A Growing Trend of Patient Advocates

There is a growing industry of hired patient advocates. Patients are hiring people to defend their interests when they go to the hospital.

The impetus from this comes from the huge number of patients who die because of medical error, and the growing consensus that going into a hospital as a patient alone is one of the most dangerous things you could do.

From the article:

It is a trend emerging here and across the country, though it’s not without controversy – and a hefty price tag. But it may be offering a vital, even lifesaving service in a severely overburdened medical system plagued by a shortage of nurses, doctors and hospital beds.
Arizona – with the nation’s longest ER wait time and an extreme shortage of doctors and nurses – should prove fertile for the fledgling business.
“We have seen so many patients – including my own father and mother – nearly die in the hospital because of mistakes or neglect, we realized somebody had to do something,” said Alice Milton, a Tucson attorney now working for Patient Care Advocates, a company launched two years ago in Tucson – first to provide home care services, expanding to hospital patient advocacy in recent months.
“This idea was born of personal trauma, of seeing firsthand what kind of fight you have to wage to get decent care for someone you love. And of seeing patients who are absolutely terrified to go to the hospital, because they are certain they will die there,” Milton said.
“The need for this is huge – great enough to actually earn a living doing it.”

Of course, savvy family members and other loved ones can also serve as your “advocate,” with the added benefit that they will probably do it for free. But the idea is essentially the same: when you go to a hospital, it is comforting and may even be life-saving to have back-up with you.

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