Steve’s Fears Helped by YouTube Video
“I am a new patient at the La Jolla VA. I left the facility somewhat confused/overwhelmed and unsure as to how I should proceed with the unexpected medical information I had received during my visit.”, Steve recalls.
Steve’s VA physician diagnosed him with a deep foot ulcer, gave him medicine, bandages, and told him he could lose his foot if he didn’t follow his directions. He was given a return appointment in six weeks. His immediate problem was that he could not remember how to do his dressing changes. In fact, Steve remembers very little after being told he could lose his foot.
His PAVE advisor showed him how to find dressing change information on the Internet. A quick visit to YouTube fixed that problem. The PAVE volunteer suggested Steve might want to be checked sooner than a month and a half away. Steve wrote an email to his treating physician and got his appointment moved up to three weeks. Armed with a PAVE prepared question list he saw his doctor and left with a much better understanding of his condition and the news that he was healing without complications.
“It was a wonderful addition to the VA medical experience to be able to subsequently quietly discuss my situation with the PAVE doctor and to receive the advice and attention that was able to answer my questions, put my mind at ease and make clear how to proceed with understanding. I am certain that many other veterans could also benefit from this addition to the VA medical treatment.”
A Veteran’s Son Serving his Father
Chris was worried his dad, an 80 year old Navy veteran, might not be getting optimal care for his bad heart. Being a conscientious son, he was concerned that he didn’t have the information he needed to advise his dad with regard to having another round of heart surgery. He recognized that additional surgery might be very risky for his father. Chris heard about Physician Advocates for Veterans from a work colleague and made arrangements to contact a PAVE physician.
Chris and his PAVE advocate talked briefly by phone and Chris emailed his dad’s latest discharge summary which detailed diagnosis, medical test results and further treatment plans for his dad. The PAVE physician assigned to Chris consulted with two other physicians, one a geriatrician, and then made an appointment to meet with Chris.
At that meeting they went over the 4 page medical chart line-by-line. Each test result was explained in detail. The treatment plan presented by his dad’s Navy cardiologists was explained and Chris advised to be sure his dad didn’t skip any future cardiology appointments, because when “tuned up” from a medical viewpoint, he was enjoying an active lifestyle despite his heart problems.
Chris says, “I would highly recommend PAVE and the service they provide. Dr. Shapiro walked me through my father’s discharge and helped me wrap my head around it. It has given me peace of mind to understand my father’s condition and discuss other possible interventions. I am glad to know my father is in good hands and it is even more assuring to have my father’s medical care reviewed by other doctors who truly care. I would advise anyone to take advantage of this wonderful service.”
Chris left with his dad’s medical record in hand to explain it to his family. He and his PAVE physician promised to stay in touch on an as needed basis.
Jeremy’s Story, In His Own Words
“PAVE has been a solid support network for me. Their staff really cares and goes out of their way to help in any way they can. I’m a Marine infantry combat veteran and an amputee and I have a lot of medical conditions that I need help with, I didn’t know what questions to ask or how to navigate through the VA medical system very well. PAVE has been very instrumental in giving me a better understanding, helping me know and get the best medical treatment, and when I have struggled in dealing with the VA, my physician advocate has intervened and help me to get what I need.
PAVE has plugged me into lots of different resources, as I’ve needed them. PAVE is very professional and committed, they strive to make a difference. One of the best examples I have of PAVE working to help me is I have neuromas which are benign tumors in my nerve ending in my amputated arm, which cause a lot of pain. The VA said they wanted to cut me open and cut them off, I have had several surgeries and if I can avoid another one then I’m all for that. I met with my physician advocate who told me about an alternative treatment that is a lot less invasive, and there is a high chance of if they surgically removed them the neuromas would just grow right back anyway. I’m not bashing the VA I’m very grateful for all the care they provide me but trying to figure out and deal with a huge government agency is very difficult and frustrating, Pave has alleviated a lot of that struggle for me.”