UPDATE: How Far Should You Take Patient Advocacy
Last week I asked “How far should you take advocacy“. Everyone had a lot of great opinions and advice for all of us. A few more questions were raised about how to advocate for ourselves. This is a learning process, I think. Here’s an update regarding my story as it pertained to the advocacy post:
I left word with Mink Radiology’s CEO, Dr. Mink regarding one of his technicians not using sterile gloves while administering an IV during a procedure. while waiting to hear back, Melissa suggested I take an educational approach. Joanna suggested that I report Mink Radiology to the American College of Radiology. I’m very glad I took their advice. When Dr. Mink called back, my goal was to be non-confrontational, non-emotional and explain the facts, as well as address my health concerns.
I appreciated the call back and receptivity to discussion. We didn’t see eye to eye on a few things, while we did on others. Other points require further research on my part. The highlights were:
From Dr. Mink
- Technicians/Nurses, anyone doing blood draws don’t need to use sterile gloves as long as they swab your arm (with a cleaning agent). Sterile gloves are only used by surgeons.
- It’s stupid for technicians/nurses NOT to wear gloves because they are more at risk than we (patients) are.
- 50% of our staff use gloves and others don’t
- The technician who didn’t use gloves with me was admonished
- Sterile gloves are expensive
- You’re saying there’s no need for sterile gloves when drawing blood are inserting an IV? Among other things, this got me to thinking about the types of gloves that nurses and technicians use. I’m still researching this, but I found two things so far, here and here.
- There was a lot of blood pouring out of my veins while the IV was being inserted. I’m concerned about my health and what I might have been exposed to.
- I’ve never had a procedure involving a blood draw or an IV where the administer wasn’t wearing gloves, surely you can appreciate my concern?
- I had a great experience at your facility, everyone was informative, professional and welcoming until we got to the IV portion of my visit.
In the end, I thanked him for his time because I appreciated that he took the time to speak with me. I thanked him for having a great facility. I expressed hope that all of his technicians would use gloves when administering IVs.
I don’t know if we left things on a sour note or not. I’m not sure about my thoughts regarding all of his comments, considering some of them didn’t make sense, while others did.
The point is that I advocated for myself, something all of us need to do in every situation. In my opinion, it’s not about being combative or threatening. Rather, it’s about, as Melissa said, education, and what I said, awareness. Going forward, the lesson for me was to ask any technician or nurse doing any procedure involving entering my body, to ask them to wear gloves. Additionally, to to do my due diligence and find out more about what Dr. Mink said with respect to the types of gloves worn by technicians and nurses.
In my opinion, even if the doctor or nurse, or whomever isn’t pleased with our questions, too bad. Our goal, not to be repetitive should be to assert ourselves in a professional, non-emotional way. Any time that we can express our concerns without making someone feel defensive, the more receptive they might be.
What are your thoughts? What insights would you care to impart?