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Looking after your health: Doing what you’re told isn’t always enough

I love this 2011 TEDTalk from ‘ePatient Dave‘. The talk is relevant for anyone with health issues, and especially anyone with complicated health issues that require more than one specialist.

Dave survived a diagnosis of terminal cancer largely because he decided to proactively participate in his own healthcare and treatment.

In Dave’s words ‘Patient is not a third person word. You yourself will find yourself in a hospital bed, or your mother, or a child … the most under-utilised resource in all of health care is the patient’ (around 1:20 minutes).

Dave didn’t rely on one diagnosis or one doctor or one hospital. He managed his own records, he sought out information from other patients with the same condition, he sought out recommended doctors and medications, and he is still here years after a terminal diagnosis.

The key here is not to stick your head in the sand. It is to engage with others who know what you need to know and who have experienced what you are experiencing. This is because ‘Patients know what patients want to know. It is the power of patient networks’ (around 10:00 minutes).

ePatient Dave’s lesson is clear. Be motivated, be informed, and then advocate for yourself.

Thanks to TEDTalks and YouTube for the video.