Does your health history help or hinder proper diagnosis and treatment following brain injury, stroke, brain dysfunctions, injuries or any type of illness? I refer to illness as both physical and mental. Either way, these are health conditions that should be treated without prejudice, but they are not. It is assumed that giving an accurate health history helps, and it should. However, biases may come into play and prevent the proper treatment. As a result patients and families suffer immensely without proper treatment.
Most nurses will agree that during report at change of every shift the patient’s health history is given. Unfortunately, many nurses make negative comments as they listen to these reports. It’s slanderous and not helpful to the patient. They have no idea how hurtful this is to the patient. These comments are based upon their perceptions and their life experiences, and not the patient’s. These biases can be passed down to other healthcare professionals caring for this patient. It’s a ripple effect.
How often have we heard of people suffering repeated concussions throughout the years and they suffered symptoms from mild to severe? Some symptoms lingered, others totally cleared, and yet many became permanent. Obviously these problems were ignored. Otherwise, all the media-hype would not be relatively new to the TBI community and professionals.
Symptoms have been and continue to be labeled as: “neurotic”; “malingering”; “hypochondriac”; “head-case”; “mental-illness”; and others to name just a few. What are the chances that you will be seen by a healthcare professional well-versed and educated with the time to connect all the dots from your health history? Likely, you won’t! It’s about money and time management.
These professionals are far and few between given the size of this world, lack of education and understanding, and the time constraints on healthcare professionals. How can we enhance our well-being by preparing ourselves and families to get the most out of healthcare? You or a trusted friend or family member better connect the dots yourself. You need to seek healthcare with the answers already in hand, and then you might still be labeled.
Here is only one example of what happens within our healthcare system. Think about this….it could be you (may be it already has been)!
Health history includes: carbon monoxide poisoning age 10; assault back of head age 16; head-on motor vehicle accident age 32. No permanent known deficits with full recovery after each event. Owing the recovery to the strength of that individual as a person.
What would a healthcare professional expect when they hear this history? Maybe a lunatic? Maybe a nut-case? Just disbelief? Ah…the bias has just begun!
People live through these types of events all the time. Remember everyone wasn’t sheltered throughout their lives. People not only survive these obstacles and challenges, but they also excel and become successful citizens, well-educated, healthy and happy. It could be that person sitting next to you today, standing in a line with you, or it might be your friend or relative.
So this person is working full-time as a nurse. Ah…another red flag! It must be conversion-reaction! After all, the medical books point that this is frequently found in nurses. As though anyone would spend 8 years at university, studying diligently, and spending an insurmountable financial burden to think up symptoms! Think again. That’s an entirely different diagnosis and it’s not even part of this scenario, but it easily can for some.
Even if the diagnosis does not fit…they will make it fit! Maybe it’s the “God Syndrome”, where healthcare professionals believe they know it all, and forget to listen…some just think they are God. They make the diagnosis fit at whatever cost to the patient.
Stepping off a curb while taking a walk and fell onto concrete. Dislocating the right shoulder and injuring right knee. Went to ER since couldn’t go to work. Because the injury was on the right side it was assumed to be a “stroke” according to doctors. No one heard this patient say: “I injured my right shoulder and my right knee when I fell” even though it was clearly stated. It just wasn’t heard, they already had a diagnosis in mind. No one looked at the injured right leg or injured right arm.
The physicians kept assessing their diagnosis of a stroke by coming in and lifting up the arm and dropping it and doing the same to leg. Ever know what it’s like to have a dislocated shoulder and have someone do that? A fractured knee and have someone drop your leg? How much further injury could that cause? Most likely significant injury will occur. Ten years later successful surgery corrected the badly torn shoulder.
In this case instead of listening to what the patient and husband was saying one was admitted to neurology unit and never once treated injuries. Was it a surprise that an MRI of brain didn’t reveal a stroke? NO! Conversion reaction? NO. Physicians, “God Syndrome”, YES! This patient was also told “this happens to your patients, not you”. Ridiculous, every nurse has a history too!
So think before you reveal a health history? Do you really believe it will help you? This nurse did. Will it hurt you? One never thought it would. That judgment call is up to you. You should trust your doctor, but trust yourself first!
Everyone would like to believe that giving an accurate health history would help with timely and proper diagnosis and treatment plan. In reality, does it help or hurt us? If it helps so much, why are we so far behind on understanding brain injury, neurological diseases and injury, illnesses?
We would all like to believe it only helps to give your health history. In some cases it does help. In others, it may hurt. It’s a possibility that it will be a hinderance hence, the real problem can be ignored. Think about what you reveal. Prejudice does happen in your healthcare.
- Adult health history example (arlenhammond.typepad.com)
- What patients think is not trivial (kevinmd.com)
- Comprehensive family health history questions (nicholasappel.typepad.com)
- Sample complete health history (isaiahhobbs.typepad.com)
- Narrative nursing health history (tobyraynor.typepad.com)
- Example of nursing health history format (melvynbergeron.typepad.com)