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The NSPA Blog

Patient Advocacy and Medical Devices

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Posted on April 20th, 2013 by Guest Blogger, under Medical Devices, Patient Advocacy

North Shore Patient AdvocatesEach year, the number of medical devices available to patients increases. While this gives patients more health care options, it also increases the number of complications caused by these devices.

It is important to be an informed consumer, and sometimes it can be difficult for patients to gather all the resources they need on their own. Patient advocates are people who look out for a patient’s best interests, and help them gather information to make the best choices when it comes to health care options like medical devices.

For example, not all implants are as safe as others. Hip implants like the DePuy ASR caused a number of complications requiring additional surgeries. Also, thousands of women had transvaginal mesh implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse or incontinence without knowing the risks of these implants. Later, the mesh caused severe complications that required multiple surgeries.

Many patients who received these devices were never told what kind of implant was placed in their bodies. An advocate can help make sure patients are always informed about every aspect of treatment, including the type of medical device that will be implanted, what to expect during a surgical procedure and how to seek a second opinion if needed.

If there are complications, advocates can help with developing a treatment plan for recovery. It can be difficult to make the right decisions when under stress and dealing with medical problems. It helps to have a reliable advocate to help figure out health insurance coverage and communicate with doctors. When it comes to important health care decisions, having an advocate for support can make a big difference in the care patients receive.

Michelle Y. Llamas is a content writer for Drugwatch. She educates the public about dangerous drugs and medical devices. 

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