Stay Put: What do you do when the doctor rushes out and you did not have a chance to ask all your questions? Ira Byock, in his latest book, The Best Care Possible: A Physician’s Quest to Transform Care Through the End of Life says “If the doctor is rushed and leaves the exam room before answering these basic questions, stay put. They need the room and someone will come back to speak with you. If someone in the office gets annoyed, you needn’t raise your voice. If you wish, you have my permission to blame me. Tell them Dr. Byock said it would be unsafe to leave the office before clearly understanding these basic parts of the doctor’s plan for your mother’s care.”
Stay put. Good advice. Unsafe to leave: even better advice. So many people, my mother in law among them, are afraid to question the doctor and other medical staff: if I anger them then what will they do to my husband?
But the fact is most people want to give good care. They are harried by the pressure of modern medical business which says you must see 20 people a day, you must keep moving.
So it is up to you to keep your mother safe. If you are confused, muddling through cannot be good for either of you. Nor safe.
Byock’s advocacy mantra is “Be informed, prepared, polite, and persistent.” Polite and persistent. Sounds almost Zen: Don’t just go and do: stay put. But it is practical. And safe.