When I go see new doctors, I come prepared with a “medical resume.” It has my name, date of birth, address; I list all my medical conditions, medications, and known allergies. I guess you can say I want to impress the new doctor. I want them to know I am an expert on my health and a fully informed patient.
Most doctors appreciate the resume but are still put off by the overwhelming amount of illnesses listed on my resume. I would think an informed patient is better than the alternative. I have found that doctors can get defensive; they question my knowledge or want to exert their superiority as the medical professional in the room. Why is that?
I think back to when I was working as a criminal defense attorney, sometimes clients came to their meetings with briefs or copies of cases they thought would help their legal case. I never took offense. I was happy to see them taking ownership over their case, their destiny—after all, their freedom was at stake. Perhaps all of the information they provided wasn’t pertinent, but I didn’t become defensive or feel the need to put them down. I would summarize the pertinent facts, law, and information, write it down for them so they were armed with a legal brief/resume of sorts.
What the medical resume represents is taking control of your health, of doing your due diligence and knowing your full medical story. You become the expert on your health. This empowers you in the patient-doctor relationship. Hopefully it will help you feel emboldened to ask questions, speak up, voice concerns, and if necessary, change doctors if you don’t feel heard or understood. It can be the first step to helping you be a “professional (or expert) patient.”
I am including a copy of what the medical resume can look like below. It will also appear in my book, which I hope to have done by next year.
I hope this helps you if you have a medical condition(s) or are the caretaker of anyone. And please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments.
Medical Condition Year it began
Example: Lupus 1997
(Repeat for all Medical Conditions)
Name of Medication Dosage For what Medical Condition
Example: Plaquenil 200 mg Lupus
(Repeat for all Medications)
Name of Medication/Substance (e.g., latex) Type of reaction
Example: Lamictal I get a rash
(Repeat for all Allergies)
*If you have more than one page, put your Name and DOB on every page and number the pages