Including the patient voice in healthcare is something that most people don’t have to think about. You realize how essential it is though if you are sick – something that Christina Fuhrman experienced firsthand when she got an infection. After being in the hospital for seven months, her doctor thought that the best course of treatment would be to remove her colon; however, Christina was worried about the impact on her quality of life. By doing her own research, she learned about another, possibly risky, treatment and decided to seek a second opinion when her doctor said she did not have the option for the riskier treatment. Feeling betrayed by the system put in place to help keep her healthy, Christina voiced her concerns to another doctor, who felt the treatment was appropriate, and she was able to make a full recovery.

Had Christina not taken an active role in her health care, her outcome could have been drastically different. Her three big takeaways were:

  • Ask questions when you receive a diagnosis or treatment. It is your health, and you have a right to fully understand your options, risks and possible outcomes.
  • Do your research using credible sources. The Center for Disease Control (CDC), medical journals, and the Mayo Clinic are all excellent resources. You can also always seek a second opinion from another doctor.
  • Join others in order to find support. There are many options for support groups and sharing your experience with others can be helpful not only to you, but to other people going through similar situations.

You can read Christina’s full story on the CDC’s website:

If you are looking for support through your kidney journey, you can join the DPC Education Center’s monthly telephone support group. For more information and to sign up, go to: