Policy as a Way to Help Patients
I’ve wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember, and my inspiration for doing so, like most others, has been a desire to help others. As I progressed through school, I realized that through health policy I could help patients even if they don’t present to my emergency department during a shift. Through just one policy change, I could care for more patients than I could possibly ever see in my clinical practice alone.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 38 – No 08 – August 2019
More than 1,000 girls under age 18 will give birth in Indiana this year. I am proud to say that as of this past July 1, when the newest class of interns began their clinical career, these girls now have the legal right and ability to consent to their own medical care. It is my hope that no intern will have their hands legally tied when providing basic medical care to a young pregnant patient, whether they want to provide an ultrasound, epidural analgesia, or any other procedure.
The power of the resident voice is greater than I realized. As trainees in emergency medicine, we bear witness to the failings of our health care system every day. Because we are not accustomed to these injustices, we are perhaps more likely to speak out and act. As frontline witnesses to these issues, our policymakers view us not just as trainees but as trusted experts. If and when we see something wrong, we have the power to use our voices to bring about positive change and can dramatically improve the health and well-being of our patients.
Dr. Chernoby is chief resident at Indiana University Department of Emergency Medicine in Indianapolis and a trustee of the Indiana State Medical Association.
- Medications for pain relief during labor and delivery. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Accessed July 15, 2019.