The Take-Charge Patient
Martine Ehrenclou, M.A
Lemon Grove Press, LLC (2012)
ISBN 9780981524030
Reviewed by Amy Lignor from Feathered Quill Book Reveiws (July 19, 2012)

Knowing that this author’s first book, Critical Conditions, was a true ‘must-read,’ it is no surprise that this second offering is a necessity that will seriously help anyone and everyone who is tired and frustrated (and more than a little frightened) with the medical care that they are receiving in this country today.

Even with the best doctors by their side, the treatment and care being given patients in hospitals, doctor’s offices and nursing homes can vary greatly and sometimes it can be quite bad. The constant fight between private healthcare and national healthcare has been fought for decades, yet the one who is constantly losing in the battle is the American public. Haunting personal stories are told every day. Recently one was told regarding the fact that the doctor had written notes on a chart and the assistant reading those notes to the patient actually screwed up the information and had the patient taking far more medication than they should have been taking. The doctor – this ‘professional’ – stated that it was just a ‘mistake in communication;’ a mistake that had the patient almost dying from an overdose. Charts that are read incorrectly, x-rays that are read incorrectly, treatment plans that harm instead of heal – these are just samples of the issues that are going on out there every day.

This author, a patient advocate, does a fantastic job offering everyone who reads this book a chance to become their very own ‘protector.’ With interviews and ‘insider’ information collected from people in the healthcare community, she covers everything from how to choose the right doctor to how to untangle the twists and turns of medical insurance.

Splitting the book into easy to read, and, better yet, easy to understand, categories – readers first learn about the author’s own trials with the medical industry and how she used her skills and studies to become a ‘Take-Charge Patient.’ The book then takes the reader by the hand and leads them through the process carefully and intelligently. Step one is all about preparing for your doctor’s appointment. This truly teaches people how to build confidence and be able to find a way to be polite and work with the doctor, but also build the assertiveness and persistence that they need to be proactive. As the book moves forward, it takes into account all the paperwork that is sometimes impossible to get a handle on; the author breaks everything down into ‘health summaries’ that focus on how a patient would read and better understand diagnoses, treatments, and whatever past health issues they may have suffered. One of the best and most helpful parts is at the end of each chapter where a ‘patient checklist’ allows the reader to make sure they have understood the material presented and are ready to move forward.

In addition, at the back of the book, there is an area reserved for safety checklists and lists of sample questions that you can (and should) ask your doctor about everything from pain to tests to mediations prescribed.

Ms. Ehrenclou has made sure to touch on all bases in order to help people feel better and safer about their medical care by taking charge of their own future.

Quill Says: Becoming a take-charge patient and looking after your own health definitely begins by reading this informational and extremely helpful book!