Friend and colleague, Jennifer Olin, a writer at RNCentral.com, asked what made me choose to support Amanda Trujillo publicly and put my name and reputation on the line for her.
Below is my response:
I chose to publicly speak out on behalf of Amanda Trujillo, because Amanda’s case is really not about her at all. While it does tragically affect her individual life and the life of the patient she intervened for, this case represents so much more.
Amanda Trujillo’s case represents a direct threat to the following things:
- A patient’s right to know, understand, and determine the direction of his or her own medical care.
- A patient’s right to consent to lengthy and difficult medical procedures only after full-disclosure of all information and alternatives, and to choose care that is most in line with his or her own values and beliefs.
- A nurse’s obligation and solemn oath to educate, advocate for and intervene on behalf of his or her patients, when they themselves cannot.
- A nurse’s right to do the above for his or her patients without the threat of retaliation by corporations or other health care providers (read physicians) that stand to *directly* profit from the decisions of patients that are ill-informed.
Aside from the fact that both nurses and patients are threatened by this situation, the larger question that this case begs is, “What kind of healthcare system do we want in the future?”
One that continues to encourage, invite and incentivize this type of physician and corporate behavior, by paying per the number and frequency of procedures performed (thus putting financial pressure on hospitals and physicians to view and treat patients like pin cushions)….OR do we want a healthcare system that “pays for performance,” by rewarding physicians who keep their patients well (by focusing on preventative care) and keep them out of the acute care setting?
The reason primary care physician numbers are plummeting is that there is no money in preventative care.
The money is in specializing and running lots of expensive hospital-based diagnostics and procedures, so, of course, that’s where the physicians are.
This type of medicine is reactive and is akin to putting on one’s seatbelt *after* the automobile has already crashed.
The Amanda Trujillo case gives us a collective opportunity to ask the question, do we want to continue with a system that is so open to egregious abuse….or are we ready to put our seat belts on and change gears while we still have some time?
This case has far-reaching national implications for patients, nurses, and healthcare in general.
It’s high-time healthcare’s dirty little secrets came to light.
If you’d like to join us and support Amanda’s legal defense fund, please donate *anything* you can below. Every penny helps.