In this series we show you the importance of being your own advocate when it comes to your health and the many ways you can prevent common medical errors.

Why should you take charge?

Medical errors are considered the third leading cause of death in the United States. The American Association for Justice estimates that 440,000 errors resulting in death occur each year. We’ve learned a thing or two after handling medical malpractice cases for more than 30 years. We’ve learned that while medicine is complex, errors often can be prevented in simple, common sense ways. When you take charge of your own medical information you can actually decrease the odds it will happen to you.

Advocacy Series Highlight: The “Me First Decade”

2020 is finally here! For many of us, a new year signifies a fresh start; an opportunity to reflect and establish goals for bettering ourselves. Despite the negative stereotypes, having new year’s resolutions can be very helpful! These aspirations are sometimes health-related, like exercising more and losing weight. Here at Scartelli Olszewski, we think you should think BIGGER than the new year and plan for the decade! Just think how fast the last one went by!

We thought about 2 things: a frame of mind and a course of action. The goal is to become your healthiest, happiest and most productive self. Call it the “Me first decade.” (MFD) At first blush it sounds selfish, but to those of us who are the “givers” in all our relationships it’s really rather unselfish because we learned the hard way that we serve others best by being strong and healthy. The MFD is a way for you NOT TO FORGET about YOU along the way.

So here it goes in the ME FIRST DECADE:

  • Just ask. When running an errand for someone, scheduling an appointment or lending someone a hand think about if there is something however small that you can ask them to do for YOU! You may find they are eager to help! Studies show there are health benefits associated with giving, such as lowering blood pressure, increased self esteem, less depression, etc. THEY will benefit by helping you! So it’s a WIN WIN all the way around!
  • Try to do 1 thing each day purely for your mental or physical maintenance! Think of it this way, we put gas in our car, heat in our homes, food in the fridge and chances are we are very selective about what we buy. We need to think of our selves as a vessel that needs maintenance like everything else. Ask “what did I do to maintain myself today?” Start small. It could be as small as sitting on the front porch for 5 minutes of deep breathing.
  • Give YOUR doctor work. They get paid to help YOU. Make the appointment and bring a ME notebook, folder or binder. At your doctor visit have the staff make copies of your labs, radiology and test reports. Web portals may not make these available to you. Compare the next round of labs with the last one and ask your doctor about the High and Low symbols on labs and any test result that is not completely negative. Diary when you need your next test such as Colonoscopy, mammogram, and annual GYN appointment. Take charge.
  • What makes you laugh? How great is it to have a good laugh? When was the last time you had a good laugh? Find something each day to make you laugh or at the very least chuckle.
  • BUY A TOY. Everyone needs a toy to play with. Someone once said the only difference between adults and children is the price and size of their toys. But how many of us REALLY have a toy, ie a kite, drone,  electric motor boat, pin ball machine, archery set….. Get something.

So get to it!!!!! This is your decade!