Allison Draper

Allison Draper: A Patient’s Perspective on Healthcare

Allison Draper provides a patient’s perspective on healthcare during this episode of the Perspectives on Healthcare podcast with Rob Oliver. She is located in North Carolina and shares her experiences about the birth of her two children. This interview with Allison Draper is #53 in the Guinness World Record Setting patient interview marathon. Just to give you context, the marathon started at 7:30 a.m. and by the time this interview took place, it was around 9:45 PM and I had been going for over 14 hours straight, without a break.

Here are 3 things that stood out as Allison Draper shared a patient’s perspective on healthcare:

  • Sometimes, people can make all the difference. Alison’s experience during the delivery of her two children was vastly different. One of the differences was a nurse named Michelle who provided comfort and exceptional care.
  • Empathy can go a long way towards building trust and relationships between practitioners and patients.
  • There needs to be an emphasis on the patient’s needs and rights over insurance company guidelines and regulations when it comes to determining a course of treatment.

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Here is the text of Allison Draper sharing a patient’s perspective on healthcare:

Introduction to Allison Draper

Rob Oliver: Welcome to the podcast.

Allison Draper: Hello.

Rob Oliver: How are you?

Allison Draper: Good. How are you doing?

Rob Oliver: I am well, thanks. For our listeners that are not looking at the screen, what’s your name?

Allison Draper: I’m Allison Draper and I live in North Carolina, currently right now.

Rob Oliver: Fantastic. Let’s start here. Can you tell me about yourself and your experiences in healthcare, please?

Allison Draper: I’m a mom of two little ones right now, so two in two years. I’ve had a bit of experience in the hospital already. One during COVID, well, at the height, the very beginning of COVID, and then one just about almost two-and-a-half months ago. I have a lot of experience so far. I think one experience is just like how different the births were. One was really bad, one was really good.

Rob Oliver: Okay. What was it that made the difference?

Allison Draper: There’s a lot of things. The first birth with my first daughter, Maya, she, the pregnancy was great, but when it came to the labor and delivery and it was during COVID, they were rushing me in the hospital. That was definitely one of the hardest things because while they were rushing me, they said I needed Pitocin, which at the time I didn’t really know what Pitocin did to rush your labor, rush the contraction. We were only in the hospital for a few hours and they were like, you’re only three to four centimeters, but you need Pitocin, and I was like, okay. I didn’t really advocate for myself in that moment. Then during that Pitocin, I contracted so fast, I got Maya out and I pushed her out in 13 minutes. It was insane. Wow. It was pretty quick. I tore, I don’t know if this is TMI, but I tore third degree in and out. Everything was just so quick and I had an epidural, so thankfully I didn’t feel any of that, but that was definitely the worst part of it. Some good things obviously did come out of that, like having some good nurses and obviously having my child, so that was really great. Then the difference with this next labor, it went so smoothly. I didn’t need Pitocin, no epidural. My mom and my husband were able to be there, so that was just like chef’s kiss on that. I barely tore, didn’t even really tear, so it was just like your textbook birth.

Recognizing Healthcare Heroes

Rob Oliver: Okay. Yeah. All right. There’s an expression that I had not heard before, chef’s kiss. It’s beautiful. I think I get the idea behind it. Yes. You mentioned this, that you had some good nurses and everything. Have you met a healthcare hero in your experiences? Someone who you would say they are doing it right.

Allison Draper: Oh, definitely. My OB, first of all, she smiles all the time. It’s almost like, are you really this happy all the time? But she’s just so relatable. She has kids, so she knows what you’ve been through. She had a kid around the same time that I had Maya, so it was great that she had just recently been through that. She knew exactly what I was feeling during pregnancy and all that. She even had an epidural and it was her third child. You would think that even as a doctor, she would know what she wanted, but when she went to the hospital, she didn’t have the birth that she wanted. It was weird, but she was just very relatable. Then one of the nurses that I had when I was birthing Maya, she was awesome. Her name was Michelle. I don’t know her last name, but she’s at Novant Hospital in Honorsville, North Carolina. I was really hoping I would have her for this time around, but I never saw her. Again, kind of to you Maya, but when I had to go to the bathroom for the first time after I gave birth, it took a while for the epidural to wear off. Urine is acidic, so when I had to go to the bathroom, it was just like, it’s torture, absolute torture. So that hurt a lot and she was with me in the bathroom and I’m just sobbing and I just can’t even control myself. It was just so painful and she just set her nursing aside and she was just like a mom in the moment. It was so what I needed. I just needed some kind of female comfort. Johnny’s exhausted, he’s in the other room probably holding the baby and stuff. So I’m like, you can have some space there. But she was just like the best nurse in that moment. I will literally never forget that. It was just so kind.

Rob Oliver: Yeah. Among the themes that I’m hearing is first of all, not leaving you alone so that you’ve got companionship, human companionship. Then just the comfort that comes from that and even just some human contact, that there is something about that that makes such an impact. Yeah. Amazing. Let me just, I want to pause and just say thank you for being willing to share and to be an open book because your honesty is amazing and I appreciate it. So thank you for that.

Allison Draper: Thank you.

Defining quality healthcare

Rob Oliver: You bet. What does quality health care mean to you?

Allison Draper: Well, you’ve probably heard this answer a couple of times, but honestly, I think like empathizing with the patient, like if you have already gone through it, then you’re going to know what that patient is feeling. Even if it’s not the same exact experience, it’s like, okay, I generally get what you’re going through. I don’t know if you would call dentistry health care, but I was a dental assistant for the past couple of years before I had my daughter, and I never had braces growing up, so I really couldn’t truly empathize with patients, but I knew what was going to happen in those stages of having braces. I knew what it would feel like. Like I could tell them, you’re going to be sore. Take some ibuprofen, you’ll be golden, and patients would ask me like, oh, did you ever have braces? I’m like, nope, and I hope that they don’t hate me in the moment for not knowing what they’re going through. But yeah, empathizing, and I think just being honest with your patients, especially when Ali Dennison was saying, you don’t want people talking about you behind your back, and you want them to honestly be an open book with me, because I just want to know every detail so that way I can know exactly what happened in that situation. I think just truly being honest and just being like, you have this, we need to get this done, don’t hide it from me, and don’t scale it down to almost being like it’s nothing.

Rob Oliver: Don’t sugarcoat it, right?

Allison Draper: Yeah. Yeah.

Rob Oliver: I’ll say this. I don’t think that you have to have had the exact experience in order to be able to empathize, but it’s funny that you say, people are saying, have you had braces? No. Well, then how in the world do you know exactly what it feels like, right?

Allison Draper: I don’t.

Rob Oliver: This is actually something and I’ll just make this statement. This is something that I’ve thought about it. Oftentimes, I will say something like, I know how you feel or I know exactly how you feel, and many times I have to walk that back because I’m not sure. I don’t know exactly how you feel. I don’t know what’s going on inside you. I would imagine that I’ve had similar experiences, but I think we all need to realize that we can think about things from someone else’s perspective, but we can never truly see things from another’s perspective because they have so much else going on. There’s so much more to their experience than what we see and what we understand, and we can’t necessarily put our feelings on somebody else. Thank you for letting me soapbox a little bit about that.

What should medical providers understand?

Rob Oliver: All right. What do you wish your medical providers understood about you?

Allison Draper: This was a tricky one to think about because almost again, like about just being honest with me, I just want you to tell me the full situation. I just don’t hide anything from me because I want to know. I’m a human being too. It’s your patient’s rights to know what is going on. If you’re asking, like you said, don’t sugarcoat it because that’s going to make me mad. So yeah, that’s pretty much it.

Improving the quality of healthcare

Rob Oliver: Yeah. Cool. Last question for you, and that is, what is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of health care?

Allison Draper: It’s not really quite medical. It kind of is, kind of isn’t, but I wish insurance didn’t rule our lives, at least in this country, because that’s one thing that one of my bosses that I worked for, he would say, like some patients would have to get jaw surgery to readjust it in the dentist office, and obviously we can’t do that. So it would cost like almost buying like a $50,000 car. Like it would just be $50,000, and he’s like, I know this is insane. Like I really wish I could pay this for you or I wish insurance didn’t rule our lives. So that’s where that would come in and I’m like, wow, yeah, it is true. Like insurance really does run our lives and I wish, I think the quality of health care would improve slightly, maybe even drastically if that wasn’t the case because you could maybe get the prescriptions that you needed and not have it cost you an arm and a leg. There are some new things, new companies out there that are like really trying to make medications affordable, but I think just not having insurance rule our lives in this country at least.

Rob Oliver: I’ve mentioned this earlier in the marathon, but it’s that question that says, as soon as you start to write the plan of treatment, then the first question that they ask is, what kind of insurance do you have?

Allison Draper: Right.

Rob Oliver: To me, that is such a sad question because it’s not what do you need, it’s what kind of insurance do you have and that’s going to determine not necessarily what you need, but what you can get. So in that way, I completely understand what you’re saying and I agree with where you’re coming from. Listen, Allison, thank you so much for being here. Thank you so much for giving your time this evening. It has been phenomenal and I respect and appreciate your perspective on health care.

Allison Draper: Thank you, Rob.

Rob Oliver: Yeah. Talk to you later.

Allison Draper: Bye.

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed by guests on the Perspectives on Healthcare Podcast are solely the opinion of the guest. They are not to be misconstrued as medical diagnoses or medical advice. Please consult with a licensed medical professional before attempting any of the treatments suggested.

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