November 2001

When to go the head of the line
Knowing when to be an assertive health care consumer can be a challenge.

Moira is 11 years old. One Sunday afternoon her belly hurt and she had a fever. It got worse during the night. In the morning, the pediatrician wanted to see her straight away.

After his examination, he said she probably had an appendicitis. Moira was immediately sent to the surgeon, but she was told to stop at the laboratory to get blood tests done first.

When she got to the lab there were 20 people ahead of her. Her mother told the receptionist that Moira's appendix may have ruptured and she needed the lab work done now. She was taken back immediately, had blood drawn, and then went to see the surgeon.

The surgeon sent Moira to the hospital and performed surgery within the hour. Moira's appendix had ruptured, but she eventually recovered.

How do we know when and not wait in line? We need to trust our judgment! Moira's mother said that she does not have trouble being assertive for her children. She is not as assertive for her own care.

If you are unsure, check with your health care provider. The telephone is a great tool to help us make decisions. When you call your provider, have a list of symptoms and questions ready.

What you really want to know is the acuity of your illness. Should you see a doctor immediately or can you wait. Call your health care provider and get the following questions answered:
  • What symptoms should I be concerned about?
  • When should I call you back?
  • When should I go to the emergency room?

Health Care Answers uses stories of real people trying to take care of their health. Tell us your story. The stories we use in our publications are from people like you. The purpose of these true stories is to help others learn how to use the medical system more effectively. Click here if you want to submit a story.

Check back next month for more Personal Stories.

Past Stories 2000

Past Stories 2001
January  |  February  |  March  |  April  |  May  |  June  |  July  |  August  |  September  |  October  |  November  |  December

Past Stories 2002
January  |  February  |  March  |  April  |  May  |  Summer  |  September  |  October  |  November  |  December

Past Stories 2003
Winter  |  Spring


Health Care Answers is a Minority Business Enterprise Certification Number DOT MBE 02-003, Federal Identification Number 52-2216087

We subscribe to the HONcode principles of the Health On the Net Foundation

We subscribe to the HONcode principles of the
Health On the Net Foundation
Last Updated May 2003
© October 2000 Health Care Answers   Funding Statement  |  Disclaimer  |  Privacy Policy