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Your medical records may be surprisingly precious

We have previously discussed how important it is to be an informed patient. Certainly, it is important to seek out qualified medical professionals and, at least to some extent, trust in their expertise. However, medical professionals are human and are ultimately prone to make mistakes and missteps. As a result, it is important to be an informed patient so that you place yourself in the best possible position to advocate on behalf of your own health and wellbeing.

One of the tools that you may find invaluable in your quest to remain an informed patient is your own medical records. By understanding your medical history and monitoring changes in blood work, scans, etc. over time, you may be able to spot important patterns that even your physician may miss.

The New York Times recently published a piece on this subject which profiled the story of a man named Steven. Steven was familiar with a brain scan he had taken several years ago which revealed a slight abnormality that was not a cause for worry but was indeed worth monitoring. Steven was proactive and began studying the subject of brain structure so that he could be more informed as his physicians continued to monitor his brain.

When he began smelling the scent of vinegar at odd moments, he questioned whether the abnormality located near his olfactory center could be inspiring smell seizures. After alerting his physicians and pushing for an M.R.I., his doctors located and removed a tumor as large as a tennis ball from Steven’s brain. Whenever you question the need to remain an informed patient and to familiarize yourself with your medical records, please keep this story in mind.

Source: New York Times, “The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records,” Steve Lohr, March 31, 2015

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