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    Who's right? Family thinks I'm not, automatically
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    An_267220 posted:
    I am in the (awkward) position of being a disabled person (non-physical) stuck with the job of being a caregiver to an elderly father with a LOT of problems, who may or may not be ready for hospice, except that his (less-than-informed?) doctor (female, late 60s) won't consider it unless dad brings it up first, which he won't... like a lot of other things in his life, dad would rather do it himself. All other members of my immediate family (we lost mother about a year ago) work in different fields and at varying hours.

    Dad needs to at the very least take a cough medicine similar to Robitussin®, to stop the annoying, raspy, thick-mucus-producing cough he has EVERY DAY. (He could, as well, have something wrong with his lungs, which would require seeing another specialist about which he may not be really crazy... but the doctor apparently does not yet consider that necessary) He seems to think that his cough will ONLY respond to a medicine that, as far as I have ever found, is only available as a pill on which, given another symptom he has had, he could choke, something I have been told by others in my family I am to prevent, even at, apparently, the risk of my own life... Dad can be a quite violent person, and was known to have severely injured others while fighting when he served in the Army in the 1950s, and that mindset has never completely left him...

    All I want to do is call his doctor, and leave her a message that this cough has never gone away, even if for whatever reason it does not occur when he is physically at her office. Other members of the family, however, insist on keeping from me the right to decide whether even to contact the doctor, contending it is the result of some decision dad reportedly made over 20 years ago to "protect his privacy." I do not and never have understood the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, among other laws that reportedly apply to situations like this, and don't have (access to) adequate resources that would enable me to (effectively) challenge what my family have said.

    I understand from other sources that it's potentially against HIPAA to endeavour to convince other professionals to intervene in dad's situation even though his insurance may not require the primary doctor's referral to seek their services, but this is about directly contacting the primary doctor to relay important information she doesn't always encounter by her own observation. Nobody's ever assured me that calling his doctor directly and telling her what's happening with him outweighs the possibility that she would allegedly be required under HIPAA, or something, to notify my family and create the risk of them, for example, evicting me from the house. I'd love to be able to talk in a place like this about MY problems, except that they involve a non-conventional approach that is seen as politically incorrect here.

    So, should I call the doctor directly, and risk the family's wrath, or continue to see dad cough and cough and cough and cough, day after day after day after day, without resolution apart from, say, my voluntarily leaving the household?


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