SOURCE: Charlotte Thompson

November 14, 2006 00:38 ET

"101 Ways To The Best Medical Care"

Dr. Charlotte E. Thompson's Latest Book Urges Consumers to Educate Themselves to Fight a Broken Health Care System

SAN DIEGO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 14, 2006 -- Dr. Charlotte E. Thompson has just released her new book, "101 Ways To The Best Medical Care" (Infinity Publishing, 2006, ISBN: 0-7414-3327-3, $14.95), a guide designed to help consumers successfully navigate health care's dense corporate maze. Using direct, bold language and dozens of examples from her practice and the experiences of colleagues, Dr. Thomspon illustrates why it's crucial to protect ourselves while seeking medical care and how to do that at home and overseas.

While costs for health care have risen eight percent from June 2005 to June 2006, according to the Department of Labor, it seems that our quality of care has not improved at all. Despite this, there are things we can do.

In her book, Thompson fearlessly confronts the status quo while advising people on how to use the system to their best advantage. She explains, "Fifty percent of our nation's bankruptcies are said to be caused by medical bills. Forty-six million people in the U.S. are without health coverage. Until there is a national uproar demanding a change... each of us must learn how to work with the present cumbersome and grossly inadequate medical system."

In "101 Ways To The Best Medical Care," Thompson begins with the basics, describing the essential functions across the wide spectrum of various health professionals one might need (i.e., an otolaryngologist is an M.D. with additional training in ear, nose and throat diseases). She explains what the titles or initials mean after a practitioner's name and defines common medical terms. For example, she draws one of many important distinctions by describing an O.D. as an optometrist, who can prescribe glasses but not perform surgery, while an O.T. is an optician, who may have no training at all or mere weeks in an eye doctor's office.

If and until the medical care industry undergoes a significant transformation, Thompson places each of us in a position of ultimate responsibility for our own care, despite the systemic obstacles we will certainly encounter. She offers us important distinctions as we assess whether we're receiving the best medical care. "There are doctors who have a wonderful bedside manner but have lost or never had adequate diagnostic skills," says Thompson, who illustrates with an example. "A seventy-eight-year-old woman began having dizzy spells and saw her general practitioner, who was part of an HMO. The doctor didn't seem worried and said for the patient to get more rest. The woman's son, a dermatologist, was extremely worried about his mother, so he conducted some research and found a highly recommended internist in private practice. However, the mother refused to see him because she loved her general practitioner, who excelled in the art of medicine, but lacked greatly in diagnostic skills. Twelve days later, the mother had a stroke and died."

Throughout the book Thompson urges consumers to not only stay informed and alert but to assertively advocate on their own behalf. She says, "If a physician orders multiple tests, I would question why they are needed and what the physician is looking for. If a complete history and physical have not been done, I would insist this be done prior to having many, perhaps unnecessary, tests. You may have to be assertive or change physicians if your wishes are not respected."

She also counsels people to honor the patient-doctor contract by keeping appointments, paying bills on time and not making frequent, unnecessary calls to the doctor or otherwise misuse a doctor's services.

For those who travel abroad, Thompson urges everyone to plan ahead. "Most health insurance plans do not cover medical care outside the United States," she cautions. She stresses the need to research names of reputable doctors and hospitals before leaving on a trip, and she recommends investing in travel medical insurance ( or getting a clear picture ahead of time about emergency transportation back to the U.S. for those working for an American company overseas.

The book concludes with a well-researched appendix of resources, such as health care for veterans and those deployed after 2001, health care for special needs children and the disabled, lists of state medical boards, insurance offices and regulators, helpful Web sites and national toll-free numbers.

"Patients are 'consumers' of health care that has been taken over by corporations. Some wonderful physicians still practice, but... they are under constant pressure to limit care, the time they spend with patients, and cost. New government regulations such as privacy rules and complex billing have created havoc."

"A good doctor sits down to talk with you, but you should still do your research and learn as much as you can to take care of yourself," says Thompson.

"101 Ways To The Best Medical Care" is available on,,, and can be ordered in bookstores through Ingram or Baker and Taylor.

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