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Stuck at Home? Time on Your Hands? Here's Some Patient Empowerment Reading

If you called in sick, this is a great way to spend your afternoon.


Updated January 10, 2013

Maybe you've called in sick, or you just have a quiet afternoon to yourself. You don't need another nap, so maybe a little light reading would be a good way to spend your time.

Here is a sampler of patient empowerment articles that may be of interest to you. They aren't heavy to-dos, or rants on the system. They are just points of interest you can share with others when you want to make raise some eyebrows at the dinner table, or wow your friends at your next get-together.

Patient Empowerment and History

• The term "snakeoil" conjures up old wagons and salesmen who might have conned our ancestors out of their hard earned money. But you'll be surprised to learn that snake oil is real, and some has therapeutic properties. Learn more about the history of snakeoil.

• Some of those snakeoil salesmen might have been real, bona fide quacks. But do you know what really defines a quack? Read more about quacks and false advertising.

• Do you ever remember your great grandfather mentioning "consumption"? or "chalkstones"? A blast from the past - find a list of old disease names that are rarely (or never) used any more.

Who was Henrietta Lacks and what does she have to do with cancer research? Henrietta died decades ago, but left a legacy that has affected everyone who was ever diagnosed with cancer or other diseases.

• Then, if you're very curious, you might want to know more about the history of the patient empowerment movement.

Fraud and Other Illegal Activity

What do you know about counterfeit drugs? Probably not much, but they are (unfortunately) all around us.

• Ever heard of Dhimmitude? How about those green monkeys? Catch up with some of the email hoaxes that have made the rounds in the past few years. You might learn how gullible you can be.

Medical Care and the Media

Do you remember Marcus Welby?

Take Two TV Shows and Call Me In the Morning will make you question your own medical show TV watching.

• Can you name three actors who have suffered medical errors, but have gone on to become proactive survivors? Here they are - with links to their stories.

• And don't forget social media - that could take you an entire afternoon to learn!

Interesting Laws that Relate to Patient Empowerment

• We hear about privacy laws. We know that malpractice must meet certain legal tests, but there are a few laws that protect some rights you may not have considered. For example:

• Discrimination: You may think of racial, gender, age and sexual orientation as reasons others might discriminate against us. But what about your gene pool? Yes, there is a law that covers genetic discrimination.

• Pain Drugs: In some ways these drugs are very carefully controlled, and in other ways, they are not. You may be interested in the laws that pertain to how they are prescribed.

• Until just a few years ago, a same-sex partner might not have been able to visit his or her loved one in the hospital. An order signed by President Obama in 2010 changed that. Read about the order and what it means for hospital visitation for all of us.

And finally...

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