By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb

After several years of navigating the healthcare system on behalf of loved ones, I am weary.


Along the way I have encountered quality and dedicated individuals. Yet, more often than not it has been an uphill struggle to have things done as they should be, in the best interest of the patient and in accordance with the wishes of the patient and family. Overall, it has been stressful and draining.


Just a few weeks ago, my sisters and I arrived at a Connecticut hospital where our brother had been transferred for surgery to be told they had no record of him. Imagine that moment and the mounting stress level as we stood waiting. After numerous calls and what seemed like an eternity, he was located.  Little did we know at the time, that episode would be the tip of the iceberg.


We have tried to approach each circumstance hoping for the best. To some degree you are at these people’s mercy – when quite literally your life is in their hands. Inevitably though we have been confronted with situations that required us to speak up and have done so in a civilized manner coupled with necessitated persistence.


It comes at a cost – time invested in research and preparation, readying and bracing yourself for these folks to come at you, countless hours of calls, more calls and conferences. Not to mention being on the receiving end of icy stares, cold shoulders, dirty looks and snippy remarks. For as much progress as we have made as a society, the truth of it is that assertive men are viewed in a positive light and assertive women are still labelled – well, we’ll just say (w)itches. Compounding the frustration of all of this, is that the struggles would not be needed if these folks did the right thing to begin with – including treating the patient and his/her family support team with respect.


My experience has been – it seems if you were to go along with everything as it is and accept without question what you are told, the road can be a whole lot easier. What that really can mean though, is either lowering your standards and, or, throwing in the towel – which could put your loved one in jeopardy.


The old adage “pick your battles” is all well and good. However, sometimes your battles pick you – especially when the well-being of a loved one is involved.


The bottom line is, you can be liked or you can speak up. It is a choice without a choice.