I went to my primary care doc last week for some blood work. The best practice means of checking a person’s identity is for the professional drawing the specimen to ask a person their name and date of birth and confirm that these are the same as the order/prescription and label. The technologist did not. When I suggested that she follow this practice, she was clearly annoyed with me.  I spoke with someone yesterday who was in the middle of an ultrasound and the technologist asked, “Oh, are youxxxx?  I forgot to check.”  These occurrences are low risk (unless you need another stick because the wrong blood tubeswere used or the resulting diagnosis is really for someone else). But it’s a good habit to expect confirmation of identity when somethingis done to you.

I also have been participating in my Town Disability Commission as a citizen volunteer. I’d like to be appointed as a member.  I’ve found that the selection process lacks transparency-every citizen does not have an equal chance to be considered or selected.
Both these stories reflect on the challenge of advocacy.  How do we stick up for ourselves among well-meaning people who don’t follow best practice. I find it difficult to advocate. I don’t want to be a pain. I’m a bridge builder, not a fighter. I’m at my best when I focus on the prize.  In the first example, I tell the lab person that confirming identity is critical – to me and to her. What a shame (or how devastating) in the rare instances its wrong. For the Town, being sure that the town follows its published practice, that all citizens have equal opportunity to take part, and that access for the disabled in improved. How far do I go?  The most passionate advocates seem to have been burned by a bad practice. I want to avoid that for me and mine.

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