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THE BLOG

Why Would You Ignore Your Doctor's Orders?

It seems to me that if a person has refused to follow the suggestion of her medical professional, it ought to be a standard practice on the part of the doctor to learn why. Consulting with the individual, an alternative course of therapy might be the answer.
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Just recently I listened to someone asking her friend about why she was not following the advice given to her by her doctor while they were talking about some issue of treatment and it actually started me to thinking about those who do this. I understand that I have examined the recommendations and selections of a number of my doctors in the past, yet I have always discussed the matter to reach some sort of understanding or resolution to satisfy my questions. In one situation where there was no such resolution, I requested a referral to a different professional and that was the best answer for me. Yet, I could not justify ever totally disregarding a physician's orders. So why would an individual do something like this?

It appears that this often occurs when it involves medications. For some people who are on a set income and do not have prescription insurance, it may be a matter of spending their cash on medication, or food or paying the rent. So many drugs like the hormone replacement treatment advised for many breast cancer patients are very pricey and also unless there is some way in which a patient could get some kind of financial support or unless there is a generic choice, there is no way that this is a choice for them. Even if treatment involves over-the-counter medications, the cost might still be beyond a family's budget if the medicine is one that has to be taken on a daily basis.

Another reason an individual might reject a doctor's order is as a result of the lack of medical insurance. While the Affordable Care Act was created to offer a chance for every single American to have health care, the fact is that I know several individuals personally that are/were unable to afford this protection even with reduced or subsidized payments and still do not have insurance coverage. One of these individuals had to opt for no treatment in order to not destroy what was the small amount of financial savings that the family members did have. And he did not want his family to have a massive debt in order to cover the expenses for the treatments that the medical professionals had mapped out as the only practical alternative. And even then, there was no guarantee that the treatment would help. Therefore, he chose to pass on the treatment and passed away from his cancer within a couple of months.

Some people are additionally finding that they are not able to follow their physician's orders because of postponed insurance approvals or the lack of coverage regarding particular procedures or examinations. For those that are willing to take on the insurance companies and submit the necessary documents to lay out a case for recommended tests or procedures, this could be their only option. However, this is often a very long and also intensive process without any assurance that the result will create the outcomes for which one is hoping. I personally needed to send a justification, on one occasion, when the insurance company refused payment for a test that was initiated by my doctor and the insurance company sent me a bill for several thousands of dollars. Therefore, given that the test was done on the breast cancer mass that had been removed from me without my knowledge that this was being done, I was not held responsible. And most interesting to me, by figuring out the DNA of that cancer, a much less intrusive as well as a much less pricey course of treatment was launched.

It seems to me that if a person has refused to follow the suggestion of her medical professional, it ought to be a standard practice on the part of the doctor to learn why. Consulting with the individual, an alternative course of therapy might be the answer or if it is a monetary matter, the medical professional and/or his team may know of an organization that will be able to help the client with her treatments. There are patients who choose to continue their lives and their jobs and their keeping the households going until they are past the point of successful treatment since they don't see any other alternatives. My suggestion is that we all keep an eye on those that are closest to us so that if they need help, we may be able to find the assistance and support that they require before they sacrifice their life because they believe they have no choices. After all, it is the least we can do to help someone who is important to us.