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Prepare to Defend Yourself ... How to Navigate the Healthcare System and Escape with Your Life

Matthew Minson

Publication Year: 2014

Do you really need to pay that outstanding balance with the hospital? Do you know the differences between a nurse practitioner, a physician’s assistant, a physician, and a paramedic? Did you realize that not all hospitals can treat your stroke, heart attack, or trauma with equal speed and effectiveness? How should you negotiate and appeal a hospital charge? Can you do anything to minimize the medical mistakes that your provider might commit?

In Prepare to Defend Yourself . . . How to Navigate the Healthcare System and Escape with Your Life, Matthew Minson, a physician and disaster medicine and healthcare policy expert, pulls back the examination room curtain on the healthcare system, empowering patients and their families to become proactive and knowledgeable users of medical services. Written in a humorous, patient-friendly style and loaded with the author’s cartoons and other visual aids, this essential consumer’s guide to modern healthcare provides down-to-earth, accurate advice that any reader can use, whether preparing for surgery, dialing 911, or simply getting a prescription filled.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Front Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. 1-7

What follows is 100 percent true. I have changed the names, but the names are important, because the experience, sadly, is too common. You can call what I experienced by any number of names: sudden enlightenment, an epiphany, a...

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Chapter 1. The Language of Medicine: Sit, Stay, Diagnose!

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pp. 8-25

Before I get too far into the specifics of self-empowerment in the system, I think it’s helpful to begin with a brief history of medicine. Now, I can already see your eyelids starting to get heavy, but indulge me here. Knowing how the system got like this helps a lot...

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Chapter 2. Medical Professionals: You Can't Tell the Players without a Program

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pp. 26-46

It has been famously said that “there is no place you can’t go with a clipboard and a confident wave.” If someone is wearing a uniform or carrying the accoutrements of authority, we tend to accept that the person is in authority. Put that in the hospital setting, and factor in that you...

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Chapter 3. Ambulances: You Wanna Go where Everybody Knows Your Number

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pp. 47-66

In the United States it’s a pretty good bet that almost all of us have a somewhat similar expectation when we say, “Get me an ambulance” or “Call 911.” It’s almost like someone saying “I’m in love!” We all recognize the words and what they mean in concept, but the differences in...

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Chapter 4. Hospitals: What You Really Need to Know before You Gotta Go

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pp. 67-88

In the last chapter we used the fictional depiction of a pet wolverine attack to describe the access and particulars of the prehospital care system. As important as it is to know how and when to use EMS to your greatest and most efficient advantage, it is at the hospital that the...

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Chapter 5. The Admission: You Are Going In! You Are Going In!

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pp. 89-115

So, you have recovered from your wolverine attack, survived the traumatic entry into the OLPCHS, and made it back home, but now something else has come up. You have seen your primary-care physician or the PA or the ANP and it has been determined something...

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Chapter 6. About Drugs: The Dosage Makes It Either a Poison or a Remedy

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pp. 116-157

The quotation used in the chapter subtitle is attributed to Paracelsus, the German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist, who is also said to have first described medicine as an art rather than just a science. He believed...

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Chapter 7. Medical Mistakes: To Err Is Human, but You Still Need a Lawyer

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pp. 158-172

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the preponderance of medical mistakes and the danger to the public. The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM; part of the National Academy of Sciences) seminal study of preventable medical errors in 2004 estimated...

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Chapter 8. The Business of Medicine: The Best Things in Life Are Free, but I Still Need Your Co-pay

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pp. 173-189

Most people go into medicine because they want to help people. It’s a noble principle and speaks well of their motivation. In order to do this, they study the intricacies and mysteries of the human body, the pathologies that assail it...

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Chapter 9. The Future: How Foggy Is My Crystal Ball?

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pp. 190-204

This may well be the most politically charged chapter of the book, and there are not a lot of “What You Can Do” sections. That will be up to you. The truth, as you have guessed, is that I have a fairly pessimistic view of the direction of medicine in the twenty-first...


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pp. 205-214


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pp. 215-221

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781623491628
E-ISBN-10: 1623491622
Print-ISBN-13: 9781623491154

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2014