Being A Patient Advocate
Before my daughter was born, I was on TikTok and decided to follow several doulas. One of them had mentioned about when mothers go to the hospital that they should have someone with them to serve as a patient advocate. In some situations that would be the child's father who would be the advocate or someone else that the mother chooses to have present during the birth.
Advocate for Patient from Medical Staff
Patient advocate means that you are making sure that the medical staff are not making irrational decisions and asking questions that are not being asked about the treatment or care being provided. Often times, being on medication or the stress of being in the hospital means that the patient may not think clearly or ask the right questions when a new treatment is given.
There were several times when my wife was in the hospital that the next treatment or medication was being decided. In some of the instances, the next course of action made sense. In other times, it did not, which would then lead me to ask the questions that were not being asked by my wife.
Advocate for Patient from His/Herself
Almost a week after after our child was born, we were at home one evening and my wife wanted me to turn up the heat. Now the heat was set and had been set on 70 since we got home, so the fact that she was all of a sudden cold seemed odd. She insisted that it was cold in the house, but I told her that the thermostat had not changed and that the cold feeling that she was having was just her. Otherwise myself and the baby would be cold too. If the baby was cold, then she would have been crying.
After that exchange, wife goes and decides to take her blood pressure and it was high. Like 165/100 high. In addition, wife had developed gestational hypertension around week 36 of pregnancy and her OBGYN had placed her back on the hypertension medications two days prior to this. I told her that she needed to get that checked out cause that was not normal. She insisted that she did not want to go to the hospital and we went back and forth about it. Eventually she decided she would go to the hospital, and it was a good thing that she did.
After getting to the ER (emergency room) they took her blood pressure several times and eventually admitted her because her pressure was staying high. Following morning, baby and I visited her at the hospital. At that time she was receiving a magnesium drip via IV and other medications. Eventually the OBGYN doctor came in. He asked about what was going on. My wife shared about the blood pressure issues and what had transpired within the last 12 hours and that I (the husband) insisted that she go to the hospital despite her wishes.
Doctor said that it was good thing that she did come in because her blood pressure was too high. My wife had only remembered them taking the blood pressure once when she was in the ER, but they actually had taken it twice while she was there. The first time they took her pressure, it was over 210 systolic. The second time, it was around 180 systolic. Doctor went on to say that with it being that high, that had she not came to the hospital that she probably would have had a stroke at home, and possibly died, because the pressure was well within the stroke range. The doctor went on to thank me for being adamant about her going to the hospital because it saved her life.
After a number of other labs and testing her urine and finding unusual amounts of protein, an EKG was ordered. The EKG (electrocardiogram) and ultrasound of wife's heart, did show that there was an enlargment of one the heart's chambers (believe the right atrium), but nothing of major concern. After all of that the final diagnosis was that she had developed a postpartum preeclampsia.
I say all of that to say this... had I not insisted that she go to the hospital, the wife could have become another statistic that would have ignored the warning signs or not though much of preeclampsia, and as result been incapacitated or died.
Advocating for the patient from both the medical professionals and from themselves can be vital to prevent mistakes and personal decisions, resulting in consequences or death.