Charlotte Ramberg, LPC
Who is the consumer?
When it comes to the retail or food industry, it's pretty easy for us to identify who is the customer or consumer. It's the person(s) who is buying the items or food, right? I think because of our society's traditional view of medical field professionals (i.e. nurses and mainly doctors) the consumer role can become easily forgotten. America's traditional view of doctors is prestigious. Rightfully so (to some degree) because their jobs require a ton of schooling, board exams, and residency. Side note: therapists could be included in this category! Here's the thing, though, no matter how much education a person receives they are not the expert of your body. Expertise does not mean they now own consent over your body or mind. Sadly, I think this blind allegiance happens far too much in the medical field because we have never really done things differently. We assume that medical professionals know best due to their training and have our best interest in mind. This isn't always the case though.
You are the customer or consumer within the medical field and therapy realm. If you bought something that was broken or you didn't like the way it fit, would you not return it or at least exchange it? While you may not be able to return a medical procedure or therapy session, you can change providers! You can also report negligent or unethical behaviors. Or, even something as simple as a second opinion.
Doctors, nursers, therapists, psychiatrists, etc. are not all knowing and we make mistakes. This is a reminder that people in the medical field are human, and you are the expert on your own body/mind. You are the consumer and you have options. You are important, and what you want or think is best is also important. Ultimately, you make the final decision Please remember to make decisions based on what you feel comfortable with and what you think is right for you based on the information provided and research. Of course, take into consideration their medical advise because they went to school for this, but do your own research as well. If something doesn't feel right or if their values may not align with yours (ex- surgery or exploring another option) then go shopping!
Another big issue within this topic is patient abuse because medical professionals are seen to be up on some sort of pedestal. Again, expertise is not consent. When abuse or neglect occur in the medical or therapeutic world, it is extremely important to report this behavior to the appropriate board or governing body. Even law enforcement if necessary.
It's time to stop protecting professionals and standing up for patient/client rights.