Advocacy, the Highest Form of Self Care

A little something happened last week that bears mentioning as a means to encourage, empower others to speak up on behalf of themselves because no one will EVER be as invested in your outcome as you are.

Advocacy is the highest form of self care.

On the day of my second home health visit, the first Tuesday I was home which also happened to be Day 9/14 of IV antibiotics leaving me with 5 more doses, the home health nurse arrived and announced that she was going to take the PICC, Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter, line out of my right arm.

I was quick and firm in telling her that there was a mistake because my therapy was scheduled through Monday at which point I would see Dr. Maloney and his IV nurse would remove the PICC line.

This nurse was as confident that she was right as I was that she was wrong, so I asked to see the doctor’s order. As a nurse, I would have expected a clear order from Dr. Maloney stating that the course of antibiotics was being shortened, thus the PICC line is no longer needed. Please remove on 11/21/2018 visit to the patient’s home. Signed AND dated by Maloney.

Instead, I was shown an order dated 11/16/2018 that stated in the nursing notes ‘D/C on 11/16/2018’, the date I was discharged from the hospital. I explained this to her along with the fact that I had 5 doses yet to be given, and she promptly told me that I could refuse the removal at my own risk.

She would document that I was noncompliant with the plan of care potentially leading my insurance company to deny the remainder of my antibiotic therapy. Confident that I was correct and Dr. Maloney would have my back, I refused to allow her to pull it; I did permit her to changes the dressing.

Funny thing: it turns out that I was correct, and had I permitted her to remove the line, I would have ended up back in the hospital having another line placed to complete my course and ensure the blood infection was effectively treated.

I spoke up on my own behalf and I saved myself a lot of grief, my insurance company, a lot of money, and that nurse, disciplinary action, if not her job.

It’s not an easy thing to confront a healthcare provider with information that varies so greatly from what he/she is telling you, but you MUST for your safety and wellbeing.

Medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in hospitals in the United States.

I didn’t relent; however, many would have.

Remember if you don’t speak up on your own behalf, then who will?!

You are, or can become, your own best and strongest advocate!


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