We are no strangers to advocacy. For several years now, we have spoken to college classes about the importance of accessibility and patient communication. (“Patient” here means a medical patient, be they an adult or child. It’s also crucial that medical professionals have patience in their communication, however.)
While most of our speaking engagements are public in nature, Children’s Hospital has reached out to us a few times on other outreach subjects. They asked if they could repost our post about Namine’s decision to get vaccinated for Covid; they asked us to speak with their government relations team; and most recently, they asked if we would meet with Representative Mark Born, a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly.
The subject of our meeting with Rep. Born was dental work for children: not only children with complex medical needs, like Namine has, but all children. Children’s Hospital has been crucial for us, since their Complex Care team coordinates between dental and other departments. (It’s important for Namine’s health that cardiology, for example, be involved with the medication she has to take prior to a dental cleaning appointment.) But Children’s Hospital serves so many children because they are one of the only pediatric dental hospitals in Wisconsin. The result of this is that there is quite a large waiting list to be a dental patient at Children’s Hospital. Having help from the state in funding expansion would greatly help the hospital, and therefore countless children.
Our “job,” if you want to put it that way, was not necessarily to convince Rep. Born of one decision or another. It was simply to do what we’ve been doing since we started this website: put real faces to a statistic. It’s easy for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to see their patients — since they see so many — as just a job, just a number. It might be their job, but it’s our life. The decisions they make influence the quality of Namine’s life. That has always been the point of our talks at Marquette and the Medical College of Wisconsin, too. The more these students, soon to be professionals, see their patients as people, the more they can improve their experiences and lives.