Trial and error in my quest to be a partner in my health care: a patient's story

Crit Care Nurs Clin North Am. 2002 Dec;14(4):391-9. doi: 10.1016/s0899-5885(02)00033-3.


A fearful stranger to the healthcare sector when she became a frequent user 2 years ago, Goeltz clearly is now a sophisticated and creative partner. She is fully engaged in decision-making and holds the decisions made as her own. Physicians often worry that their patients don't fully consent to the treatment given them because they don't fully understand the risks. This is often a factor in malpractice litigation. Goeltz's healers don't have that worry. When it comes to the complicated process of treatment, Goeltz doesn't take for granted that the system will operate optimally and holds herself accountable for doing what she can to deliver good outcomes for herself and her loved ones. She knows her active participation keeps the system safer. She challenges those she meets who want to discount her role and refuses to be treated by those who can't meet and adapt to those challenges. She has a lot to teach us all. The circumstances of my brother's death are what taught me the crucial importance of active participation in my own health care. The best tribute I can pay to him is to continue trying to show consumers and those in health care how they can partner with each other to truly improve safety. To those health care workers who are willing to work with me and put up with my challenging them from time to time, please accept my deepest gratitude. I would not be as healthy as I am today without you, and maybe I wouldn't even be alive. I know your jobs aren't easy, and you have earned my greatest respect.

MeSH terms

  • Anecdotes as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Thymoma / therapy*
  • Thymus Neoplasms / therapy*