Why This Website? Our own health care stories matter

Our own health care  stories matter. 

I am stunningly lucky to be alive. I suffered a stroke in January 2014 but my type of stroke has an 80 to 90% recovery rate. I had incredible care from excellent health care professionals. I had robust health insurance through Medicare. I have strong and close networks of friends and colleagues who shouldered me through.  And, I know the health care system.  Many do not have such gifts for support.  And, so this website.

I want this website to be a platform for stories that illuminate the rules, gaps, errors, costs and inadequacies too many face—from families and patients to health care professionals and all who struggle on journeys without maps. Points of information will include insights, suggestions, tools and resources. We must showcase our personally textured portraits so they will be well understood.

As more attempts are made to dismantle the Affordable Care Act our personal stories can provide a face and voice to clarify deep systemic problems that must not be ignored.

Many will dismiss this platform as “just individual stories” But as three health care journalists from the Wall St. Journal, New York Times and Money magazine once told a health care executives’ conference: “All we have are anecdotes. But, in the absence of data from you to the contrary, the accumulation of these anecdotes becomes fact.”

Without the accumulation of our voices we will remain victims of the deepest special interest pockets and the latest public policy buzzwords.

I realized when my son died in 1991: “When the worst thing that can happen to you has happened, it changes how you calculate risk.”  Creating this platform is worth the  risk.

I can’t do much but I can provide a platform and I can write.  As someone once told me:  “Fate is the cards you are dealt. Free will is how you play your hand.” I write to play my hand.

You have the opportunity as well.

Kathleen O’Connor, ©December, 2014