By Marc Kaplan, Attorney at Kaplan Law
The last few months I have spent a lot of time in hospital rooms with a sick loved one.
During one of my hospital visits, I noticed that written on the whiteboard on the wall in the hospital room was a listing of “Goals,” with a statement of the doctor’s goal for the patient. Neither the patient nor I were asked to discuss the goal or even informed of why this was the only or highest goal. Nor were we asked what goals we thought were most important. In fact, the doctor’s goal was not what we wanted, at all.
This didn’t seem right. Didn’t the patient have a say? Wasn’t this her care? Frustrated, I wanted to add a new section to the board: “Patient Goals.” I also wanted to cross out the doctor’s goal and demand that the patient and doctor together decide on the goal.
Interestingly, the newest hospital room provided an updated whiteboard that had a section for “comments.” While not providing for collaboration with the patient, it did at least acknowledge that patients, and those close to them, might have opinions or suggestions worth considering.
At Kaplan Law, our desire has always been to put our clients’ needs and goals first, and try to always ask our clients to express their desires and goals, and discuss with them the pros and cons associated with those goals.
The hospital whiteboards reminded me that no matter how much we know about what we do, and how we go about it, listening to and understanding our clients’ goals should always be part of the process of identifying a plan, determining a strategy, and then implementing a course of action.