I had the distinct pleasure to present to the Leadership College at the North Carolina Medical Association filled with doctors, legislators, and PA’s.

I spent an hour discussing my personal story, but more than that, talking about the need for disability inclusion as it relates to complex medical needs for those with significant, costly, and complicated medical diagnoses.

I was stunned to learn that most med students in school are not taught about complex diagnoses that require a multi-faceted solution’s for care.

To be fair, so many of our medical professionals are caught in the legal nightmare of malpractice suits and needlessly complicated health insurance policies.

I went through a very specific example where I underwent surgery for cervical cancer that led to a pulmonary embolism, hemorrhaging inside my body, weeks in the ICU doped up on morphine — AND, all because my medical team were not well-versed in spinal cord injury, nor did they talk to one another.

I had the top level neurosurgeons, pulmonologists, cardiologists, and gynecologists on my case, but I suffered. I suffered for nearly a month and almost died twice.

This cannot stand! We need advocates to work cohesively, inclusively, and strategically with top medical professionals in the field to humanize those of us who are the exception to the rule. It’s quite easy to treat high blood pressure or high cholesterol, but quite another to get to the root cause of so many challenging medical conditions.

One of my 2023 goals is to continue to speak to all audiences in the medical field from doctors, PAs, CFOs of hospitals, even folks in the medical reimbursement department to shed light on why they should care about the people behind the piece of paper.

We are human. We need help. We need to work together. Disability doesn’t discriminate and you will all join this club eventually if you have not already.

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