifting conversations we are entering into, where awareness is raised about military women’s experiences through eras and generations of peace and wartime.

I am an insider/outsider- the mother of a GWOT three-time deployed OIF Marine.  The language of the military is one of the obstacles civilians encounter. Let’s try this again:  I am the mother of a Global War on Terror (GWOT) post 9/11 veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) for two deployments as well as a tour in the Philippines.  In these blogs, we will do our best to be informative about military culture and its acronyms. (more…)

Meet Melissa: An innovative, entrepreneurial woman-on-a-mission

Glenna Crooks

Here I go again, introducing you to another innovative, entrepreneurial woman-on-a-mission. Although we both worked in the biopharmaceutical sector and I consulted for her company, I did not meet Melissa Toler until she’d left to pursue her passion.

Melissa Toler Photo for BlogMelissa, you’ve had an interesting path. Given your PharmD degree and the many options that created for you as a career woman, what spurred the transition to your current work?

I went to pharmacy school as a “consolation prize” for my parents, who wanted me to be a doctor. I knew I didn’t want to spend eight years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to do something that didn’t light me up. My pharmacy education seemed like the next best thing.

Since pharmacy school, I’d had visions of working in a corporate setting…hospital and retail pharmacy weren’t for me. Once I got a taste of life in the pharmaceutical industry, I LOVED IT. There were so many opportunities for pharmacists. However, as the years went on, there was a nagging voice inside that was telling me “there was something else.” (more…)

Rare Disease Day: Bringing People Living with a Rare Disease out of the Shadows and into the Spotlight

Today is Rare Disease Day. To help raise awareness among the public and decision-makers about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives we are posting the video below.

February Man of the Month: Dr. Louis Sullivan

sullivan.louiswTo celebrate Black History Month we are honoring Dr. Louis Wade Sullivan as our February Man of the Month. He is an active health policy leader, minority health advocate, author, physician, and educator. Dr. Sullivan served as Secretary of Health and Human Services from 1989 to 1993 during President George H. W. Bush‘s Administration and was Founding Dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine. (more…)

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