When It’s Important to Read the Terms and Conditions

Danita LaShelle Jones avatar

by Danita LaShelle Jones |

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One of my favorite ways to relax at the end of a stressful day is to play games on my phone. I pick games that require minimal strategy and effort. I’m a happy camper if I have to match pieces of candy or jewels, launch a plane in the air, or finish a simple puzzle to decorate a house.

Usually, when downloading a new game, I tend to rush past all of the pop-up questions that come when I open it: Do I want game notifications? No. Do I want to read the privacy policy? No. Do I accept the terms and conditions of gameplay? Yes.

What’s funny about the last question is that, if it’s what I deem a mindless game, I feel like I don’t need to read the terms and conditions. An animated character running through a tunnel to pick up gold coins isn’t rocket science. Reading the terms and conditions seems unnecessary because the game is doing what it’s supposed to do.

However, suppose I’m downloading an app to aid in my business, a video app for meetings on the go, or a food app that allows me to order before I get to the restaurant. In that case, I’m poring over the terms and conditions. I want to know what to do if it stops working when I need it. I’m adamant about knowing my rights if it charges me money I don’t authorize. I want to ensure my information isn’t being used or sold without my permission. I must understand my options before I engage in the app’s use.

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Whenever we found ourselves at the hospital or doctor’s office with our oldest daughter, whom we lovingly nicknamed Ladybug, we were asked questions that I would rush to answer, especially if we were in the emergency room: Would we like to let people know she’s here if they call the front desk? Sure. Would we want to be contacted by billing for what insurance doesn’t cover? Yep. Would we like a copy of the patient’s rights? No.

In hindsight, that last answer was a big mistake.

Before Ladybug was diagnosed with hereditary angioedema in 2021, medical facilities offered me that sheet of paper hundreds of times. Most times, I would refuse it. Other times, I would get it and wouldn’t even glance at it. As far as I was concerned, it wasn’t necessary to review our rights. We had a sick little girl at the hospital or doctor’s office, which meant the staff sought to give her the best care possible.

At times, that was true. However, after a terrifying incident in the emergency room where too much medication was administered in an attempt to stop an unexplained swell via Ladybug’s IV, causing a severe side effect, I called the only expert I knew who could advise me: my sister, an exceptional board-certified physician.

“What did they give her?” she asked.

“I’m not sure,” I replied. “I just assumed it was something that would stop her symptoms.”

“You always have the right to ask. And if you don’t like the answer, you have a right to refuse.”

I had no idea. Between the stress of trying to find the answers to Ladybug’s condition and being slightly afraid that my intervention would cause a scene, it never even dawned on me that I had a right as a caregiver and mother to demand answers. I could refuse treatments I deemed dangerous or unnecessary or request to speak to the person in charge if I felt the care didn’t meet Ladybug’s needs.

Now, when they offer me the patient’s rights sheet, I refuse — not because I don’t need it, but because I know it by heart. I’m not afraid to speak up if I come across a healthcare provider who may be unfamiliar with Ladybug’s condition. I can pleasantly ask to speak to the charge nurse or another doctor if I feel she’s not getting the best care. I champion myself as her advocate because I am immersed in what she needs.

Knowing that I can be fully involved in my daughter’s care doesn’t mean I don’t trust doctors and other healthcare providers; it means that I can be part of the team that ensures she gets the best treatment possible.


Note: Angioedema News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angioedema News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to angioedema.

Comments

Dr. Bryant Taylor avatar

Dr. Bryant Taylor

I look forward to From the Caregivers Heart column every week. The humanness and transparency allows me to see myself in each story. Each week there is a golden nugget, this week it was; "Knowing that I can be fully involved in my daughter’s care doesn’t mean I don’t trust doctors and other healthcare providers" how comforting and reassuring it is to know I am not strange for advocating for a sick loved one. Continue the excellent writing, golden nuggets and open heart it's connecting.

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