One of my favorite bloggers, Havi Brooks (no relation, has come up with this idea called the DAMNIT list.  My cursory definition of this is that these are things that she either really wants in her business or things that she is unwilling to put up with any longer.

I have been thinking about this idea with respect to my own business as well as being a patient and caregiver.I thought it may be fun to create my own PATIENT POWER MANIFESTO and if you’d like to join me – please feel free to do so in the comments.

So, drum roll please. . . . without further ado – here’s Char’s PATIENT POWER MANIFESTO:

  • I won’t deal with providers who will not consult with each other regarding my care after I ask them to.
  • I won’t sit in doctor’s office waiting rooms being at the mercy of their magazines, tv’s blaring, etc.  I will bring something I really want to read, do or accomplish (i.e. bills, correspondence or a great book) and wear earplugs.
  • I won’t deal with nurses that aren’t listening to what I’m saying when I’m explaining what’s going on initially.  I will ask them to repeat back their understanding of what I’ve said to make sure they’ve got it right, politely and directly.  If they’re unwilling to do so, I’ll ask to speak with another nurse as a last resort.  I won’t set out to piss them off – I recognize they are busy.  And, I will help them focus by speaking clearly and concisely.
  • I won’t tolerate offices who are “too busy” to find my chart before we begin our appointment.  I’ll insist they have the most current chart, wait for them to find it if they don’t have it, and assure them that I am in no hurry.  If they still refuse to look for the chart, I’ll find another provider.
  • I will phrase my questions thoughtfully and efficiently and will not deal with providers who are so rushed that they won’t answer my questions.
  • I will not deal with providers who refuse to look at my Appointment Summary Sheet and approve or correct it.
  • I will take the time to prepare my Appointment Preparation Sheet before my appointment and bring two copies – one for me and one for my provider.
  • I will remember to llook at this Appointment Preparation Sheet and make notes on it as the provider talks while of course allowing them to do the appropriate examination.
  • I will not leave an appointment without being sure all of my questions are completely answered.  If more issues come up than can be answered in the one appointment, I will make a second appointment before leaving the office.
  • I will pay my office call copay at the time of the visit so that I don’t have to think about it again.
  • I will pay all medical bills in the year that they are incurred which makes my taxes easier and my life less messy.
  • If I receive explanation of benefits forms and have questions on them, I will look at my calendar and schedule in time to contact the insurance company within the next two weeks. It never works for me to leave these things hanging – I forget them and continue to get notices and before you know it, it’s one big pile of paperwork which makes me want to run and hide rather than resolve it understanding whether I need to pursue it further or just cough up the money.
  • If I can’t get anywhere with the first insurance representative, I will record her name and my understanding of what was said on a post it, attach it to the explanation of benefit form and ask for a supervisor.  I’ll continue making notes and talking to the next person in command until I’m satisfied that I understand their perspective.  While I’m doing this and being put on hold, I’ll have an organizational project to take care of (i.e. filing in my office) so that I don’t get frustrated being on hold.

Wanna play?  Feel free to share your PATIENT POWER MANIFESTO here!!  Have fun.


Since I’m practicing being specific about what I’m asking for, here’s what I’d like you to do if you’d like to leave feedback.

  1. Make your PATIENT POWER MANIFESTO about you:  Whatever you want or don’t want in your life as a patient or caregiver, claim it. 
  2. You are welcome to borrow any of my strategies that work for you.  Please don’t criticize them though – they work for me – and that’s what’s most important.  In other words, define what works for YOU and don’t bother trying to define what works for em.
  3. Having said that, if you have questions about why I feel the way I do, by all means – let me know and I’ll do my best to share where I’m coming from.
  4. Please feel free to borrow from other’s PATIENT POWER MANIFESTO’S – but no  criticism allowed.
  5. Part of the fun of this is finding the unusual ironic situations that often piss us off – but when you look at it in a different light – they can actually be kinda funny.  Laughter and poking fun at things is encourged.  Cynicism and arrogance are not.


  1. Sarah Marie Lacy Says:

    This is so brilliant. Every patient with a serious illness – no, every patient PERIOD, needs to have one of these. I intend on making one myself 🙂

  2. Char Brooks Says:


    Good for you!!! It is so important to have a Patient Power Manifesto.

    Let me know what yours looks like. If it feels overwhelming, try making your “absolute 5” list of things you will not put up with any longer.

    Thanks for sharing this and I’m glad it was helpful.

  3. Linda Resca Says:

    Char ~

    What a great job you’ve done w/your manifesto ! I appreciate your expression of strong self-advocacy skills while simultaneously showing respect for the health-care provider; not always an easy thing to accomplish.

    I would add one more item to your list: if I have concerns about any aspect of my appointment, I will communicate this, either the day of or call the office after-wards. Conversely, if I am exceptionally impressed by any interaction I have with anyone involved in my appointment, I will go out of my way to give this positive feedback – again, either during my time there, or call after-wards.

    I’ve done these things, several times. I find that it helps me stretch myself & grow & hopefully will make the next patient’s experience better.


  4. Char Says:

    This is an excellent point Linda and thank you for reminding me.
    I make it a habit of writing my doctor’s when I’ve had exceptional service or mentioning it at my next visit. I also make sure and tell the employee how much I appreciate their help at the time and their willingness to take a complete message or understand and accomodate my needs.
    Once or twice a year for no reason whatsoever (not in conjunction with a holiday) if there’s a long wait, I get everyone’s coffee orders and go up to the coffee shop and splurge for them.
    I am so grateful for their help – some may call this ass kissing – but I prefer to look at it as my way of saying thank you. It means so much to them and it’s a very small token of my appreciation. I love doing it and they love the extra TLC. Staff and doctors work very hard and I love recognizing them for it – makes me happy!!!
    Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Linda Resca Says:

    That’s so great that you’ve already been giving positive feedback to your healthcare providers Char ! I don’t see it as “ass kissing” because you’re very clear about your intention & why your giving in this way. It would be different if you were running around in an unconscious way trying to please everyone.

    As I sat with my dad while he was dying, the doctor came in the room to talk w/me. The dr. literally knelt on the floor next to me & looked me in the eye as he gently spoke about my dad’s grave condition. I was so moved and inspired by this dr., that after dad died, I called the hospital, had the dr. paged & told him, in detail, how comforting his presence was, & why. At the end of our conversation, the dr. thanked me & said “you just made my day !”

  6. Char Brooks Says:

    I’m sure you did make his day. . . .just hearing that story made mine too.

    Encouragement and honest support are so amazingly powerful. Everyone responds positively to it – even if they can’t quite take it in as you’re telling them.

    The important component as you mention is showing our honest appreciation to people who are doing their best to be helpful.


  1. The First Step » Blog Archive » The Patient Power Manifesto Continued. . . .
  2. The First Step » Blog Archive » How To Know If You’ve Got The Right Provider When You’re Coping with Mental or Physical Pain?

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