Founder’s Note to Advocates

    When it comes to health care – especially in a crisis — conventional wisdom tells us,  “Get a second opinion and take someone with you.” So we often find ourselves accompanying our spouse or parents to doctors’ appointments and through hospital stays to be a second pair of eyes and ears, absorbing critical information it is so hard for patients themselves to process in a worried state.   This convention, this way to help those we love most, is great advice and we take a large measure of comfort in following it.  But think about it …   …How are any of us really trained to be effective health care advocates, an effective “Someone” for those we love?     Sure, we all know how to hold a hand, wipe a brow and occasionally fetch a nurse. My guess is that many of us also rely heavily on quick, prayerful barters with God.  (Please make her well and I will never skip Sunday mass to play golf again.) But in our hearts we know that if the chips are down, our role as a Someone is to be our loved one’s lifeline to the best possible care—someone who may even make the difference between life and death. A few years ago, our family of six siblings made a pact to be advocates for my father as he recovered from a hard-won lung transplant at a major academic hospital.  Grateful for our dad’s second chance after his diagnosis of incurable idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, our entire family gladly turned our lives upside down to take turns at Dad’s bedside...