Handling a Medical Emergency

Mar 2017

I want to make my readers aware that the column posted and printed in Sunday’s Observer titled “Communication important in these divisive times” under my byline and photo was not my column. The column was the work of another author with the same last name and the Observer inadvertently used my name and photo. I want to clarify that it was not my work, and I am sorry about the confusion. ~ Rick Bloom

We all know that life is unpredictable and that an unexpected event can change our lives in so many different ways. I bring this up because one of those unpredictable events happened to me. For the last two weeks I unfortunately have been in the hospital. I had a medical emergency and as a result, I was rushed to the hospital where I spent the last couple of weeks. In that regard, I first want to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at the Henry Ford Hospital in West Bloomfield. Their professionalism, kindness and humanity helped me get back on my feet. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be in the hospital and my number one goal was to get out of the hospital as soon as I could. That being said, if you have to be in the hospital, Henry Ford West Bloomfield is a wonderful place to be.

This is the first time I’ve been a patient in a hospital in over 50 years. Even though I have been to the hospital numerous times over the years with friends and relatives, being a patient you tend to look at things from a different perspective. I thought I would share with you some of the things that I learned that will hopefully help you if you unfortunately find yourself in the hospital.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to have an advocate when you’re in the hospital. Someone who can help you deal with the bureaucracy of the hospital and our healthcare system if needed. All types of situations can occur when you’re in the hospital such as dealing with your health insurance company that you as a patient may not be able to handle. Having someone you can rely upon to handle these situations can be helpful.

For your advocate to potentially be as effective as possible it is important that they have the proper documentation to deal with the bureaucracy. That is why it is important that we all have up-to-date medical and durable powers of attorney. These documents allow someone to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so. If you did a medical and a durable power of attorney 10 years ago, they are out of date and you need to redo them. The bottom line: we never know when an emergency is going to happen and having up-to-date powers of attorney can be an invaluable tool for your advocate.

As a patient, it is important to remember that you have rights. If for whatever reason you don’t want a certain test or a certain procedure performed, you have the right to decline it. Of course, I’m not saying that you go against medical advice; however, many people think that for some reason when you’re in the hospital your rights are diminished; that is not the case. It is important to remember that as a patient you are in control and you have the right to make the decisions when it comes to your healthcare. If you’re unhappy with the quality of care that you’re receiving, you can check yourself out of the hospital and go to a different facility. The bottom line: you have rights and you’re in control.

We never know when an emergency will occur. That is why it is important to be prepared and to have things in place. Having the proper legal documents and knowing who you want to be your advocate is not going to solve your health issue; however, it can make handling your emergency a little easier on yourself which means that you can devote your efforts exactly where they should be, and that is to get better.

Good luck!

Rick is a fee-only financial advisor. His website is www.bloomassetmanagement.com. If you would like Rick to respond to your questions, please email him at Rick@bloomassetmanagement.com.