“Empowered Patient” special on CNN

Elizabeth Cohen is surely the most visible spokesperson for patient empowerment, because she’s on CNN and CNN.com. She’s got an hour-long special on CNN this weekend. Highly recommended, especially for friends and family who don’t get what this is all about.

The first showing was 7 pm ET tonight. It’ll be repeated at 7 Pacific (visible also at 10 ET). The same schedule will repeat Sunday. A preview clip is here.

The special dramatizes several anecdotes from her book of the same name (my Amazon review). A one-hour TV special, of course, is a different game: the book covers many topics (finding the right doctor for you, solving insurance problems, etc), but the special does what mass market TV is good at: tell stories.

I often start talks by saying “Patient isn’t a third person word. This is personal.” Indeed, Cohen herself started the Empowered Patient feature partly out of her mother’s own misdiagnosis, and trouble with own her daughter’s birth. The special starts off with her mother’s story, with footage of her kidney transplant last January at Beth Israel Deaconess.

As someone who spends a lot of time working on messaging (how to convey an idea in the available moments), I have a lot of respect for how this program was crafted. I first listened to a preview DVD, without watching, and it didn’t hit me well. But the full show comes across with impact: the visuals do their job well, and the stories do come to life when you see the people and places.

A real challenge in culture change is the need to reach people where their attitudes are now, and speak into that mindset. Cohen does a particularly good job here of asserting that trying to be a “good patient” can kill you, and then making the case – with real people telling their stories – that patients can and should wise up and speak up. That’s consciousness raising; that’s empowerment. I think it’ll be a good teaching tool for patient advocates everywhere.

All the stories in this program are survivors, favorably affected by speaking up. We know that’s not always the case, and that’s why this teaching is important.


Posted in: news & gossip | positive patterns | pt/doc co-care | trends & principles




11 Responses to ““Empowered Patient” special on CNN”

  1. Lloyd Hammond says:

    Wow ! We just watched “Empowered Patient” for the first time, (10-3-10). The program comes so close to my own situation. I experienced an adverse event a little more than 4 years ago, in our own local hospital. I have been doing my own research to find if there is anything that can be done about the pain, the adverse change in our life style, etc.

    Because we could not get answers from my PCP, I changed to another doctor, and the new doctor is giving me “substandard care”. We have tried everything I can think of to visit a doctor that will listen, treat us like we are normal people that need help sorting out the cause of the pain.

    There was no pain before the surgery. (ingunial hernia repair). I made many mistakes during the the pre-surgery admission process and during doctor appointments after I was having pain months after surgery. The big mistake was going to appointments by myself, and complaining about a doctor, to another doctor, big mistake. There is so much more to this situation, it would take us hours and hours to give all the details about the last four years of frustration and disappointment. All I want is to be properly repaired, oh well. We will keep trying.

    We will be watching the rebroadcast at 10:00 PM tonight, and the the next one next week.

    Thank you, Kathy & Lloyd Hammond

    • Kathy & Lloyd, you might want to read Elizabeth’s book “The Empowered Patient” – it’s about $10 on Amazon right now. For help in advocating, have a look at Trisha Torrey’s advocacy blog.

      • Lloyd Hammond says:

        Thank you Dave, For starters, I’m going to purchase ten copies of “The Empowered Patient”
        and give them to our family members and friends.
        Second, is there any way we can get a video of the
        CNN special ? Third, is there anything I/we can do to help others avoid the frustration of the imbalance of power between Doctors and Patients ?
        Thank you again, Kathy & Lloyd

    • Hi Kathy & Lloyd have you tried alternative health care like energy healing?


  2. Thank you all for your kind words. We’re truly honored. Kathy – I hope the repair and the healing begin soon.
    Elizabeth Cohen

  3. BTW, TBA on when this will replay, and we’re looking into a podcast.

  4. informant says:

    I will watch this, reluctantly I must say. Most of Mrs. Cohen’s EP articles on CNN serve the Big Pharma co’s, insurance co’s, or are sympathetic to MD’s and official medical organizations, orthodoxy, etc… even where said have been caught in criminal actions, negligence, hurting/maiming/killing people-patients, omissions/distortions of medical studies and research, abuses, and pretty much ANTI anything naturopathic that IS effective, and more important SAFE (First, DO NO HARM)..

    As Kathy and Lloyd above have found out, complications, negligence, outragously rude and 3rd degree treatment from the MD’s/hospitals/offices TOWARDS and regards to the patient/person, is the norm, not the exception.. As well, with botched surgery, horrible and outright demeaning and rude treatment, and indifference to my REAL (not imagined or phantom or psychosomatic as 99% of all MD’s assess simply because they are egomaniacs who are mostly too concerned with their new Porsche, and quite bluntly, are too lazy to work and differential like a HOUSE, MD maverick would, and SHOULD be the norm)…

    The whole system, orthodoxy, fraud, criminality, lack of checks/balances, malfaesance of care and poor treatment of patients, errors, kickbacks, abuses, surgical injuries and deaths, drug injuries and deaths (needless) ABOUND, etc…

    I could on for 20 more paragraphs with specifics, but this suffices to get the point across… Doctors are NOT Gods.. they are servants and healers.. they should be altruistic, passionate about health and the human body and nature, sympathetic and most importantly EMPATHETIC towards each and every self-respecting patient they serve, and should listen and respect their patients input/research/self-assessments, and WORK —WITH— their patients, not talk AT them or DOWN to them as a moron… I say this first hand, since often I know more about the issue/problem/physiology/nutrition/etc than the MD, I just have to endure the office visit and interaction with said MD in a self-directed way in order to play the medical system game to get the test/scan/medication I needed and researched that I likely needed from the beginning..

    A shame and a travesty what “medicine” has become in America.. and Obama’s “fix” of reform will make it even more horrific, mark those words… When an MD isn’t happy making $170-$500,000 a year, and sure, may work 70-80 hours a week, then something is wrong.. they are not in it for the right or valid reasons..
    There are MILLIONS of Americans working 80 hours a week at 2 dead end full time min. wage jobs making $30,000 a year.. so BOO HOO to all the MD whiners out there…

    THanks for listening…

    • informant says:

      PS. Hopefully this site and it’s moderater will have the professionalism and also honor of free speech, even where dissenting with honest and good intent, to not delete my important/timely/valid post above…

      And I applaud this forum for not needing some silly account with Facebook ro Twitter or LinkedIn, etc just to post a comment…

  5. Dave –
    Not sure about a replay, but in the meantime, you can download the special on itunes http://is.gd/fOZfF, or watch it on cnn.com, http://bit.ly/aKzESq.

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