Speaking Up

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For many people, once they enter the doors of a hospital they instantly take the advice and opinions of healthcare providers without question or hesitation.

"I trust my doctor as a professional," says Barbara Wilbur. "He's the one who's been to school. He's the one who should really know what he's talking about."

"You know you get your car repaired. You ask the mechanic a lot of questions. You find out exactly what's wrong with the vehicle and why that's being done. But you don't do that with your body," says Maureen Sheppard, Chief Nursing Officer at Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital in Charlotte.

She says it's unfortunate, but there are errors in healthcare. That's why HGB has started a new program called "Speak Up."

"It's your body. I mean you're the one who's going to live with the consequences if it's something that's not the best thing for you. You have to know what's going on with your body."

The way to do that is by asking questions, and lots of them. That's what Mary Holt does everytime she visits the doctor.

"I'm also one of these people if I don't understand things, I go out and buy books, and I read [them]," she says. "And then I'll call the doctor back."

"Even to ask for our credentials, just to say who are you? What are you doing, and why are you the one doing this? Are you the best one to provide this care for me?" says Sheppard.

And she also says patients shouldn't be scared to question any healthcare provider.

"If you're in an outpatient area, and you're handed a prescription, you should always ask, what is this medication? What is it for? If they're in an inpatient setting, if we're hanging an IV solution medication they should say, what's that?"

Because ultimately the decision is up to you.

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