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CHICAGO, Dec. 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Physicians like to send patients for tests and procedures and are well-compensated for doing so. But there are times when submitting to a test or procedure is likely to be painful, counterproductive, or unnecessary and, when the patient is elderly, the decision to authorize it may fall on the shoulders of adult children who may experience stress and anxiety.

Nurse anesthetist Margaret Fitzpatrick notes that one in four Medicare patients have tests that offer them little value, and in one year alone, 40% of Medicare patients have had one of 26 tests that fell into that category.

Fitzpatrick can offer sensible guidance people need to steer clear of medical tests and procedures that are unlikely to improve quality of life. Her new book is Getting the Best Care: Rescue Your Loved One from the Healthcare Conveyor Belt. 

Fitzpatrick says, "This book draws on 20-plus years of my experiences in healthcare where I have seen patients subjected to futile and sometimes cruel interventions because the healthcare system has put them on the conveyor belt of standardized care rather than carefully tailoring care to reflect the patient's goals and values."

Getting the Best Care is the second book authored by Fitzpatrick. The first, What to Ask the Doc: The Questions to Ask to Get the Answers You Need, resulted in appearances on the Today show, CNN, and ABC7 News, among others.

In an interview, she can answer such questions as:

  • What are the three most important questions to ask anytime a test or procedure is recommended?
  • What is misinformed consent and why is it so common?
  • Which tests and procedures won't benefit people over age 70?
  • Why is the hospital a dangerous place for the elderly?
  • What should you consider before taking someone to the ER?

Praise for Getting the Best Care

"Authoritative, wise advice to avoid the 'industrial conveyor belt' of modern healthcare when it doesn't make sense. I want Margaret Fitzpatrick at my side for guidance and advice when I face medical decisions in advanced age and illness."  — Charles von Gunten, M.D., Ph.D., editor-in-chief, Journal of Palliative Medicine

"The healthcare system has become extraordinarily complex. Margaret Fitzpatrick has presented a clear and compassionate road map that can guide patients and their loved ones as they make these complicated decisions."  — Judith A. Paice, Ph.D., RN director, Cancer Pain Program Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine

"Margaret Fitzpatrick is the Sherpa we all need as we climb the Mount Everest of American Health Care. I truly wish I had this book 10 years ago when my family stumbled into a cascade of medical errors, clueless on how to navigate these difficult, often perilous waters. I'm glad I have it now. Keep this book close — it may save your life or the life of a loved one."  ­— Steve Burrows, writer-director of the new HBO film Bleed Out

About the Author
Margaret Fitzpatrick, RN, CRNA, has been a nurse anesthetist and critical care nurse for 20 years. She earned her master's degree in science from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. Fitzpatrick has appeared on the Today show, CNN Headline News, and many local news outlets across the country to discuss ways to navigate the health system. She consults with private clients to create individual action plans for patients with specialized health needs.

Contact: Margaret Fitzpatrick, (773) 919-9002;

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